Ancient mortars and grinding tools were found in a large mound in the Zagros Mountains of Iran, The Live Science website reported new findings detailed in the science journal published Thursday.
The findings suggest that these ancient tools were used to grind wheat and barley about 11,000 years ago.
Archaeologist Nicholas Conard of the University of Tubingen, who led an excavation in 2009 at the slopes of Zagros, a mountain range that runs along the Iran-Iraq border, started his excavation in an eight-meter-high mound.
Conrad, an expert on stone tools, said he recognized some of the grains.
“They look like lentils you might buy at the store, or pieces of wheat or barley you might have encountered in other aspects of life,” the U.S.-based National Public Radio (NPR) quoted him as saying.
Conrad suspected that he was looking at an “agricultural village,” however, he sent the grains to Simone Riehl, an archaeobotanist at the University of Tubingen, to verifying.
The findings suggest that there are growing evidence that agriculture arose at multiple places in the Middle East, which is considered to be the cradle of civilization.
“The thing that’s most astounding is that it extends the Fertile Crescent much farther east for the early agricultural sites, which are dated to 11,500 to 11,000 years ago,” George Willcox, an archaeologist at the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) in France, told NPR.