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18 July 2012
The earliest known pottery found in China

A team of scientists has recently found sediment layers containing pottery fragments in Xianrendong Cave in China approximately 20,000 years old, predating the previously earliest known pottery by about 2,000 years, and predating the advent of agriculture by about 10,000 years. The finding refutes the long-held view that pottery production coincided with the beginning of agriculture.
     Pottery has been considered an important invention in the evolution of human society. Prior to these latest finds, the most ancient pottery, dated to about 18,000 years ago, was also found in China and Japan. The 20,000-year-old fragments date to the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), about 25,000 to 19,000 years ago. Many of these early fragments showed burn or scorch marks.
     Evidence that pottery significantly predates the development of agriculture could lead to a paradigm shift in the generally accepted scenarios of human socio-economic development, bit could also mean that development differed in different regions of the world.

Edited from Popular Archaeology (28 June 2012)

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