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24 August 2010

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100823131743.htm there is a piece on archaeology in Utah some 10,000 years ago (early Holocene) which shows a distinct change in diet that may be significant. People living in a rock shelter adopted grinding stones in order to mill the very small seeds of sage brush, making a flour that was cooked into a mush – or porridge. It therefore has analogies with the adoption of oat porridge in Europe at an indeterminate point in time. Prior to the appearance of the grinding stones – it is not disclosed how sophisticated they might have been – and the laborious task of milling small seeds which in turn were laboriously collected in large numbers, the occupants of the rock shelter had eaten wild game. Lots of it and from a variety of animals. It is not known, at present, why they should have dropped the relatively easy task of snaring ducks, rabbits, or turkeys, to exchange that for the repetitive taks of grinding seeds – or why? What was going on?

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