Oldest Pottery

 Making Baskets and Pottery

Early humans may have made bags from skin long ago. By around 26,000 years ago, they were weaving plant fibers to make cords and perhaps baskets. Some of the oldest known pottery from Japan’s Jomon culture, seen here, is about 18,000 years old.

Jomon Pot
Oldest Pottery
About 12,000 years old
Lake Anenuma, Honshu, Japan


Here of some of the well-tested methods of dating used in the study of early humans:

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Team Members

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Recording Information

A close-up look at the second two objects here shows that in all three the markings are clearly organized. This systematic pattern suggests to some researchers that the markings represent information or counting rather than decoration.

From simple beginnings like these came our ability to store enormous amounts of information.

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Primate Behavior

Humans are part of the biological group known as primates. We sure are an unusual species of primate, though!

Primates include lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes – a group of species that is well known for being social, smart, and very adept at using their hands. They are also very vocal and communicative with the members of their social group. And they move around in a wide variety of ways, including sometimes on two legs.

Remind you of anyone?

We invite you to enjoy the most unusual primate of all!

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Hearths & Shelters

 The earliest hearths are at least 790,000 years old, and some researchers think cooking may reach back more than 1.5 million years. Control of fire provided a new tool with several uses—including cooking, which led to a fundamental change in the early human diet. Cooking released nutrients in foods and made them easier to digest. It also rid some plants of poisons.

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Carrying & Storing

Early humans may have made bags from skin long ago. By around 26,000 years ago, they were weaving plant fibers to make cords and perhaps baskets. About 20,000 years ago, in China, they began making pottery.

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Our ancestors often buried the dead together with beads and other symbolic objects. Burial rituals heightened the group’s memory of the deceased person. These rituals may imply a belief that a person’s identity extends beyond death.

Getting Food

Modern humans are a species that is largely fed every day. Sure, maybe we go to the supermarket to buy our food, and some people still practice subsistence farming, but our lives have changed drastically from the time that early humans had to hunt, scavenge, and gather food every day. Explore the evidence for some of the ways that early humans were able to get food.

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