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Archaeology Roundup

July 19, 2013

Researchers have unearthed the earliest known evidence for the use of flowers to adorn human graves.



The start of the floral funeral. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A reconstruction of a Natufian burial at the "El-Wad Terrace" archaeological site in the "Nahal Me'arot" Nature Reserve, Israel. (Photo: האיל הניאוליתי/Wikipedia)

Researchers have discovered the oldest known flower-lined gravesites in an excavation of a nearly 14,000-year-old settlement in what is today northern Israel. This according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Hunter-gatherers known as the Natufians lived at the site, They buried their dead in graves lined with fragrant sage, mint, and figwort flowers.

In other archaeology news, University of Tubingen researchers report the discovery of the earliest evidence of agriculture in a site in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. The area was occupied continuously from 12 thousand years ago to 10,000 years ago. By analyzing plant matter,deposited layer by layer over that two thousand year period, the researchers traced the progression from wild food plants to cultivated, domesticated ones. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.