Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

On this day ten years ago…
via Ancient bread

Read Full Post »

on this day ten years ago… should have been Oct26 not the 23rd,

via Irish farming in 3000 BC

Read Full Post »

BBC.com
By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website

Neolithic times

Scientists have discovered the earliest direct evidence of milk consumption by humans.

The team identified milk protein entombed in calcified dental plaque (calculus) on the teeth of prehistoric farmers from Britain.

It shows that humans were consuming dairy products as early as 6,000 years ago – despite being lactose intolerant.

This could suggest they processed the raw milk into cheese, yoghurt or some other fermented product.

This would have reduced its lactose content, making it more palatable.

The team members scraped samples of plaque off the teeth, separated the different components within it and analysed them using mass spectrometry.

They detected a milk protein called beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) in the tartar of seven individuals spanning early to middle Neolithic times.

“Proteomic analysis of calculus is a fairly recent technique. There have been a few studies before, but they have generally been on historical archaeological material rather than prehistoric material,” co-author Dr Sophy Charlton, from the department of archaeology at the University of York, told BBC News.

Lactose intolerance arises from the inability to digest the lactose sugar contained in milk beyond infancy. This means that consuming milk-based foods can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea. However, many modern Europeans possess a genetic mutation which allows for the continued consumption of milk into adulthood.

This mutation affects a section of DNA controlling the activity of the gene for lactase – an enzyme that breaks down lactose sugar. However, previous studies of the genetics of Neolithic Europeans show that they lacked this mutation.

Dr Charlton said it was possible these Stone Age people were limiting themselves to small amounts of milk. “If you are lactose intolerant and you consume very, very small amounts of milk, then it doesn’t make you too ill. You can just about cope with that,” she explained.

But Dr Charlton added: “The alternative option, which I think is perhaps slightly more plausible, is that they were processing the milk in such a way that it’s removing a degree of the lactose. So if you process it into a cheese, or a fermented milk product, or a yoghurt, then it does decrease the lactose content so you could more easily digest it.

“That idea fits quite well with other archaeological evidence for the period in which we find dairy fats inside lots of Neolithic pottery, both in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

In addition, some of the milk residues found in these pots appear to have been heated, which would be required for processing raw milk into cheese or some other product.

The human remains tested in the study come from three Neolithic sites: Hambledon Hill in Dorset, Hazleton North in Gloucestershire, and Banbury Lane in Northamptonshire.

More than one quarter of the pottery fragments at Hambledon Hill had milk lipids on them, suggesting that dairy foods were very important to the people living at that site. Other Neolithic sites show evidence of animal herds that are consistent with those used for dairying.

Genetic studies of ancient populations from across Eurasia show that lactase persistence only became common very recently, despite the consumption of milk products in the Neolithic. The mutation had started to appear by the Bronze Age, but even at this time, it was only present in 5-10% of Europeans.

The Neolithic age in Britain lasted from about 6,000 to 4,400 years ago and saw the introduction of farming, including the use of domesticated animals such as cows, sheep, pigs and goats.

The study has been published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

Read Full Post »

An example of Killkenny dentitions (Queen’s University Belfast/PA)

Belfast Telegraph.com.uk

The mid-19th century famine wiped out around a million people after the potato crop failed in successive years.

Teeth analysed from the 1840s have shed new light on what people ate before and during the Irish Famine.

Scientific analysis of dental calculus – plaque build-up – of the Famine’s victims found evidence of corn, oats, potato, wheat and milk foodstuffs.

Researchers also discovered egg protein in the calculus of three people, which they said is more associated with diets of non-labouring or better off social classes at the time.

The mid-19th century famine wiped out around a million people after the potato crop failed in successive years.

It shows how the notoriously monotonous potato diet of the poor was opportunistically supplemented by other foodstuffs, such as eggs and wheat, when made available to them Dr Jonny Geber

Researchers analysed teeth from the human remains of 42 people, aged around 13 years and older, who died in the Kilkenny Union Workhouse and were buried in mass burial pits on its grounds.

The workhouse pits were discovered in 2005 and were found to contain the remains of nearly 1,000 people.

Potato and milk was virtually the only source of food for a vast proportion of the population in Ireland.

Many people were forced to seek refuge in the workhouses during the Famine, where they received meagre rations of food and shelter in return for work.

Researchers examined samples of calculus for microparticles and protein content linked to foodstuffs.

The microparticles showed a dominance of corn, as well as evidence of oats, potato and wheat.

The corn came from so-called Indian meal, which was imported in vast amounts to Ireland from the United States as relief food for the starving populace.

Analysis of the protein content identified milk, as well as the occasional presence of egg.

One of the lead researchers, Dr Jonny Geber of the University of Edinburgh’s School of History, Classics and Archaeology, said: “The results of this study is consistent with the historical accounts of the Irish labourer’s diet before and during the Famine.

“It also shows how the notoriously monotonous potato diet of the poor was opportunistically supplemented by other foodstuffs, such as eggs and wheat, when made available to them.

“The Great Irish Famine was one of the worst subsistence crises in history but it was foremost a social disaster induced by the lack of access to food and not the lack of food availability.”

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

The study is a collaboration between researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Harvard, Otago in New Zealand, York, Zurich, and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

Read Full Post »

 

On this day ten years ago…published one day early.

should have been Oct6

via Domestication Of Chile Pepper Provides Insights Into Crop Origin And Evolution

Read Full Post »

 

On this day ten years ago…

via Maize may have fueled ancient Andean civilization

Read Full Post »

 

On this day ten years ago…

via WINE IN ANCIENT EGYPT Pt 1

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: