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Stone Age Milk Use Began 2,000 Years Earlier

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Author Topic: Stone Age Milk Use Began 2,000 Years Earlier  (Read 178 times)
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« on: August 07, 2008, 10:38:14 am »

Evidence of milk fat was found on ceramic vessels from late Stone
Age sites across Turkey, southeastern Europe and the Middle East,
researchers reported in August 2008.

Cow herders in northwest Turkey became the world's first dairy pro-
ducers some 8,500 years ago, a new discovery of the ancient milk
containers (above, similar pottery in Syria) shows.

Photograph courtesy Richard Evershed

Right Conditions

Previously, experts argued that sheep and goats kick-started dairy production, Evershed said.

"This [study] shows that if you get into serious milk consumption, where you're using pottery and preparing your milk, it's really related to cattle suddenly coming onstream," he said.

Northwest Turkey probably provided the right environmental conditions for cattle herding, having "higher rainfall and greener grazing" than other regions where farming began, the study team wrote. The development of pottery and dairy products such as butter, yogurt, and cheese seem to go hand in hand, Evershed said.

"Pots become a very convenient medium for processing milk [into butter, yogurt, or cheese]," he said.

"They're definitely doing fairly intensive processing [for] that fat [to get] into the pot wall. It's showing up in a huge proportion of the pottery." Joachim Burger of the Institute of Archaeology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, said the latest findings are highly significant.

While other recent research based on bone remains of slaughtered livestock suggests even earlier use of cows for dairy products, the new evidence is less open to doubt, he said.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 10:46:20 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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