Thursday, December 29, 2011

77,000 Year Old Mattresses

The world's oldest known mattress has been unearthed in South Africa, archaeologists have announced.

The mattress—which consists of layers of reeds and rushes—was discovered at the bottom of a pile of bedding made from compacted grasses and leafy plants. The bedding had accumulated at the Sibudu Cave site in KwaZulu-Natal (map) over a period of 39,000 years, with the oldest mats dating to 77,000 years ago.

"What we have is evidence of plant bedding that is 50,000 years older than any previous site anywhere in the world," said study leader Lyn Wadley of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

The compacted layers of fossil plants—excavated from sediments 9.8 feet (3 meters) deep—show that the bedding was periodically burned, possibly to limit pests and garbage.

Read it all here.

Related reading: Mining Blood; 70,000 Python Stone; African Religion Predates Hinduism; Humans Originated in Africa

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