The world’s oldest known pottery has been discovered in China, according to a report from the BBC. The pottery, in fragments, was estimated at about 18,000 years old and found in a cave that had previously yielded the oldest kernels of rice.
“The previous oldest-known example of pottery was found in Japan, dated to an age between 16,000 and 17,000 years ago, but debate has raged in the archaeological community as to whether pottery was first made in China or Japan.”
Pottery and ceramics have a long history, and archaeologists have relied upon shards as insights into ancient cultures. According to Wikipedia, “The study of pottery may also allow inferences to be drawn about a culture’s daily life, religion, social relationships, attitudes towards neighbours, attitudes to their own world and even the way the culture understood the universe.”