Report

Direct Demonstration of Milk as an Element of Archaeological Economies

Science  20 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5393, pp. 1478-1481
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5393.1478

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Abstract

The stable carbon isotope (δ13C) compositions of individual fatty acid components of remnant fats preserved in archaeological pottery vessels show that dairying was a component of archaeological economies. Characteristic δ13C values arise from biases in the biosynthetic origins of the C18:0 fatty acids in milk and adipose fat. Milk and adipose fat from animals raised on similar pastures and fodders have distinct isotopic signatures.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: r.p.evershed{at}bristol.ac.uk

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