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Dairying Pioneers: Milk ran deep in prehistoric England

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10:30am, January 29, 2003

Farmers who settled in England around 6,000 years ago literally milked cattle and other grazing animals for all they were worth. A chemical analysis of broken pots found at 14 ancient British sites confirms archaeological evidence suggesting that early farmers raised livestock for dairy products as well as for meat.

The new study, directed by chemist Richard P. Evershed of the University of Bristol in England, employed a recently developed mass spectrometric technique to identify milk fats on pots from the ancient sites, which range from about 1,500 to 6,000 years old.

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