Where and when (and indeed why) did dairying arise in temperate Neolithic Europe?
To investigate this phenomenon directly, the NeoMilk project will use biochemical proxies in LBK remains to assess the spatiotemporal patterns of animal exploitation and milk use. The project will involve three major inextricably linked Research Themes:
Organic residues of milk and other products in LBK pottery
Lipid biomarker and stable isotope compositions of food residues from LBK pottery containers will provide qualitative and quantitative assessments of the major animal products acquired and processed in LBK pottery. We aim to test whether the LBK was the core region for the emergence of the European LP gene variant.
Domesticated animals in the LBK
State-of-the-art analyses of herding and slaughtering practices for cattle and sheep/goats, wild and hunted species compositions, butchery practices and the nature of meat and fat exploitation, 87Sr/86Sr, δ18O, δ13C and δ15N analyses of domesticated animal teeth (and mandibular bone) will be used to define seasonal herd management and weaning strategies. Combined, these will reveal trends in LBK animal exploitation and husbandry, particularly in relation to the intensification of cattle herding and milking.
Chronicling, mapping and correlating patterns of environmental and cultural change related to animal management and milk use