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Judi Lynn

(161,476 posts)
Wed Jul 10, 2024, 08:41 AM Jul 10

Archaeologists Uncover Earliest Evidence for Plant Farming in East Africa

Jul 9, 2024 by News Staff

A trove of ancient plant remains excavated in Kenya helps explain the history of plant farming in equatorial eastern Africa, a region long thought to be important for early farming but where scant evidence from actual physical crops has been previously uncovered. In a new study published July 10, 2024 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, archaeologists from Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Pittsburgh and their colleagues report the largest and most extensively dated archaeobotanical record from interior east Africa.



Located in the foothills of Mount Elgon near the Kenya-Uganda border, Kakapel Rockshelter is the site where Dr. Mueller and her collaborators have uncovered the earliest evidence for plant farming in east Africa. Image credit: Steven Goldstein.


Up until now, scientists have had virtually no success in gathering ancient plant remains from east Africa and, as a result, have had little idea where and how early plant farming got its start in the large and diverse area comprising Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

“There are many narratives about how agriculture began in east Africa, but there’s not a lot of direct evidence of the plants themselves,” said Dr. Natalie Mueller, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

The work was conducted at the Kakapel Rockshelter in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya.

“We found a huge assemblage of plants, including a lot of crop remains,” Dr. Mueller said. “The past shows a rich history of diverse and flexible farming systems in the region, in opposition to modern stereotypes about Africa.”

The new research reveals a pattern of gradual introductions of different crops that originated from different parts of Africa.

More:
https://www.sci.news/archaeology/kakapel-rockshelter-plant-farming-evidence-13084.html

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Archaeologists Uncover Earliest Evidence for Plant Farming in East Africa (Original Post) Judi Lynn Jul 10 OP
what they found Kali Jul 13 #1
timeline Kali Jul 13 #2

Kali

(55,271 posts)
1. what they found
Sat Jul 13, 2024, 11:55 AM
Jul 13
The scientists used direct radiocarbon dating on carbonized seeds to document the arrival of cowpea (also known as the black-eyed pea, today an important legume around the world) about 2,300 years ago, at about the same time that people in this area began to use domesticated cattle.

They found evidence that sorghum arrived from the northeast at least 1,000 years ago.

They also recovered hundreds of finger millet seeds, dating back to at least 1,000 years ago.

One unusual crop that Dr. Mueller uncovered was field pea (Pisum), burnt but perfectly intact. Peas were not previously considered to be part of early agriculture in this region.

Kali

(55,271 posts)
2. timeline
Sat Jul 13, 2024, 11:57 AM
Jul 13
The scientists used direct radiocarbon dating on carbonized seeds to document the arrival of cowpea (also known as the black-eyed pea, today an important legume around the world) about 2,300 years ago, at about the same time that people in this area began to use domesticated cattle.


had to include the bit about cattle...well, because
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