'Oldest pottery' found in China

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posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 06:14 PM
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Examples of pottery found in a cave at Yuchanyan in China's Hunan province may be the oldest known to science.

By determining the fraction of a type, or isotope, of carbon in bone fragments and charcoal, the specimens were found to be 17,500 to 18,300 years old.

The authors say that the ages are more precise than previous efforts because a series of more than 40 radiocarbon-dated samples support the estimate.

The work is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Yuchanyan cave was the site where the oldest kernels of rice were found in 2005, and it is viewed as an important link between cave-dwelling hunter-gatherer peoples and the farmers that arose later in the basin of the nearby Yangtze River.






posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 06:15 PM
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The previous oldest-known example of pottery was found in Japan, dated to an age between 16,000 and 17,000 years ago, but debate has raged in the archaeological community as to whether pottery was first made in China or Japan.

The most recent dig at Yuchanyan was in 2005 by a team led by Elisabetta Boaretto of the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. They believe they have found a more precise way to read the history of human activity written in layers of sediment, or stratigraphy.

'Layer cake'

"The way people move around and mess up caves is very difficult to see archaeologically," David Cohen, an archaeologist at Boston University and a co-author on the research, told BBC News.

"Imagine you have a fire and then people come in again have another fire and another, so you have the ashes of all these fires building up but at the same time people are digging and clearing, pushing things to the side; this messes things up.


Fragments from a 1995 dig at Yuchanyan form a cauldron
"If you have an open-air site, you sometimes get a very clean 'layer cake' stratigraphy. Archaeologists before haven't looked at this closely enough to realise what's going on in caves so they interpret this stratigraphy as a layer cake. But in actuality, it's 'lenses' of stuff that's been mixed up and moved around."

It is comparatively easy to find evidence of human occupation in caves through the dating of charcoal from fires or bones from long-ago dinners, Dr Cohen said. However, because of the unclear layering of sediment it is not easy to correlate well-dated layers with the pottery that may be nearby.

Part of the problem lies in the areas over which previous digs have searched: squares of perhaps five metres on a side.

"It's an issue of association, knowing where everything comes from in space across the cave," Dr Cohen explained. "If you're excavating in a huge unit, you can only say it comes from within this 5m area and this 20cm of sediment, and that's not good enough for understanding human activity."

Instead, the team worked in sub-divisions of just a quarter of a metre square, painstakingly collecting bone and charcoal fragments. The samples were then radiocarbon dated, revealing a clean distribution stretching between 14,000 and 21,000 years ago.

'Fantastic cave'

One fragment of pottery was found in a layer between two radiocarbon-dated fragments that both measured about 18,000 years old, taking the record for oldest pottery.

The team hope that their smaller-scale searching and taking into account the effects of human activity on cave stratigraphy will help with future digs at Yuchanyan, and elsewhere.

"It's a fantastic cave, and we hope that the way the way these excavations were done would set a precedent for how other caves will be looked at," said Dr Cohen.

Dr Tracey Lu, from an anthropologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who was not an author on the latest study, noted that the dates reported in this paper were slightly older than dates on pottery found in Japan.

However, she said the accuracy of radiocarbon dates in the limestone area has been under debate for many years.

"I agree that pottery was made by foragers in South China," she told the Associated Press news agency.

"But I also think pottery was produced more or less contemporaneously in several places in East Asia... from Russia, Japan to North and South China by foragers living in different environments."

news.bbc.co.uk...



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 06:17 PM
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Its amazing when you consider the likes of the The Baigong Pipes and then this, hopefully evidence of ET contributions to technology will come to light, however I doubt it.



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 06:25 PM
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Well, the age prove that Christians are wrong about the Earth being only 6000 years old.



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 07:59 PM
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A few weeks ago, it was announced that scientists have discovered a new way of dating pottery or any other fired clay-based objects:


www.sciencedaily.com...


Currently, reliable dating using this fire-and-water method is only reliable back 2.000 years. They believe they can extend that back to 10,000 years, however. And maybe even more. So perhaps one day this question of where pottery originated can be verified by both carbon dating and fire-and-water dating methods.

It makes sense to me that China may be the first location where pottery was made. China has been shown to the the site of many other important inventions, such as the first book: That would be the I Ching.



posted on Jun, 5 2009 @ 08:20 AM
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It all adds to the previous threads about the ancient chinese I really believe that a lot of what is creative and good about our culture stems from these inventions and innovations. I especially am interested in the first Chinese dynasty and the evidence of et technology. I believe there is a massive coverup from where we have came from and the influences that drove us here, hopefully they will come out in my lifetime



posted on Jun, 6 2009 @ 05:47 PM
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You beat me to it. I've been here less than two months but everytime i think I've found my first thread subject, I find an ATS scholar has beaten me to it!

I think this is massive news, but no one seems to care, here on ATS or in the real world. I didn't know about the Japanese pottery so thanks for that.

After living in Xian Shaanxi Province (near the Terracotta Warriors, don't get me started on them!) I have learned to mistrust Chinese Scientific findings, so I would dearly love to see the pottery independently dated by European or North American scientists.

Having said that, and assuming the dating is correct I feel this is HUGE. It's not just the fact that we were intelligent enough to make pottery in 16000 BC but what this implies. It implies a society where there were occupations, skill sets etc. meaning there was sufficient food to allow time to be directed at creating things that may not on the surface appear to be necessary for survival.

I too am convinced that human history goes back much much further than standard texts would have us believe, even without invoking ancient astronauts, ET genetic intervention etc (which in my opinion is very likely).

There's even evidence now that the 'out of Africa' scenario is wrong and should be 'into Africa' from Europe. A short article in this week's New Scientist mentions a 12 million year old hominid fossil found in Spain and named Anoiapithecus.

I always wonder whether the 'Secrets' in secret societies include such hidden knowledge about our origins. It'd almost be worth selling your soul to the illuminati devils to find out.

S&F



posted on Jun, 9 2009 @ 06:10 AM
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reply to post by sharps
 


Regarding secret societies I really doubt the there is major earth shaking secrets, there are too many people involved in these societies like the Masons
, the crazy theories of world domination and long lost secrets are rubbish, I know that first hand and I go by the rule of thumb, the bigger the conspiracy the more chance of people lossening their mouths. Regarding the ancient theories I really had my eyes opened when I came onto ATS about the amount of evidence that the story we have been told is a lot of rubbish, I think the more advanced we bbecome and if the internet is aloud to continue in its current form then the truth will come out



posted on Jun, 12 2009 @ 10:09 PM
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reply to post by On the level
 


I just think there is secret knowledge passed down from the days of the early Preisthood classes, whether it's engineering, or for me the more pertinent issue of knowledge about human nature and the pysche, the secrets of how to control and subdugate man. It's taken me forty years to formulate an opinion on the female species. If someone had told me earlier what I know now I'd be much better off financially, emotionally and healthwise!

Regarding the internet, you've hit the nail on the head "if". If the internet is allowed to continue in it's present form. Trouble is there's no way it will be. The net may have caught TPTB off guard but their grubby little hands are all over it already.





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