Fragments of ancient pottery found in southern China turn out to date back 20,000 years, making them the world’s oldest known pottery — 2,000 to 3,000 years older than examples found in East Asia and elsewhere.
The ceramics probably consisted of simple concave vessels that were likely used for cooking food, said Ofer Bar-Yosef, an archaeologist at Harvard and an author of the study, which appears in the journal Science.
“What it seems is that in China, the making of pottery started 20,000 years ago and never stopped,” he said. “The Chinese kitchen was always based on cooking and steaming; they never made, as in other parts of Asia, breads.”
The crockery, found in Xianrendong Cave in Jiangxi Province, belonged to a group of mobile foragers, Dr. Bar-Yosef said. They were a hunting and gathering community; plant cultivation and agriculture probably did not arrive until about 10,000 years later.
On the other hand, plant cultivation in the Middle East arrived about 1,000 years before it did in China. Still, pottery was not used in the Middle East until much later, Dr. Bar-Yosef said. …
Could they have been made by neanderthals? I’ve found no evidence that neanderthals made pottery, but they were in parts of China and they did make art. However, they were supposedly gone 8,000 years earlier if the pottery was found to be 20,000 years old, according to this:
Neanderthals’ ancestors evolved in Europe 350,000 years ago and by 130,000 years ago, genuine Neanderthals were already present. Almost 28,000 years ago they were gone, wiped out by modern men or by intermingling with them.
Neanderthal remains have been found from Spain to Middle East (Israel) and Central Asia (Uzbekistan). Now, a new area must be added onto their range: China, appearing that our evolutionary cousin migrated much further than previously believed.
Fossils discovered on the Altai mountains, some 2,000 km (1,250 mi) further away into southern Siberia, just above the northwestern tip of modern China, at the border between China, Russia and Mongolia, have been proven to belong to the Neanderthals. … – link