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Pottery cooked from the start

Ancient Japanese hunter-gatherers made ceramic fish cookers before rise of farming

12:59pm, April 10, 2013

Ancient leftovers indicate that the earliest pottery was used by hunter-gatherers for cooking, thousands of years before farming communities began heating their food in vessels.

Chemical analyses of charred food clinging to pottery fragments from sites across Japan indicate that hunter-gatherers who lived there between 15,300 and 11,200 years ago cooked freshwater or marine animals in ceramic vessels, say bioarchaeologist Oliver Craig of the University of York in England and his colleagues.

Concentrations of a certain form of nitrogen in crusty morsels attached to ceramic vessels from Japan’s ancient Jōmon culture indicate that these people us

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