The researchers studied dairy processing practices in the Late Neolithic using lipid and proteomic analysis.
They were able to identify organic remains in ceramic vessels with a high content of cottage cheese, indicating the production of cheese, which used several types of dairy products.
In Neolithic Europe, lactose intolerance was common until the Late Bronze Age, when a genetic mutation appeared that allowed adults to produce lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in the body.
Despite the frequent occurrence of lactose intolerance during this period, there is archaeological evidence that dairy products were consumed in the Neolithic, such as animal bones with signs of slaughter typical of dairy herds, milk lipids in ceramic vessels, and milk proteins in ancient tartar or plaque.
The results of the study indicate that early farmers reduced the lactose content of cow, sheep, or goat milk by turning it into dairy products such as cheese or yogurt.
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