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A Bronze Age wooden container found in an ice patch at 2,650m in the Swiss Alps could help archaeologists shed new light on the spread and exploitation of cereal grains following a chance discovery.
Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern
The team of archaeologists were expecting to find a milk residue left behind in the container — perhaps from a porridge-type meal wolfed down by a hunter or herder making their way through a snowy Alpine pass.
But instead they discovered lipid-based biomarkers for whole wheat or rye grain, called alkylresorcinols.
The team say the discovery of these biomarkers in the residue could be used as a new tool to help archaeologists map and trace the development of early farming in Eurasia.
The domestication of plants, such as wheat, was one of the most significant cultural and evolutionary steps of our species, but direct evidence…
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