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The early subdivision of the olive fly reflects the Quaternary differentiation between in Africa and Asia, pointing to an early and close association between the olive fly and its host.The geographic structure and timing of olive fly differentiation in the Mediterranean indicates a clear connection with the post-glacial recolonization of wild olives in the area, and is irreconcilable with the early historical process of domestication and spread of the cultivated olive from its Levantine origin.Tests of potsherds, some dating back to 5,800 BCE, found in 2011-2013 during a salvage excavation ahead of the widening of Road 79, showed traces of olive oil remarkably similar to modern versions, researchers said.Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov of the Israel Antiquities Authority methodically sampled pottery vessels found in the excavation at Ein Zippori in the Lower Galilee in order to ascertain what was stored in them and how they were used by the site’s ancient inhabitants.The society using the oil was pre-Jewish and practiced a religion revolving around the worship of fertility.“We have no writing during that period so we know little about them.And dating as far back as 6,000 years ago, archaeologists find evidence of olive oil production in Carmel, Israel, Besnard said.Yet exactly where the olive was first cultivated has been hotly debated.

► Middle Eastern origin of Californian invasive olive flies is supported.

The study reveals that domesticated olives, which are larger and juicier than wild varieties, were probably first cultivated from wild olive trees at the frontier between Turkey and Syria.

"We can say there were probably several steps, and it probably starts in the Levant," or the area that today includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, said study co-author Gillaume Besnard, an archaeobotanist at the National Center for Scientific Research in France.

“Although it is impossible to say for sure, this might be an olive species that was domesticated and joined grain and legumes – the other kinds of field crops that we know were grown then.

Those crops are known from at least 2,000 years prior to the settlement at Ein Zippori.


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