New evidence of plant food processing in Italy before 40ka

Syd

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Abstract

"Evidence of plant food processing is a significant indicator of the human ability to exploit environmental resources. The recovery of starch grains associated with use-wear on Palaeolithic grinding tools offers proof of a specific technology for making flour among Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. Here we present the analysis of five grindstones from two Italian sites, Riparo Bombrini and Grotta di Castelcivita, both inhabited during a crucial phase spanning the decline of the Neanderthals and the establishment of Sapiens. The recovery of starch grains on a Mousterian grindstone at Bombrini suggests that the last Neanderthals not only consumed and processed plants but also made flour 43?41,000 years ago. Starch grains attributable to Triticeae on Protoaurignacian grindstones at both sites testify that Sapiens were processing wild cereals at least 41,500?36,500 years ago when they expanded into Eurasia, long before the dawn of agriculture. These new data suggest a profound knowledge of available plant resources in both human groups."

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277379123002093
 

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