GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-08 > 1251580395
From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Lactase persistance started about 7,500 years ago in central Europe
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 21:13:15 +0000 (GMT)
No, I understand that traces of milk on Neolithic pots are earliest in NW Anatolia and then I think the next oldest are in the north Balkans although I am a little hazy exactly where. I suppose what I am saying is that milk consumption was known in the earliest Balkans Neolithic and also in the slightly later (and perhaps derivative) LBK from its inception. Basically, milk consumption was apparently part of the diet of the earliest farmers from NW Turkey westwards from the very beginning and spread with the first knowledge of farming in that area. This is probably in contrast to the area to the east of NW Turkey (i.e. Turkey and the middle east) where the knowledge of farming and other forms of dairying long preceded cattle milk consumption. My knowledge of the (I think British led) study of milk traces on pots is from conference lectures some years ago and summaries of the same studies you can get on the net by googling earliest milk drinking
or something like that. I am not sure of the details (maybe no-one is as yet) but the implication seemed to be that the route taken by the farmers with the knowledge of milk consumption skipped north of most of Greece and directly into the Balkans (not sure what culture exactly but presumably the earliest Neolithic there) and its generally thought that the early Balkans Neolithic cultures were a major factor in the origins of the LBK culture.
Another implication of this seems to be that the spread along the Mediterranean to the west mainly represented by the Cardial culture didn't include this milk drinking tradition and that what dairying there was was of the more ancient middle eastern goat/sheep variety whose milk has lower lactose I understand. Now, as I have said, I have only heard and read summaries and some of this is reading between the lines somewhat.
Be more specific, please. Are you suggesting that the LBK culture emerged from Anatolia by way of the land bridge from Anatolia (across the Bosporus before its formation?) The movement across the Marmara is actually more closely associated with the emergence of the proto-Thracian culture of the EBA (see Hoddinott, "The Thracians". The LBK was found further north. Are you suggesting that the LBK emerged from the Balkan EBA culture? What about LBK's relationship to the Vinca culture?
What are the studies that you cite concerning Neolithic pottery?
Steven Bird, DMA
> Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 16:52:26 +0000
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Lactase persistance started about 7, 500 years ago in central Europe
> Recent studies of residues on early Neolithic pottery suggests actual consumption of liquid cattle milk began in the early Neolithic in the temperate extreme NW of Turkey near the Bosphorus close to Istanbul where Asia Minor meets the Europe, not at the Mediterranean but the Balkans and Bulgaria. Cattle milk consumption likely spread from there into the north Balkans and Bulgaria first then westwards through central and ultimately western Europe with the Linearbandkeramik culture. This contrasts with the Aegean Neolithic and contemporary Cardial early Neolithic culture zone along the Mediterranean where dairying seemed focused on goats and sheep and probably cheese products and lactase persistence is not such an issue. I suppose to some extent this contrast survives to this day.
> It seems rational to me that this spread of raw cattle milk consumption from the Bosphorus area through the Balkans then westwards must be the scenario where selection for lactase persistence got under way. The belief that it spread 3000 years later in the late Neolithic from the steppes was popular for a long time but all the new archaeological evidence seems to state otherwise. I think that selection may have been a constant process and may have taken 1000s of years to reach saturation in some areas. That would mean that there will not necessarily be a correlation between the origin point and the highest lactase persistence count today and instead the highest count will simply be in areas where selection for the ability to drink cows milk was most consistent over a long period i.e. those areas where cattle's milk longest remained a crucial part of the local economy and diet.
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