Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Carbon dating puts the settlement at 5200 BC, a good 2 thousand years before the first pharaohs.
Evidence of early farming has been found before on the site — Gertrude Caton-Thompson, one of the first women archaeologists, found wheat in granaries back in the 20′s — but this is the first evidence of long-term habitation instead of just storage of foodstuffs.
American and Dutch archaeologists reported last week the discovery at a desert oasis of what they say is the earliest known farming settlement in ancient Egypt. They said the animal bones, carbonized grains, hearths and pottery were roughly dated at 5200 B.C.
Now, for the first time, the archaeologists said, early agriculture in Egypt can be studied in a village context, promising insights about the farmers and some answers to the questions of how, why and when Egyptians adopted farming.