MPI-SHH Project Members

Project Funding

This research is funded by the Max Planck Society.

Uncovering Dietary Practices through the Proteomic Analysis of Ceramics

Fragments  of  ceramic  vessels  litter  the  archaeological  record  as one  of  the  main  surviving  remnants  of  past  food  preparation  and consumption. In this project, we are applying recent advances in ancient protein analysis to explore the culinary practices of a diverse array of ancient populations.
<p>Pottery sherd dating from prehistoric Anatolia prior to biomolecular analysis.</p> Zoom Image

Pottery sherd dating from prehistoric Anatolia prior to biomolecular analysis.

Fragments of ceramic vessels litter the archaeological record as one of the main surviving remnants of past food preparation and consumption. Organic residue analysis has been widely applied to understand the contents and use of ceramic vessels, with particular focus on the recovery of lipids. However, recent approaches using ancient protein analysis from dental calculus and well-preserved food remains have revealed the potential of this approach for identifying ancient foodstuffs, with a high degree of species and tissue-specificity. In this project, we are applying these recent advances to ceramics, in order to explore the culinary practices of a diverse array of ancient populations. Specifically, we are investigating the range and nature of foodstuffs detectable with ancient protein analysis, as well as comparing this approach with established methodologies.

<p>Extraction of proteins from food residues on ceramics.</p> Zoom Image

Extraction of proteins from food residues on ceramics.

Publications

Hendy J (2016). Archaeological Detection. In Oxford Companion to Cheese. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199330881

Hendy J, Bickle P, Copper M, Charlton S. (2016) Neolithic cheese making: experimental archaeology and public engagement with replica vessels. PAST: The Newsletter of the Prehistoric Society. Nov. 2016

Warinner C, Hendy J, Speller C, Cappellini E, Fischer R, Trachsel C, Arneborg J, Lynnerup N, Craig OE, Swallow DM, Fotakis A, Christensen RJ, Olsen J, Liebert A, Montalva N, Fiddyment S, Mackie M, Canci A, Bouwman A, Rühli F, Gilbert MTP, Collins MJ* (2014) Direct Evidence of Milk Consumption from Ancient Human Dental Calculus. Scientific Reports 4, 7104. doi:10.1038/srep07104.

 

 
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