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World's Oldest Noodles Alter View of Ancient Diet Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
Wed Oct 12, 2:00 PM ET
Archeologists excavating an ancient Chinese settlement discovered a small pile of well-preserved noodles after turning over an upside-down clay bowl.
The bowl was buried beneath 10 feet of sediment in Lajia, a small community located by the Yellow River in northwestern China that was destroyed by an earthquake about 4,000 years ago.
The thin, yellow noodles were about 20 inches long and resembled La-Mian, a type of traditional Chinese noodle made by grinding wheat to make dough and then repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand.
The finding is reported in the October 13 issue of the journal Nature.
Prior to the discovery, the earliest mention of noodles was in a 1,900 year old book written during the East Han Dynasty in China, said Lu Houyuan, an archeologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who was involved in the discovery.
When the archeologists examined the starch grains and microscopic mineral particles that form in plants called "phytoliths," they received another surprise: the ancient noodles were not made from wheat like modern noodles, but from millet, a type of grain that, along with rice, formed the foundation of agriculture in ancient China.
"Archaeological evidence suggests that even though wheat was present in northwestern China 5,000-4,500 years ago, it wasn't commonly cultivated until much later," Huoyuan said in an email interview.
"It took a long time for wheat to become successfully naturalized in China," Houyuan told LiveScience. "It gradually spread from northwestern China to the East and to the South."
It was only much later, during the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty, from 618 to 1279 AD, that wheat began to catch on with people in China, finally becoming the second largest staple grain crop in the country after rice.
March 24th 2005: Bobby Fischer leaves Japan for Iceland
After his release Fischer went straight to Tokyo airport.
Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer has left Japan for Iceland following his release from an eight-month detention.
The 62-year-old took an aeroplane to Copenhagen, from where he plans to fly to Iceland. The country has granted him a passport and citizenship.
The American is wanted in the US for breaking international sanctions by playing a match in Yugoslavia in 1992.
He was detained in July trying to leave Japan using a revoked US passport.
Mr Fischer was granted Icelandic citizenship after a vote in the country's parliament on Monday.
The former champion has many supporters in Iceland, after playing a world championship match there in 1972 at the height of the Cold War, beating the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky.
Japan's justice ministry decided to let Mr Fischer travel to Iceland after being shown documents proving Mr Fischer had been granted Icelandic citizenship, Japanese reports said.
The US said it was disappointed at the move. "Mr Fischer is a fugitive from justice," said a US state department spokesman.
He was arrested and threatened with deportation when he tried to leave Japan for the Philippines last July using a US passport that had allegedly been revoked.
Since then he has mounted a string of protests, including claims for political asylum, in attempts to avoid being repatriated.
Mr Fischer's supporters say the US deportation order is politically motivated.
NEWS UPDATE Dec 1st 2004
Serbia leader 'survives attack'
Pro-Western Boris Tadic survived the attack on Tuesday night
Serbia's President Boris Tadic has survived
an apparent assassination attempt
when a car tried to crash into his motorcade in Belgrade.
Mr Tadic was not hurt in the incident
when the driver of an Audi repeatedly
tried to hit his car, a spokesman said.
Mr Tadic's office said that security officers
believed the Audi had followed the convoy
for some time before trying to attack
the president's car.
Belgrade daily newspaper Vecernje Novosti
claimed the attacker tried to cut the convoy off
and run into the presidential vehicle on a curve.
The driver of the Audi attempted
to avoid Mr Tadic's security vehicle
but the escort vehicle veered sharply left
and crashed into the attacker,
the newspaper said, quoting "well-informed sources".
It added that officials noted the first two digits
of the Audi's licence plate,
and have passed the details onto police.
Another daily, Blic, reported that the driver had a beard.