A new study reveals that our ancestors learned to preserve food more than 300,000 years ago by putting it in the ashes. To find out a team of researchers from Sapienza, in collaboration with the TAU University of Tel Aviv, discovered how already from the Lower Paleolithic a community of hominins who lived in Qesem Cave (Israel) used wood ash to preserve food and other perishable materials . The study is published in the journal PlosOne.
The study is the result of research directed by Cristina Lemorini, head of the Laboratory of technological and functional analysis of prehistoric artifacts (LTFAPA) of the Department of Ancient Sciences, in collaboration with the DANTE laboratory (Sapienza) and with the TAU University of Tel-Aviv. The article presents data demonstrating how, since the Lower Paleolithic, hominin communities who lived in Qesem Cave (Israel) about 300,000 years ago preserved food and other perishable materials using a natural substance with a very high antibacterial potential: wood ash. «The exceptional discovery – explains Cristina Lemorini – dates back the use of techniques for the conservation of perishable materials, hitherto never identified in such ancient chronological periods, and redraws the image of our ancestors, highlighting a cognitive and cultural complexity, hitherto unexpected, already starting from the Lower Paleolithic».