Title

Cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170 thousand years ago

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Publication Date

January 2020

Abstract

Plant carbohydrates were undoubtedly consumed in antiquity, yet starchy geophytes were seldom preserved archaeologically. We report evidence for geophyte exploitation by early humans from at least 170,000 years ago. Charred rhizomes from Border Cave, South Africa, were identified to the genus Hypoxis L. by comparing the morphology and anatomy of ancient and modern rhizomes. Hypoxis angustifolia Lam., the likely taxon, proliferates in relatively well-watered areas of sub-Saharan Africa and in Yemen, Arabia. In those areas and possibly farther north during moist periods, Hypoxis rhizomes would have provided reliable and familiar carbohydrate sources for mobile groups.

Notes

Science, Vol. 367, no. 6473 (2020-01-03).

Keywords

South Africa, Starchy Geophytes, Rhizomes

Description

1 online resource

Subject: topical

South Africa; Starchy Geophytes; Rhizomes

Type

Article

Genre

Serial publications

Identifier

SFS0058051_00001

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