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Dental calculus reveals Mesolithic foragers in the Balkans consumed domesticated plant foods

Cristiani, Emanuela, Radini, Anita, Edinborough, Marija and Boric, Dusan ORCID: 2016. Dental calculus reveals Mesolithic foragers in the Balkans consumed domesticated plant foods. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (37) , pp. 10298-10303. 10.1073/pnas.1603477113

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Researchers agree that domesticated plants were introduced into southeast Europe from southwest Asia as a part of a Neolithic “package,” which included domesticated animals and artifacts typical of farming communities. It is commonly believed that this package reached inland areas of the Balkans by ∼6200 calibrated (cal.) BC or later. Our analysis of the starch record entrapped in dental calculus of Mesolithic human teeth at the site of Vlasac in the Danube Gorges of the central Balkans provides direct evidence that already by ∼6600 cal. BC, if not earlier, Late Mesolithic foragers of this region consumed domestic cereals, such as Triticum monococcum, Triticum dicoccum, and Hordeum distichon, which were also the main crops found among Early Neolithic communities of southeast Europe. We infer that “exotic” Neolithic domesticated plants were introduced to southern Europe independently almost half a millennium earlier than previously thought, through networks that enabled exchanges between inland Mesolithic foragers and early farming groups found along the Aegean coast of Turkey.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 0027-8424
Date of Acceptance: 5 July 2016
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 09:44

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