Ancient grain reveals the development of the earliest cities

by Dave Sadler

Ancient grain from the Middle East has given scientists an insight into how some of the world’s first cities developed.

Small, charred remains of grain that are at least 8,500 years old provide a fingerprint of ancient farming and how villages suddenly expanded over the course of a few hundred years into the large city states in ancient Mesopotamia—a historical area in present-day Syria and Iraq.

The grain can now reveal that as cities expanded and the need for food grew, so did the land dedicated to growing crops.

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