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New insights into the Early Neolithic economy and management of animals in Southern and Central Europe revealed using lipid residue analyses of pottery vessels

By M. Salque, G. Radi, A. Tagliacozzo, B. P. Uria, S. Wolfram, I. Hohle, H. Stauble, A. Whittle, D. Hofmann, J. Pechtl, S. Schade-Lindig, U. Eisenhauer, R. P. Evershed

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Abstract

Analyses of organic residues preserved in ceramic potsherds enable the identification of foodstuffs processed in archaeological vessels. Differences in the isotopic composition of fatty acids allow differentiation of non-ruminant and ruminant fats, as well as adipose and dairy fats. This paper investigates the trends in milk use in areas where sheep and goats are dominant in the faunal assemblage and in some sites from the Linearbandkeramik culture. Sites include: Colle Santo Stefano, Abruzzo, Italy, and the Oldest to Young Linearbandkeramik sites of Zwenkau, Eythra and Brodau, Saxony, and Wang and Niederhummel, Bavaria, Germany. More than 160 potsherds were investigated including cooking pots, bowls, jars, and ceramic sieves. The lipid residues presented provide direct evidence for the processing of ruminant and non-ruminant commodities at Zwenkau and Eythra, despite the absence of faunal remains at the sites. No dairy residues were detected in potsherds from LBK sites, except in a ceramic sieve at Brodau. Lipids from non-ruminant and ruminant fats, including from dairy fats, were detected at the site of Colle Santo Stefano showing a reliance on dairy products during the first half of the sixth millennium at this site; where sheep and goats were the major domestic animals.

Publication Title Anthropozoologica
Volume 47
Issue 2
Pages 45-62
ISBN/ISSN 0761-3032
DOI 10.5252/az2012n2a4
Language English
Author Address Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantock's Close, Bristol BS8 1TS, UK.
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Tags
  1. Analysis
  2. Animals
  3. Archaeology
  4. Art
  5. Bovidae
  6. Capra
  7. Developed countries
  8. Economics
  9. Europe
  10. Farms
  11. Fat
  12. Fatty acids
  13. Food processing
  14. Food products
  15. Foods
  16. Germany
  17. Goats
  18. Isotopes
  19. Italy
  20. Lipids
  21. Mammals
  22. Mediterranean region
  23. Milk and dairy products
  24. OECD countries
  25. peer-reviewed
  26. regions
  27. Ruminants
  28. Sheep
  29. trends
  30. ungulates
  31. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed