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Hot Discovery: Ancient Pottery Unveils Evidence Of Cooking Plants

First Posted: Dec 20, 2016 09:06 PM EST

International scientists have discovered evidence that pre-historic people living years ago have processed plants for food. They say that the food was like a porridge which served as a staple diet when there was no meat from hunting.

According to the Organic Geochemistry Unit at the University of Bristol's School of Chemistry, people living 10,000 years ago may have cooked wild grains and plants in pots from the two sites in the Libyan Sahara.

Evidence shows that pottery fragments were uncovered in the two green and fertile sites. During the time, the ability to prepare plants and grains in pots is considered as big advancement in the life of the people.

"This is the first direct evidence of plant processing globally, and, remarkably, shows that these early North African hunter-gatherers consumed many different types of plants, including grains/seeds, leafy plants and aquatic plants," Dr. Julie Dunne, of the University of Bristol said.

According to BBC, the invention of cooking was recognized as an important step in human development. The ancient cooking usually involves the use of fires or pits. The invention of the ceramic cooking vessel has led to the expansion of food preparation techniques dated years ago.

Cooking allows the consumption of toxic food stuff and has increased the availability of the new energy sources. Furthermore, the researchers have detected lipid residues of food stuff which were preserved within the fabric of unglazed cooking pots.

Based on the identification of the diagnostic plant oil and wax compounds, over half of the vessels studied were found to have been used for processing plants. Also, the chemical signatures of the plants from the pottery show that the processing was practiced for over 4,000 years showing how important the plants are to ancient people.

"Until now, the importance of plants in prehistoric diets has been under-recognized, but this work clearly demonstrates the importance of plants as a reliable dietary resource," Dr. Julie Dunne, said.

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