|Pottery fragments 20,000 years old found by Chinese and American scientists in a Chinese cave |
Prof. Wu Xiaohong, Director of China's National Lab of Quaternary Chronology, poses for photos in a radiocarbon lab of Peking University in Beijing Thursday, June 28, 2012. Wu and her archaeologist team members have determined pottery fragments found in a south China cave to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world. AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan.
By: Didi Tang, Associated Press
BEIJING (AP).- Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say.
The findings, which will appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.
The research by a team of Chinese and American scientists also pushes the emergence of pottery back to the last ice age, which might provide new explanations for the creation of pottery, said Gideon Shelach, chair of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies at The Hebrew University in Israel.
"The focus of research has to change," Shelach, who is not involved in the research project in China, said by telephone.
In an accompanying Science article, Shelach wrote that such research efforts "are fundamental for a better understanding of socio-economic change (25,000 to 19,000 years ago) and the development that led to the emergency of sedentary agricultural societies."
He said the disconnection between pottery and agriculture as shown in east Asia might shed light on specifics of human development in the region.
Wu Xiaohong, professor of archaeology and museology at Peking University and the lead author of the Science article that details the radiocarbon dating efforts, told The Associated Press that her team was eager to build on the research.
"We are very excited about the findings. The paper is the result of efforts done by generations of scholars," Wu said. "Now we can explore why there was pottery in that particular time, what were the uses of the vessels, and what role they played in the survival of human beings."
The ancient fragments were discovered in the Xianrendong cave in south China's Jiangxi province, which was excavated in the 1960s and again in the 1990s, according to the journal article.
Wu, a chemist by training, said some researchers had estimated that the pieces could be 20,000 years old, but that there were doubts.
"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."
But by 2009, the team which includes experts from Harvard and Boston universities was able to calculate the age of the pottery fragments with such precision that the scientists were comfortable with their findings, Wu said.
"The key was to ensure the samples we used to date were indeed from the same period of the pottery fragments," she said.
That became possible when the team was able to determine the sediments in the cave were accumulated gradually without disruption that might have altered the time sequence, she said.
Scientists took samples, such as bones and charcoal, from above and below the ancient fragments in the dating process, Wu said.
"This way, we can determine with precision the age of the fragments, and our results can be recognized by peers," Wu said.
Shelach said he found the process done by Wu's team to be meticulous and that the cave had been well protected throughout the research.
The same team in 2009 published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they determined the pottery fragments found in south China's Hunan province to be 18,000 years old, Wu said.
"The difference of 2,000 years might not be significant in itself, but we always like to trace everything to its earliest possible time," Wu said. "The age and location of pottery fragments help us set up a framework to understand the dissemination of the artifacts and the development of human civilization."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
June 29, 2012
Exhibition at Tate Modern reassesses the work of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch
Christie's to offer Contemporary art at attractive price points in newly re-launched open house sale
"One Life: Amelia Earhart" opens at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington
Rare 415-year-old Wytfliet Atlas stolen from the Royal Library of Sweden recovered at NYC gallery
Two group exhibitions of gallery and guest artists open at Stephen Haller Gallery
Phillips de Pury & Company's London Contemporary Art Evening Auction totals $36,233,420
Pottery fragments 20,000 years old found by Chinese and American scientists in a Chinese cave
Exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art explores the relationship of architecture to culture and identity
United States Mint in Philadelphia reopens to public with new $3.9 million self-guided tour
Masterpiece London 2012, with a record 5,195 international and UK collectors, triumphs on opening day
Executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey supports sphere move to 9/11 memorial
First UK solo exhibition of accomplished international artist Jacob Hashimoto opens at Ronchini Gallery
Brooklyn Museum presents the final exhibition in Raw/Cooked featuring artist Ulrike Müller
Study reveals overbuilding of cultural facilities during building boom
Personal collections of Dale Chihuly provide backdrop for progressive American menu at Collections Café
Cindy Sherman, Bruce Nauman, Steven Holl and others elected as new National Academicians
Christie's Auction of the Daphne Guinness Collection achieves $744,285
Statue of firefighter, arson dog visits New York City museum
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Jackson Pollock work "Number 19, 1948" sells for record $58.4 million at Christie's
2.- Exhibition of nude photography around 1900 on view at Berlin's Photography Museum
3.- Belize City officials say ancient thirty-meter high Mayan pyramid razed for road fill
4.- Hidden drawings from Nazi concentration camp on display at Jewish Museum in Berlin
5.- Records fall at Sotheby's contemporary art auction; Barnett Newman painting sells for $43.84M
6.- Death mask of Napoleon to be auctioned at Bonhams' Book, Map and Manuscript sale
7.- New Yorkers unnerved by neighbor's voyeuristic photos on view at Julie Saul Gallery
8.- Rare Vincent Van Gogh sketchbook copies up for unprecedented sale at museum store and online
9.- Leonardo DiCaprio environmental art auction at Christie's New York tops $38 million
10.- Hong Kong cries fowl as giant rubber duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman deflates
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|