Recently, a research was conducted by a team of researchers from the universities of Huddersfield, Rome and Modena & Reggio Emilia concerning cultivation in Saharan Africa. The team conducted investigations at a site named Takarkori in south-western Libya.
Approximately 10,000 years ago, Takarkori was a part of “green Sahara”, and wild cereals used to grow over there. Almost around 200,000 seeds were found there in circular patterns. This reflected that the hunter gathers were indulged in harvesting and storing these crops. Another belief was that the ants in that area may have moved the seeds and are responsible for the circular concentrations of seeds. Dr Stefano Vanin, the University of Huddersfield's Reader in Forensic Biology and a leading entomologist in the forensic and archaeological fields, performed a detailed analysis of a large number of samples, presently stored at the University of Modena & Reggio Emilia. This analysis enabled the team to infer that insects were not responsible for this concentration instead human activity was. This was indeed the first known evidence of storage and cultivation of cereal seeds in Africa. Alongside other discoveries have been made from the site. Although the wild cereals harvested by the people of Sahara, are referred to as “weeds” in the modern agriculture, but these may act as an important food in the coming future of global warming. These wild crops are attracting the interests of scientists who are searching for new food resources.
By: Anuja Arora