Science Top Stories

New Research Tracks Spread of Dairy Farming Across Western Europe

New Research Tracks Spread of Dairy Farming Across Western Europe

A study has analyzed the shift from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to early farming that occurred in prehistoric Europe over a period of around 1,500 years.

New Research Tracks Spread of Dairy Farming Across Western Europe

A world team of scientists, headed by researchers at the University of York, analyzed the molecular remains of food left in pottery utilized by the first farmers who settled along the Atlantic Coast of Europe from 7,000 to 6,000 years ago.

The researchers report proof of dairy merchandise in nearly 80% of the pottery fragments from the Atlantic coast of what’s now Britain and Ireland. In comparison, dairy farming on the Southern Atlantic coast of what’s now Portugal and Spain appears to have been much less intensive, and with greater use of sheep and goats rather than cows.

The research shows that the earliest farmers to arrive on the Southern Atlantic coast exploited animals for their milk but recommends that dairying only really took off when it reached northern latitudes, with progressively more dairy products processed in ceramic vessels.

Prehistoric farmers colonizing Northern areas with harsher climates may have had a greater need for the nutritional advantages of milk, including vitamin D and fat, the authors of the study shows.

The research staff examined organic residues preserved in Early Neolithic pottery from 24 archaeological sites situated between Portugal and Normandy in addition to in the Western Baltic.

About the author

Ethane Eddington

Ethane Eddington

I have always had a passion for writing and I bring that passion into my copywriting business. Whether you want the copy writing for an entire website or a simple proofread and edit, I will make sure I bring you the best results I can in as short a time as possible. I have a long back-catalogue of writing experience – I have been an editor of a sports website, I have an NCTJ qualification in journalism and I have written for a news website. I have also gained a Diploma with Merit in copywriting from the Institute of Copywriting. I view myself as a professional and friendly copywriter and editor who can work around you. Whatever kind of copy you are after; be it for a brochure, web copy, direct mail, a newsletter, advert or proof reading, I will dedicate my time to understanding your business and getting you the results you crave. I pride myself on doing the upmost to bring my clients the copy their business and their customers deserve.