Monday, June 22, 2009

Ancient Waves of (Wild) Grain

I've been neglecting the science segment of this blog, but today on Science's online news service (ScienceNOW) I write about a paper reporting what may well be the world's earliest known granaries. The link is free for 4 weeks and then goes behind the paying wall, but here is the lede which I hope will interest you in reading the rest:

We should all give thanks to the first farmers. Had they not begun domesticating plants and animals more than 10,000 years ago, we might still be hunting and gathering and missing out on all the blessings and curses of civilization. Yet before the agricultural revolution could really take off, people had to find a way to store their produce in between harvests. Archaeologists working in Jordan now claim to have found the remains of several granaries possibly used to store wild barley, the oldest known, and dated nearly 1000 years before the first domesticated cereals.

Be sure to read the rest at the link.

Photo: An ancient granary under excavation at Dhra' in Jordan/Copyright University of Notre Dame.

More on grain. One of my sources for the online story, Dorian Fuller at University College London, has posted more detailed comments on the Archaeobotanist blog.

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