via UW News, 03 October 2018: Nutmeg residues found in 3,500-year-old ceramics at Pulau Ay in Indonesia.
Found at an archaeological site on Pulau Ay, a small island in the Banda Islands, central Maluku, Indonesia, the nutmeg was found as residue on ceramic potsherds and is estimated to be 3,500 years old — about 2,000 years older than the previously known use of the spice.
The study and two excavations in 2007 and 2009 were led by Peter Lape, professor of anthropology at the University of Washington and curator of archaeology at the Burke Museum, in collaboration with colleagues from Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia, the University of New South Wales in Australia and others.
The Pulau Ay archaeological site was occupied from 2,300 to 3,500 years ago, with animal bones, earthenware pottery, stone tools, and post molds of possible housing structures found. The variety of artifacts discovered provides evidence of changes in how people utilized marine food resources, pottery and domestic animals over time.