Connie Waters -AncientPages.com- Analysis of more than 1,200 vessels from hunter-gatherer sites has shown that pottery-making techniques spread over great distances in a short period of time through the transmission of social traditions.
The team, which includes researchers from the University of York and the British Museum, analyzed 1,226 pottery shards from 156 hunter-gatherer sites in nine countries across northern and eastern Europe. They combined radiocarbon dating with data on the production and decoration of ceramic vessels, as well as analysis of food residues found inside the pots.
credit: Gary Todd – public domain
Their findings, published in the journal nature human behaviorsuggest that pottery-making spread rapidly westward from 5,900 BCE and took only 300–400 years to advance over 3,000 km, which is equivalent to 250 km in a generation.
Professor Oliver Craig, from the Department of Archeology at the University of York, said: “Our analysis of the new radiocarbon dates on pottery design and decoration, as well as new radiocarbon dates, suggests that knowledge of pottery spread through a process of cultural transmission.
“By this we mean the activity spread by the exchange of ideas between groups of hunter-gatherers living nearby, rather than by migration of people or increasing population, as we see for other important changes in human history, such as the introduction of agriculture. “
“It is quite surprising that pottery-making methods spread so quickly and so rapidly through the exchange of ideas. Specialized knowledge may have been shared through marriages or centers of gathering, specific to the landscape.” points where hunter-gatherer groups came together. Probably at certain times of the year.”
By studying the traces of organic material left in the pots, the team demonstrated that pottery was used for cooking, so the idea of making pottery may have spread through shared culinary traditions.
Illustrated are reconstructions from (1) Eastern Baltic, (2) Western Baltic, (3) Upper Dnieper, (4) Bug-Dniester, (5) Middle Don, (6) Lower Don, (7) Northern Caspian, (8) ) Lower Volga, (9) Middle Volga and (10) Upper Volga region. Map based on ASTER Global DEM v.3 with ecotones based on normalized mid-Holocene projections from ref. 91; It should be noted that the boundary between steppe and forest is likely to be highly stretched.
Carl Heron from the British Museum said, “We have found evidence that the pots were used to cook a wide range of animals, fish and plants, and this diversity suggests that the pottery makers may have were not in response to a specific need, such as a detoxification plant or processing fish, as has been previously suggested.
“We also found patterns suggesting that the use of pottery was transmitted along with knowledge of their manufacture and decoration. These can be seen as culinary traditions that were transmitted rapidly with the artifacts themselves.”
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The world’s earliest pottery comes from East Asia and may have spread rapidly eastward through Siberia, before being taken up by hunter-gatherer societies in northern Europe, long before the advent of agriculture.
The study was published in the journal nature human behavior
written by Connie Waters -AncientPages.com staff Writer