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Chinese pottery … 20,000 years ago

4 July 2012

The New York Times at www.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/science/oldest-known-pottery-found-in-china.html … comes several days after others have reported the same thing, and even then they got it wrong and had to rewrite the piece with the correct dates. It is a report on the discovery of pottery in China going back 20,000 years ago and is based on an article in the journal Science. It continues saying Chinese cooking and Chinese food might be a straight development out of this pottery tradition. They did not go in for cooked breads or baking food but Chinese cooking is all about steaming and lightly heating their food on a burner rather than in an oven. The piece assumes the pottery users were hunter gatherers as the consensus model has it that agriculture was invented in the Near and Middle East around 10,000 years ago. Agriculture had reached China shortly after this date – but how it reached them is not disclosed. We may assume they do not know – but the consensus model takes precedent. So why was pottery being used in China, Japan, and parts of Africa long before the supposed date for the appearance of agriculture? How much does the consensus chronology rely on the Holocene – the Palaeolithic period in the Near and Middle East is not so well known, and how much of the Palaeolithic evidence is buried in the earth in contrast to the Holocene which is close to the surface – or at the surface.

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