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14 February 2014
8,000 years old grain storage discovered in Turkey

The largest amount of grain from the Neolithic known in the Middle East has been discovered in a perfect state of preservation has been discovered in Çatalhöyük (Turkey).
     "In a small room with an area of approximately 7 m2 we discovered four clay containers. Each contained barley" - explained project pleader Prof. Arkadiusz Marciniak from the Institute of Prehistory, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland). In total, from each of the two studied containers archaeologists recovered almost 5 kg of grain. In addition, a different grain cluster was discovered in the room.
     Archeobotanical analysis showed that it was an extinct species of wheat, popular in Neolithic times in the Middle East and Europe. The room in which the discovery was made was situated in the north-eastern part of the homestead - it belonged to a larger residential building, inhabited 8,200 years ago. It was the final period of the large settlement. According to Prof. Marciniak, only few inhabited households remained on the hill at the time.
     It is known already that the grain storage must have burned down: grain was charred at the temperature of several hundred degrees. Nevertheless, archaeologists were able to determine that the walls of the room were whitened from the inside. In addition to the grain containers, archaeologists found several ceramic vessels, also used for storage.
     Çatalhöyük was inhabited continuously for 1200 years between 7200 and 6000 BCE. It is estimated that during its heyday, the densely built-up settlement with an area of dozens of acres had 6000 residents.

Edited from Science & Scholarship in Poland (20 January 2014)

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