The oldest farming village in the Mediterranean islands is discovered in Cyprus

May 15, 2012
The communal building in Klimonas partially excavated. It measures 10 m in diameter. Credit: J.-D. Vigne, CNRS-MNHN. This image is available from the CNRS photo library, phototheque@cnrs-bellevue.fr

The oldest agricultural settlement ever found on a Mediterranean island has been discovered in Cyprus by a team of French archaeologists involving CNRS, the National Museum of Natural History, INRAP, EHESS and the University of Toulouse. Previously it was believed that, due to the island's geographic isolation, the first Neolithic farming societies did not reach Cyprus until a thousand years after the birth of agriculture in the Middle East (ca. 9500 to 9400 BCE). However, the discovery of Klimonas, a village that dates from nearly 9000 years before Christ, proves that early cultivators migrated to Cyprus from the Middle Eastern continent shortly after the emergence of agriculture there, bringing with them wheat as well as dogs and cats.

The findings, which also reveal the early development of maritime navigational skills by these populations, have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

Sedentary villagers of the Early Neolithic began cultivating wild grains in the Middle East in about 9500 BCE. Recent discoveries have shown that the island of Cyprus was visited by human groups during that period, but until now the earliest traces of and the construction of villages did not predate 8400 BCE. The latest findings from the of Klimonas indicate that organized communities were built in Cyprus between 9100 and 8600 BCE: the site has yielded the remnants of a half-buried mud brick communal building, 10 meters in diameter and surrounded by dwellings, that must have been used to store the village's harvests. The archaeologists have found a few votive offerings inside the building, including flint arrowheads and green stone beads. A great many remnants of other objects, including flint chips, stone tools and shell adornments, have been discovered in the village. The stone tools and the structures erected by these early villagers resemble those found at Neolithic sites from the same period on the nearby continent. Remains of carbonized seeds of local plants and grains introduced from the Levantine coasts (including emmer, one of the first Middle Eastern wheats) have also been found in Klimonas.

Small shell pendant left as an offering in the large communal building of Klimonas. Credit: J.-D. Vigne, CNRS-MNHN. This image is available from the CNRS photo library, phototheque@cnrs-bellevue.fr

An analysis of the bone remains found on the site has revealed that the meat consumed by these villagers came from the hunting of a small wild boar indigenous to Cyprus (the only large game on the island at the time), and that small domestic dogs and cats had been introduced from the continent. This would indicate that these early farming societies migrated from the continent shortly after the emergence of agriculture there. In addition, their ability to move a whole group of people long distances shows that they had already mastered maritime navigation at the dawn of the Neolithic period.

The Klimonas site will be excavated until the end of May 2012, and a new round of excavations will begin in 2013. Uniting several laboratories, the research is funded by CNRS, the European LeCHE project, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (French National Museum of Natural History, or MNHN), INRAP, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ecole Française d'Athènes (French School at Athens).

Explore further: Tooth buried in bone shows two prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea boundaries

More information: First wave of cultivators spread to Cyprus at least 10,600 y ago. Jean-Denis Vigne, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, May 7, 2012.

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User comments : 4

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jmcanoy1860
4 / 5 (4) May 15, 2012
This obviously couldn't be true as it would predate "Adamogenesis".
DarkHorse66
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
I'm assuming that the above comment by jm is actually meant to be facetious, especially in light of multiple recent "debates" on several other threads...(Verkle, you ARE welcome to make comments other than numerical ones. :) )
My own first thought was: "Ah! A real and concrete example of something that predates the Bible and the (roughly)6000 year timeline that its more literal believers seem to insist upon.

Then I thought to myself: How would they try to justify that timeline when taking into account THIS case (~1100 years old, nearly twice as old as 'Adam') or other known examples ...? Or else, maybe the archaeologists entered a group state of psychotic delusion and quickly fabricated this village for the sake of having 'real' evidence, mm? ;) I'm just curious.
This is not an debate about biology, but about history and requires a different kind of argument. Can they do it? Let the discussion begin.

Cheers DH66
DarkHorse66
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
Correction: ~11000 years, not 1100 years. Perhaps this discussion is better served to be on:
http://phys.org/n...art.html
But I would still like to how historical evidence that pre-dates 'Adam', is incorporated into a creationist argument. A cave with prehistoric paintings DOES pre-date, by a long shot. The bible purports to be history (with nothing prior). Therefore, by extension, prehistory cannot be. There is also nothing in the Bible that places Adam and Eve or ANY of their descendents in caves, wearing skins (they go straight to fig leaves, then woven cloth), wielding clubs or spears. Or painting hunting scenes on cave walls. Although thinking of A' and E' as hairy cave people may feel rather comical, one story excludes the other.
How does this get justified?
Regards, DH66
MandoZink
5 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2012
If you do actually believe the universe was created in 6 days(6000 years ago), then you might want to consider the following thought experiment:

The 6-day/6000-year-ago version implies that the geographic strata and other evidence for a lengthy past were actually put there by god, to be eventually discovered by scientists, possibly to challenge their faith and ability to believe.

If so, wouldnt it be just as conceivable that your god might have created the universe, as it is, just 50 years ago, with all of the memories and implied history intact? God could have even created this universe just 5 minutes ago - just as it is. With that type of creation belief, who knows when a historically complete illusion was created?

If I was a creationist who thought rationally, I would have to consider that as no less a possibility.