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"Remnants of an Ancient Kitchen Are Found in China"

Fragments of ancient pottery found in southern China turn out to date back 20,000 years, making them the world’s oldest known pottery — 2,000 to 3,000 years older than examples found in East Asia and elsewhere.

The ceramics probably consisted of simple concave vessels that were likely used for cooking food, said Ofer Bar-Yosef, an archaeologist at Harvard and an author of the study, which appears in the journal Science.

'What it seems is that in China, the making of pottery started 20,000 years ago and never stopped,” he said. “The Chinese kitchen was always based on cooking and steaming; they never made, as in other parts of Asia, breads.'

The crockery, found in Xianrendong Cave in Jiangxi Province, belonged to a group of mobile foragers, Dr. Bar-Yosef said. They were a hunting and gathering community; plant cultivation and agriculture probably did not arrive until about 10,000 years later.

On the other hand, plant cultivation in the Middle East arrived about 1,000 years before it did in China. Still, pottery was not used in the Middle East until much later, Dr. Bar-Yosef said.

'The kitchen of the Middle East was probably based on barbecues and pita breads,” he said. “For pita breads, you don’t have to have pottery — you can grind the seeds and mix it with water, and make it over the fire.'

New York Times article by SINDYA N. BHANOO
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New Zealand Potters (Inc.)


Registered as an incorporated society in 1965 by an enthusiastic group of potters in Wellington, New Zealand, NZ Potters (Inc.) has grown to become a significant international voice in New Zealand ceramics. The affiliation of about three dozen independent pottery clubs throughout New Zealand together with a number of corporate businesses greatly increases its effective membership. We are a national, not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of practising potters and ceramicists, students of ceramics and all those interested in New Zealand ceramics. We actively support and promote quality, and we encourage and support specialist ceramics education nationally.
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