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New archaeological research may have revealed that the
original ‘paleo diet’ contained wheat and barley, and was not
just restricted to meat and vegetables as the current diet typically is.
Scientists from Cambridge, Cardiff, UCL and York Universities
studied the remains of nine people who lived
around 9,000 years ago in the late Mesolithic
(6600 – 6450 BC) and the Mesolithic-Neolithic
phases (6200 – 5900 BC) and found plant matter
fossilised in their teeth.
Thanks to poor dental hygiene, micro-fossils were trapped in
ancient plaque on their teeth. The researchers say these plaques
contain plants — cereals, in fact — that weren’t thought to
be part of people’s diets for another four centuries.
People in the Mesolithic period are generally believed to
have been hunter-gatherers
and lived in vast woodlands. The Neolithic, or New Stone
Age, came afterwards, and it’s then that people were
believed to have first planted
cereal crops and developed agriculture.
The discovery of domestic cereals in Mesolithic people’s diets
means that social networks between local foragers and the first
Neolithic communities probably extended further than
archaeologists originally thought, due to how deep into the
Balkan hinterland they were found.
“At the time of the discovery we had the sense that these groups
of complex hunter-gatherers were in contact with other more
distant locations,” Borić said. “We found beads made of
marine gastropods that come from coastal areas in Greece and the
Adriatic, hundreds of kilometres away from the region for
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