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The emergence of pottery in Africa during the tenth millennium cal BC: new evidence from Ounjougou (Mali)

  • E. Huysecom (a1), M. Rasse (a2), L. Lespez (a3), K. Neumann (a4), A. Fahmy (a5), A. Ballouche (a6), S. Ozainne (a1), M. Maggetti (a7), Ch. Tribolo (a8) and S. Soriano (a9)...


New excavations in ravines at Ounjougou in Mali have brought to light a lithic and ceramic assemblage that dates from before 9400 cal BC. The authors show that this first use of pottery coincides with a warm wet period in the Sahara. As in East Asia, where very early ceramics are also known, the pottery and small bifacial arrowheads were the components of a new subsistence strategy exploiting an ecology associated with abundant wild grasses. In Africa, however, the seeds were probably boiled (then as now) rather than made into bread.


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