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Ancient lipid residues provide evidence for the use of dairy products since Early Neolithic phases in Croatia / Mateja Hulina, Cynthianne Debobo Spiteri, Tihomila Težak-Gregl.

By: Hulina, Mateja.
Contributor(s): Debobo Spiteri, Cynthianne [aut] | Težak-Gregl, Tihomila [aut].
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleDescription: .Subject(s): 6.07 | lipids, pottery, dairy products, early neolithic, Dalmatia In: Social Dimensions of Food in the Prehistory of the Eastern Balkans and Neighbouring Areas (2015 ; Heidelberg)Summary: The beginning of the Neolithic introduced among other practices, farming. This was a major change in the people’s way of life since animals were being bred not just for their primary products (e.g. meat), but were also exploited for their secondary products, in particular milk. The nutritious value of dairy products is well known, and for communities who could digest fresh milk, this offered select advantages. Processing milk (e.g. yoghurt and cheese), made dairy products available to non-lactase persistent populations, with the added advantage that these products could be easily transported and stored. More recent research has shown that dairying was practised from the earliest phases of the Neolithic, and we hereby provide evidence that this holds true also for the Croatian Neolithic. Published zooarchaeological data from Croatian sites show that, primarily, sheep and goats were being managed for milk production. Here we present preliminary results obtained from the analysis of lipid residues extracted from pottery vessels recovered from five Early Neolithic sites in Croatia. Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and GC- combustion-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (GC- c-IRMS) were used to analyse extracted lipid residues. Preliminary results from the lipid work complement published zooarchaeological data, and show evidence for the processing of dairy products.
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The beginning of the Neolithic introduced among other practices, farming. This was a major change in the people’s way of life since animals were being bred not just for their primary products (e.g. meat), but were also exploited for their secondary products, in particular milk. The nutritious value of dairy products is well known, and for communities who could digest fresh milk, this offered select advantages. Processing milk (e.g. yoghurt and cheese), made dairy products available to non-lactase persistent populations, with the added advantage that these products could be easily transported and stored. More recent research has shown that dairying was practised from the earliest phases of the Neolithic, and we hereby provide evidence that this holds true also for the Croatian Neolithic. Published zooarchaeological data from Croatian sites show that, primarily, sheep and goats were being managed for milk production. Here we present preliminary results obtained from the analysis of lipid residues extracted from pottery vessels recovered from five Early Neolithic sites in Croatia. Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and GC- combustion-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (GC- c-IRMS) were used to analyse extracted lipid residues. Preliminary results from the lipid work complement published zooarchaeological data, and show evidence for the processing of dairy products.

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