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Pottery: oldest in the world found in China

The 20,000-year-old fragments were found in Xianrendong Cave in northern Jiangxi Province, China, and are 2,000 years older than the earliest known pottery.

PotteryEnlarge
The oldest known pieces of pottery have been unearthed in China. (Handout/AFP/Getty Images)

The oldest known piece of pottery has been found in China.

The 20,000-year-old fragments were found in Xianrendong Cave in northern Jiangxi Province, China, and are 2,000 years older than the earliest known pottery.

According to AFP, the fragments are said to belong to a roving tribe of hunter-gatherers.

Burn marks on the pottery suggest that it was used for cooking and possibly brewing alcohol.

Radiocarbon dating of sediment in the area suggests that the cave was inhabited between 29,000 and 17,500 years ago, said BBC.

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This puts it long before the advent of agriculture that characterized sedentary communities.

Earlier theories said that pottery arose with sedentary, agriculture life mainly in Europe and the Middle East.

"We thought it would be impossible because the conventional theory was that pottery was invented after the transition to agriculture that allowed for human settlement," study author, Wu Xiaohong, professor of archaeology and museology at Peking University told the Associated Press.

The study was completed through a collaboration between Peking University, Boston University, Harvard University, and Eberhard Karls University in Germany.

The findings were published in the journal Science.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120628/pottery-oldest-the-world-found-china