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Direct evidence for human use of plants 28,000 years ago: starch residues on stone artefacts from the northern Solomon Islands

  • Thomas H. Loy (a1), Matthew Spriggs (a1) and Stephen Wickler (a2)

The excavation of Kilu Cave and the discovery of a Pleistocene prehistory for the Solomon Islands have already been reported in ANTIQUITY by Wickler & Spriggs (62: 703–6). Residue analysis of stone artefacts from the site now provides the earliest direct evidence for the prehistoric use of root vegetables, in the form of starch grains and crystalline raphides identifiable to genus. The direct microscopic identification of starch grains opens new avenues for the study of the plant component of human diets in the distant past.

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