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by Luigi Guarino on February 22, 2017

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Dave Wood February 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm

“Neolithic tools”. All kinds of problems with this claim. It is not Neolithic, but Upper Paleolithic – around the time when northern Europe was deep in glacial ice. The article claims that people 23,000 years ago were deliberately growing grain (other papers on the same site say 19,000 years ago) . The evidence does not support the `grain growing’ claim. People were gathering by sickle-harvesting and processing (grinding) a wide range of wild grain – large (Triticum and Hordeum) and small – lots of other grasses, including lots of a Bromus. Sickles do not prove cultivation. Neither does the presence of significant non-shattering, this can be as a result of harvesting technique or timing. There were also lots of species now characteristic of weedy fields which the authors assumed (wrongly) indicated Stone-Age cultivation. These so-called weedy species indicate nothing more than disturbance – to be expected on the shore of a freshwater sea at the time of the Late Glacial Maximum (the site itself was preserved by being flooded for 20,000 years). If the locals were using fire to maintain the grasses – as still done by aborigines in Australia – you would expect these species of disturbed environments. They are `ruderals’ rather than weeds of cultivation – ruderals have been recognized as far back as the Mesozoic and at that time obviously had nothing to do with cultivation. There is also the possibility that the lake shore was more saline than at present – the vast lake to the south along the rift valley became the much smaller and lower Dead Sea.
There are dozens of papers written on this amazing site – some going back 20 years.

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Luigi Guarino February 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Sorry, the Neolithic label was my mistake.

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Dave Wood February 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Luigi: Not your fault – the last photo captions in the article is `a Neolithic form of sickle’ which has nothing whatever to do with the topic – they should not have used it.

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