GUILIN, Dec. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Archeologists say
China's most primitive pottery was made to cook freshwater snails in south
China, after studying relics in Zengpiyan Cave in Guilin City, capital of
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The cave represents Neolithic
culture in south China about 12,000 to 7,000 years ago. It yielded the country's
most primitive potsherds, estimated to be 12,000 years old.
People in south China had been using fire to cook
wild plants or animals long before they started cooking shellfish in pottery,
said Fu Xianguo, a researcher with the Institute of Archeology of the Chinese
Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
"Freshwater snails were one of their staple foods,
judging by the quantities of snail shells found in various strata. Our
experiments show it is necessary to heat them before consumption, otherwise it's
difficult to release the meat from the shells," Fu said.
Like any technological innovation, the creation of
pottery is believed to have been embedded in some cultural context.
There were various hypotheses on how and why pottery
Some said it was related with mud-brick house
construction, others believed it was created to meet culinary needs or for
Richard Pearson, an independent Canadian
archeologist, agreed that pottery could have developed under different
circumstances indifferent contexts, but he disagreed with the proposal that it
wasmade to cook snails. "They could also have been roasted or baked,"he said.