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NeoDairy - exploring the milking revolution in South Scandinavia during the first half of the fourth millennium BC

Projekter: ProjektForskning

  • Sørensen, Lasse (PI)
  • Philippsen, Bente (Deltager)
  • nielsen, poul otto (Deltager)
  • Cordes, Adam (Deltager)
  • Nationalmuseet, København
  • Danmarks Oldtid, Nationalmuseet
Se relationer på Aarhus Universitet


The NeoDairy project explores the introduction of a cattle-based agriculture and dairy exploitation in South Scandinavia and its implications for gaining a new understanding of the transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agrarian society during the first half of the fourth millennium BC. The majority of the Early Neolithic sites dated from 4000 to 3500 cal BC do not contain any faunal remains, as they are located on sandy soils, thus resulting in poor preservation of organic finds. Consequently it is difficult to document the agrarian practices associated with either meat or dairy exploitation of domesticated cattle based on their age and slaughter patterns. The aim of this project is to document the appearance of a dairy economy by making a series of lipid analysis of funnel beaker pottery, thus making these previously invisible evidences visible. These changes in the Neolithic subsistence strategies resulted in the widespread dissemination of dairy economies globally and as a consequence also transformed human DNA with the emergence of Lactase Persistence particularly concentrated in Northern Europe. The results from the lipid analysis can together with social learning theories and establishing of agrarian communities of practices be used to document how, where and when a cattle-based dairy production initially appeared by investigating the following aspects:
- Identifying the operational chain of dairy production and the learning processes behind them through experimental practices
- Making replicas of funnel beakers, where the food crusts can be investigated with lipid analysis and compared with studies from the Neolithic pottery
- Detecting where milk and other food lipids appeared on different early Neolithic sites and how the dairy technology spread in South Scandinavia

The project is highly innovative in several ways, because it combines practical experiments of dairy production with social learning theories within the discussion of the transition from a hunter-gatherer society towards the emergence of an agrarian one. The integration of these social theories makes it possible to investigate how complex it would have been for the indigenous hunter-gatherers to learn the agrarian dairy production and which processes that include, which then can contribute to a more nuanced picture of who were the primary carriers of agrarian practices and technologies.
Kort titelNeoDairy
Effektiv start/slut dato01/07/201830/06/2021




ID: 201383919