01 September 2010

Feasting began before agriculture

Community feasting is an important social behaviour in humans and scientists have found the earliest evidence of organised feasting, at a burial site dated about 12,000 years ago.

Community feasting is one of the most universal and important social behaviours found among humans. Now, scientists have found the earliest clear evidence of organised feasting, from a burial site dated about 12,000 years ago.

These remains represent the first archaeological verification that human feasting began before the advent of agriculture.

Each of the two hollows, says Munro, was manufactured for the purpose of a ritual human burial and related feasting activities. The tortoise shells were situated under, around and on top of the remains of a ritually-buried shaman, which suggests that the feast occurred concurrently with the ritual burial.

On their own, the meat from the discarded tortoise shells could probably have fed about 35 people, says Munro, but it's possible that many more than that attended this feast.


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