- Pots are oldest pottery ever discovered
- Date from 10,000 years before humans 'settled down' and became farmers
- Push invention of pottery back to last ice age
- Archaeologists struggling to work out how and why they were made
- Thought to have been used by roving hunter-gatherers
Earlier theories have held that the invention of pottery happened during the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.
The new find has been carbon dated by a team of Chinese and American researchers and shows scorch marks that indicate it may have been used in cooking.
These pots push the invention of pottery back to the last ice age - and archaeologists are trying to understand how and why they were made.
Pottery fragment from Xianrendong Cave in northern Jiangxi Province, China. Bits of the oldest known pottery, some 2,000 years older than previously found pieces, have been uncovered in China