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Madella M.,Complexity and Socio Ecological Dynamics Research Group CaSEs | Madella M.,University Pompeu Fabra | Garcia-Granero J.J.,Complexity and Socio Ecological Dynamics Research Group CaSEs | Garcia-Granero J.J.,Spanish National Research Council CSIC | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The study of plant exploitation and early use of cereals in Africa has seen over the years a great input from charred and desiccated macrobotanical remains. This paper presents the results of one of the few examples in Africa of microbotanical analyses. Three grave contexts of phytolith-rich deposits and the dental calculus of 20 individuals were analysed from two Neolithic cemeteries in North and Central Sudan. The radiocarbon-dated phytoliths from the burial samples show the presence of Near East domestic cereals in Northern Sudan at least 7000 years ago. Phytoliths also indicate the exploitation of wild, savannah-adapted millets in Central Sudan between 7500 and 6500 years ago. The calculus samples contained starch grains from wheat/barley, pulses and millets, as well as panicoid phytoliths. This evidence shows that Near East domestic cereals were consumed in Northern Africa at least 500 years earlier than previously thought. © 2014 Madella et al. Source

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