Investigation of dairying in Mediterranean Iberian Prehistory (iDIP)

In iDIP, we investigate the nature of early dairying in eastern-southeastern Iberia, and test specific hypotheses from the Two-Step Milk Revolution model, which suggests that dairy processing and consumption patterns underwent a major shift between the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. Characterising milk whey consumption patterns in early Mediterranean Iberian farming populations is critical to our understanding of the foundations of western agriculture and the role of dairying at a pivotal moment in prehistory, the Neolithisation of Europe. By analysing when and where in eastern-southeastern Iberia dairy products first appear, it will be possible to directly test core hypotheses of the Two-Step Milk Revolution model and interrogate the dietary variables driving the evolution of human lactase persistence. We are carrying out organic residue analysis (ORA) from several vessel typologies to directly identify dairy lipids and palaeoproteomics on dental calculus samples targeting β-lactoglobulin (BLG) from key Iberian sites spanning from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

The data generated by iDIP will allow us to directly test and refine multiple hypotheses regarding the origins and spread of dairying during the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and the Bronze Age in Iberia, and attempt to inform on ongoing debates about the scale of dairying before the rise of genetic lactase persistence and the relative importance of Caprinae vs. Bovinae in early dairying economies.

Funded by

Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades through grants from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the Consellieria de Innovación, Universidades, Ciencia y Sociedad Digital (CIDIGENT).

Principal Investigator
  • Prof. Domingo Carlos Salazar García, Universitat de València
Co-Investigators & collaborators

Prof. Beatrice Demarchi (University of Turin), Dr Cynthianne Spiteri (University of Turin), Prof. Gabriel García Atiènzar (Universitat d’Alcant), Prof. Pau García Borja, (UNED), PREDOC Student.