Direct Demonstration of Milk as an Element of Archaeological Economies

+ See all authors and affiliations

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

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


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}

View Full Text