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17 May 2012
Prehistoric farming village discovered in Cyprus

The oldest agricultural settlement ever found on a Mediterranean island has been discovered in Cyprus by a team of French archaeologists. Previously it was believed that the first Neolithic farming societies did not reach Cyprus until a thousand years after the birth of agriculture in the Middle East (circa 9500 to 9400 BCE), however the discovery of a village dating from nearly 9000 BCE proves that early cultivators migrated to Cyprus shortly after the emergence of agriculture, bringing wheat as well as dogs and cats, demonstrating that they had already mastered maritime navigation at the dawn of the Neolithic period.
     The Klimonas site has yielded the remnants of a half-buried mud brick communal building used to store the village's harvests, 10 meters in diameter and surrounded by dwellings. A few votive offerings have been found inside the building, including flint arrowheads and green stone beads. A great many remnants of other objects, including flint chips, stone tools and shell adornments, have been discovered in the village. The stone tools and the structures resemble those found at Neolithic sites from the same period on the nearby continent.
     Remains of carbonised seeds of local plants and grains introduced from the Levantine coasts have also been found - including emmer, one of the first Middle Eastern wheats. Analysis of bone remains revealed that the meat consumed came from the hunting of a small wild boar native to the island.

Edited from PhysOrg (15 May 2012)

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