In a cave 12,000 years ago, a group of people settled down to a dinner that has rarely been matched: 71 tortoises that had been roasted in their shells.
The discovery of the shells shows that feasting occurred 2500 years earlier than previously thought, at a critical stage in the transition from hunter-gathering to settled farming.
The remains of the feast were found in Hilazon Tachtit cave in Israel by Natalie Munro of the University of Connecticut in Storrs and Leore Grosman of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It is a burial ground that contains the bones of 28 people.
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