(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists at the University of York have traced the spread of pottery across Eastern and Northern Europe about 8,000 years ago.
Scientists have shown that pottery skills spread very quickly among hunter-gatherers who did not yet know how to farm.
Moreover, the spread did not occur through migration, but through contacts and the transfer of knowledge.
Pottery spread precisely as a transfer of skills. 8000 years ago people met and learned from each other how to make pottery. Perhaps this is one of the first examples of such a wide and rapid transfer of knowledge and technology.
The team, which includes researchers from the University of York and the British Museum, analyzed the remains of 1,226 pottery vessels from 156 hunter-gatherer sites in nine countries in northern and eastern Europe.
The scientists combined radiocarbon dating with evidence from the production and decoration of ceramic vessels and analysis of food remains found inside the pots.
Pottery arose about 20 thousand years ago in the Far East. It came to Eastern Europe much later. But when it came, its spread was rapid (for that time).
Co-author Oliver Craig, from the Department of Archeology at the University of York, said: “Our analysis of how pots were made and decorated, as well as radiocarbon dating, suggests that knowledge of pottery was spread through cultural transmission.
It was an exchange of ideas between groups of hunter-gatherers living nearby, not human migration or population growth, as we see with the spread of other key technologies in human history, such as agriculture.”
The archaeologist noted: “That the methods of making pottery spread so far and so quickly through the transmission of ideas is quite amazing.
Specific knowledge could be passed down through marriages or at specific points in the landscape where groups of hunter-gatherers gathered. maybe at certain times of the year.
It is quite difficult to imagine such “fairs” that took place 8000 years ago. But if they were, then they were probably accompanied by a plentiful (and perhaps quite exquisite – festive) meal.
By examining traces of organic materials left in the pots, the team demonstrated that the pottery was used to cook a variety of foods, including meat and fish, so pottery-making ideas could have spread through shared culinary traditions.
Perhaps everything was like that. People met. Those who already had pots treated those who did not yet know pottery. They tried. It was delicious, and I wanted to make it just as good. And pottery was rapidly moving west.
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