Lipid Analysis

Impressed and grooved ware sherds found at Melbourne excavations have been analysed.

Some of the impressed and grooved ware sherds we found in our excavations at Melbourne near Biggar have been analysed by Anna J. Mukherjee of Bristol University. She discovered that the organic residues she retrieved from the sherds contained high levels of ruminant dairy lipid, that is, cow’s milk fat. Thus these 4500 years old sherds tell us that dairy produce was part of the farming lifestyle of the Late Neolithic settlers there.

Amazingly, it is possible to distinguish between animal body fat and dairy fat and to recognise the fats from different animal species.