News Focus11th International Conference of Archaeozoology

In a Cold Snap, Farmers Turned to Milk

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Science  17 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5998, pp. 1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5998.1465

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About 8200 years ago, a sudden shift of North Atlantic currents plunged the Northern Hemisphere into a short cold and dry spell. At the meeting, an archaeologist presented what is perhaps the best case yet for the cold snap's effect on human activity, finding that milk products—detected by traces of lipids in pottery—suddenly showed up in the archaeological record at one site in the Middle East, and the number of spindles, used to spin animal fibers into textiles, increased as well, perhaps to help farmers cope with the climate.