Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 29;113(48):13594-13599. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Regional asynchronicity in dairy production and processing in early farming communities of the northern Mediterranean.

Author information

1
Department of Archaeology, BioArCh, University of York, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.
2
Plant Foods in Hominin Dietary Ecology Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
3
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelaters, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.
4
Unité Mixte de Recherche 7209, Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 75005 Paris, France; melanie.salque@bristol.ac.uk gillis@mnhn.fr.
5
Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TS, United Kingdom; melanie.salque@bristol.ac.uk gillis@mnhn.fr.
6
Human and Social Sciences, Collège de France, 75005 Paris, France.
7
Unité Mixte de Recherche 5608, Travaux et Recherches Archéologiques sur les Cultures, les Espaces et les Sociétés, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 31059 Toulouse, France.
8
Soprintendenza Archeologia della Puglia, Centro Operativo per l'Archeologia della Daunia, 71100 Foggia, Italy.
9
Departament de Prehistòria Edifici B, Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, 08193 Barcelona, Spain.
10
Department of History and Ethnology, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini 694100, Greece.
11
Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TS, United Kingdom.
12
Unité Mixte de Recherche 7209, Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 75005 Paris, France.

Abstract

In the absence of any direct evidence, the relative importance of meat and dairy productions to Neolithic prehistoric Mediterranean communities has been extensively debated. Here, we combine lipid residue analysis of ceramic vessels with osteo-archaeological age-at-death analysis from 82 northern Mediterranean and Near Eastern sites dating from the seventh to fifth millennia BC to address this question. The findings show variable intensities in dairy and nondairy activities in the Mediterranean region with the slaughter profiles of domesticated ruminants mirroring the results of the organic residue analyses. The finding of milk residues in very early Neolithic pottery (seventh millennium BC) from both the east and west of the region contrasts with much lower intensities in sites of northern Greece, where pig bones are present in higher frequencies compared with other locations. In this region, the slaughter profiles of all domesticated ruminants suggest meat production predominated. Overall, it appears that milk or the by-products of milk was an important foodstuff, which may have contributed significantly to the spread of these cultural groups by providing a nourishing and sustainable product for early farming communities.

KEYWORDS:

Neolithic; archaeology; archaeozoology; lipid residue analyses; milk

PMID:
27849595
PMCID:
PMC5137723
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1607810113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center