Dairy farming transition ~2,500 years ago in the far north of Europe
Neolithic dairy farming at the extreme of agriculture in northern Europe
Lucy J. E. Cramp et al.
The conventional ‘Neolithic package’ comprised animals and plants originally domesticated in the Near East. As farming spread on a generally northwest trajectory across Europe, early pastoralists would have been faced with the challenge of making farming viable in regions in which the organisms were poorly adapted to providing optimal yields or even surviving.
Hence, it has long been debated whether Neolithic economies were ever established at the modern limits of agriculture. Here, we examine food residues in pottery, testing a hypothesis that Neolithic farming was practiced beyond the 60th parallel north. Our findings, based on diagnostic biomarker lipids and δ13C values of preserved fatty acids, reveal a transition at ca 2500 BC from the exploitation of aquatic organisms to processing of ruminant products, specifically milk, confirming farming was practiced at high latitudes. Combining this with genetic, environmental and archaeological information, we demonstrate the origins of dairying probably accompanied an incoming, genetically distinct, population successfully establishing this new subsistence ‘package’.So what really happened was that the subsistence fish and shellfish eating natives were conquered and over run by a healthier, wealthier, technologically more sophisticated and more aggressive population who depended on their livestock for survival. How many times did the "Cowboys and Indians" scenario play out?
This post finally got listed a week late in Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: Dirty Denim" a week late, and a dollar short, because I forgot to send it off.