Evidence Shows That Prehistoric Mediterranean People Were Already Into Dairy

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 16, 2016 12:06 AM EST

It is commonly thought that early civilization did not get into agriculture and farming until people have ceased their nomadic ways and built communities. The first communities were likely agricultural and didn't have livestock with them until later. However, evidence shows that prehistoric Mediterranean people were already into dairy very early on.

Milk and dairy products have been one of the early livestock products used by man. There is still some debate though on how much Mediterranean people used them. It has been speculated that as man continued to hunt for food, he has discovered milk and that has led to the cultivation of livestock for dairy products.

There is much evidence of milk and carcass fat from pottery vessels found in the northern Mediterranean region. These vessels are around 9,000 years old, about the time when man began to build settlements. The study has been made by Cynthianne Spiteri, Melanie Roffet-Salque and Roz Gillis. The study was made while they have been taking their PhD, according to the University of Bristol's site.

Dr. Spiteri observed that milk and dairy products have played a large role in the early northern Mediterranean communities. Dairy products had been one of the sources of nourishment, as they could be stored and used later on. Dr. Gillis and Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne, who are archaezoologists from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in the National Museum of Natural History in Paris said that the raising of livestock was also dictated much by terrain.

The type of terrain played a role in what livestock would be raised. For rugged terrains, sheep and goat were the ones raised. A more open terrain has been used for cattle. Dr. Roffet-Salque said that even if people from the region were lactose-intolerant, they still raised livestock for dairy, as Science Daily reports. Professor Oliver Craig from the University of York said that this study is important since people in the region today are just as lactose-intolerant.

The study would now try to focus on another matter, and that is how the people from that region processed dairy. Early communities don't have the tools yet to process them as they would be later on. What is clear though is that evidence shows that prehistoric Mediterranean people were already into dairy, as it was important for their communities. Also, a study has shown that Neanderthals gave modern humans genes to help adapt to the environment.


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