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Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherers Ground Oats

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

pestle ground oatsFLORENCE, ITALY—Tests conducted by a team led by Marta Mariotti Lippi of the University of Florence reveal that a stone pestle recovered from Grotta Paglicci in Apulia in the 1950s had been used to grind dried oats some 32,000 years ago. Hunter-gatherers of the Gravettian culture heated the carefully gathered grains first, a process that would help preserve them in the cool, damp climate, and make them easier to grind. The resulting powder may have been used for making porridge or bread, and it would have made the oats easier to carry. Other grinding stones have been found to have been used to process roots and cattails. “If we were to look more systematically for ground stone technology we would find this is a more widespread phenomenon,” Matt Pope of University College London told The Herald Scotland. For more on the era, go to "New Life for Lion Man."

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