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I examined early dairying practices on the Great Hungarian Plain during the Neolithic and Copper Age (6000-3000 cal. B.C.) to identify evidence for the intensification of animal product use. The results demonstrate how the pattern of shifting dairying intensification relates to changes in economic complexity among societies throughout southeastern Europe. Other projects have documented general trends of settlement nucleation and agricultural intensification throughout the Neolithic period, but it remains unclear why this intensification occurred or why these trends in settlement organization and distribution reversed at the end of the period. Understanding the role of animals and animal products in this intensification is crucial to understanding how social stratification developed in this region. This research is focused on the process of agricultural intensification in early village societies and the impact of resource intensification on the development of more complex societies. I investigated intensification by looking at how early farming groups used animal products (dairy products in particular) and how their use of these products changed through time. I did this by identifying trace residues of various animal fat types in a sample of ceramic vessels using gas chromatography analysis. My research on early agricultural villages from Hungary examines the earliest beginnings of Western society. The question of how societies developed from early villages into more complex forms is a question central to understanding the human condition. The presence of animal adipose and dairy fat was identified directly in ceramic vessels using residue analysis. Residues from past use have been shown to remain in unglazed ceramic vessels long after the vessel falls out of use and is deposited into the archaeological record. In all, 340 samples were collected from 10 Neolithic and Copper Age sites. At least 50 samples were collected from each time period. After extracting the residues from each ceramic sherd using methods based on those described in Copley et al. (2003), each sample was analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to determine if animal fat was present. Several samples that contained animal fat residue were tested further to determine the type of animal fat present. The second round of testing differentiated among ruminant dairy fat, ruminant adipose fat, and porcine adipose fat using compound-specific isotopic analysis.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Anthropology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
William A. Parkinson, Professor Directing Dissertation; Glen Doran, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; William Cooper, University Representative; Daniel Pullen, Committee Member; Lynne Schepartz, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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