Charred edible rhizomes, remnants of a meal, have been found in a cave in southern Africa.
The human groups that populated Border Cave 170,000 years ago would probably be very surprised to discover that their culinary failures now have their place in scientific journals (Science, January 3). A team of archaeologists has just discovered, in this large cave located on the border of South Africa and the kingdom of Eswatini (ex-Swaziland, renamed in 2018), small charred remains of plants. Proof that our distant ancestors were already cooking vegetables. And more anecdotally perhaps, that they too happened to forget them on the fire …
These little smoky pieces, the size of a nail, could have gone unnoticed. But the archaeo-botanists did not get caught up in it. They recognized in these burnt remains bits of rhizomes, namely underground stems swollen with food reserves. You know at least some species which produce this type of structure and which we have durably