lunes, 14 de mayo de 2012

RV: The oldest farming village in the Mediterranean islands is discovered in Cyprus

Fuente: CNRS - All themes
Expuesto el: jueves, 10 de mayo de 2012 0:00
Autor: CNRS - All themes
Asunto: The oldest farming village in the Mediterranean islands is discovered in Cyprus

 

Sedentary villagers of the Early Neolithic began cultivating wild grains in the Middle East in about 9500 BCE. Recent discoveries have shown that the island of Cyprus was visited by human groups during that period, but until now the earliest traces of cereal crops and the construction of villages did not predate 8400 BCE. The latest findings from the archaeological excavations of Klimonas indicate that organized communities were built in Cyprus between 9100 and 8600 BCE: the site has yielded the remnants of a half-buried mud brick communal building, 10 meters in diameter and surrounded by dwellings, that must have been used to store the village's harvests. The archaeologists have found a few votive offerings 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 erected by these early villagers resemble those found at Neolithic sites from the same period on the nearby continent. Remains of carbonized seeds of local plants and grains introduced from the Levantine coasts (including emmer, one of the first Middle Eastern wheats) have also been found in Klimonas.

An analysis of the bone remains found on the site has revealed that the meat consumed by these villagers came from the hunting of a small wild boar indigenous to Cyprus (the only large game on the island at the time), and that small domestic dogs and cats had been introduced from the continent. This would indicate that these early farming societies migrated from the continent shortly after the emergence of agriculture there. In addition, their ability to move a whole group of people long distances shows that they had already mastered maritime navigation at the dawn of the Neolithic period.
The Klimonas site will be excavated until the end of May 2012, and a new round of excavations will begin in 2013. Uniting several laboratories, (1) the research is funded by CNRS, the European LeCHE project, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (French National Museum of Natural History, or MNHN), INRAP, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ecole Française d'Athènes (French School at Athens).

The communal building in Klimonas partially excavated


© J.-D. Vigne, CNRS-MNHN. This image is available from the CNRS photo library, phototheque@cnrs-bellevue.fr

The communal building in Klimonas partially excavated. It measures 10 m in diameter.


 

Small shell pendant left as an offering in the large communal building of Klimonas.


© J.-D. Vigne, CNRS-MNHN. This image is available from the CNRS photo library, phototheque@cnrs-bellevue.fr

Small shell pendant left as an offering in the large communal building of Klimonas.


 

Notes:

1 - Laboratoire Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements (Zooarchaeology and Archaeobotany Laboratory: Societies, Practices and Environments), MNHN / CNRS); TRACES - Travaux et Recherches Archéologiques sur les Cultures, les Espaces et les Sociétés (Archaeological Projects and Research on Cultures, Spaces and Societies), University of Toulouse II-Le Mirail / CNRS / EHESS Paris / Ministry of Culture and Communication / INRAP; ARCHEORIENT, Environnements et Sociétés de l'Orient Ancien (Environments and Societies of the Ancient Orient), Université Lumière Lyon 2 / CNRS; and LMC14 - Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (Carbon 14 Measurement Laboratory), CNRS / IRD / CEA / IRSN / Ministry of Culture and Communication.

References:

First wave of cultivators spread to Cyprus at least 10,600 y ago. Jean-Denis Vigne, François Briois, Antoine Zazzo, George Willcox, Thomas Cucchia, Stéphanie Thiébault, Isabelle Carrère, Yodrik Franele, Régis Touquete, Chloé Martina, Christophe Moreau, Clothilde Comby, and Jean Guilaine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, May 7, 2012.


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