Tech UPTechnologyThe Scots already had cereals with milk in the...

The Scots already had cereals with milk in the Neolithic

It seems that the Scots already had porridge in Neolithic times, about 5,500 years ago. The discovery of distinctive grain and dairy molecules on pottery shards dating to early Neolithic Britain reveals interesting aspects of the diet of the time.

One of the surprises that the researchers have had, whose study has been published in Nature Communications , is that the traces of cereal are wheat and not oats , which is the Scottish cereal par excellence. The finding shows that wheat played an important role in the diet of that area. Cereal farming is thought to have started in Britain around 6,000 years ago, but not much is known about what was grown or how widespread those crops were.

As for dairy products, archaeologists have long known that milk or its derivatives were an important part of the British diet in the Neolithic period , and evidence of this is preserved in pottery from the period. It is more complicated to find evidence of the consumption of plants, not because they were not present in the dishes of the people of the time, but because the traces are more difficult to detect after all the years that have passed.

The team of researchers, led by Professor Simon Hammann of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, subjected the pottery shards to gas chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry to see if they could find evidence of cereals. The tests show the presence of molecules distinctive to wheat and the absence of molecules associated with barley. The authors say this is the first evidence of grain processing in vessels anywhere other than Turkey .

Until now there was almost no evidence that wheat was grown on the Scottish islands at the time. In fact, this cereal was first planted in the Middle East , in a climate very different from the Scottish one and, although 4,000 years of selective cultivation surely gave rise to strains resistant to a climate much colder and wetter than that of the Middle East , everything has a limit. As if that were not enough, in those times the consumption of wheat was associated with the rich, since its production was lower compared to oats and barley.

Traces of wheat have been detected because the cereal was cooked in the pots whose fragments have been analyzed. This suggests that Neolithic people ate the cereal as porridge or porridge, not raw with milk. It may also be that they also ingested it in another way, but the traces, for the moment, have not been detected.

The 59 ceramic fragments used in the study come from crannongs , which were fortified islands that prehistoric people built artificially, with wooden foundations, in rivers and lakes in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The pottery is believed to be 5,600-5,300 years old. It would correspond to the oldest crannongs, a few centuries after the arrival in Britain of Neolithic technologies such as pottery, agriculture and the domestication of animals. Sixteen of the fifty-nine fragments retained distinctive cereal molecules, accompanied in eight cases by milk fat. Others featured plant molecules of uncertain origin, which the authors suggest could be nuts.

The ceramic fragments were found in the mud of the lakes. They probably ended up there shortly after use. The low-oxygen environment helped preserve plant debris on their surfaces, even though the molecules were often found in concentrations as low as a few parts per billion.


Referencia: Hammann, S., Bishop, R.R., Copper, M. et al. 2022. Neolithic culinary traditions revealed by cereal, milk and meat lipids in pottery from Scottish crannogs. Nature Communications. DOI:

When hyenas lived in the Arctic

These animals crossed from Asia to America through the Bering Bridge during the Ice Age.

This is how the light bulb was invented

History tells us that the famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison was the inventor of the light bulb, which is not true. Many searched for it and quite a few got it, but Edison was the one who turned that invention into a money-making machine.

We were able to start breeding animals 2000 years earlier than previously thought

This is demonstrated by remains of charred manure that are 13,000 years old.

Nanotyrannus: another species of T.rex?

New evidence indicates that the species is actually tyrannosaurs during their youth.

Tuskegee: The Most Infamous Experiment in History

In 1932, the venereal disease section of the Public Health Service created a study group whose objective was to monitor a group of African-Americans with syphilis, which became the longest study in the history of medicine: 40 years.