Did the ancient Africans milk cows?

From Thomas H. Maugh II, in the Los Angeles Times:

“Residues of milk fat on pottery indicate that Africans in what is now the Sahara desert were milking cows and processing the milk into cheese, yogurt and other products 7,000 years ago, European researchers reported Thursday. Ancient rock art throughout the region shows herds of cattle and even people milking them, but dating the art has been a problem. The new evidence provides the first reliable date for how long the practice of dairying has been carried out in the region.

The new data were reported in the journal Nature by a team headed by chemist Richard P. Evershed of the University of Bristol in England. They extracted organic molecules known to be present in milk and used radiocarbon dating to determine their age. His team had previously used the technique to date dairying to 9,000 years ago in the Near East, to 8,000 years ago in eastern Europe and to 6,000 years ago in Britain.

About 10,000 years ago, the Sahara was a wetter, greener place. Hunter-gatherers living in the area lived part time in settlements, used pottery, hunted wild game and collected wild cereal grains. As the region began to dry out, the early inhabitants were forced to adopt a more nomadic lifestyle and cattle herding became a more important part of their lifestyle….”

Read more in the L.A. Times.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Did the ancient Africans milk cows?

  1. nothing but surmise upon surmise … but what’s this at the very end of the article ?! … mention of the genome of the people who were a’dairying 1000s of years ago? How did that get in? … such is VERBOTTEN! on this website … ah, I stand corrected ; racial characteristics are only verbotten when I present the converse of the researchers’ conclusion : when I say that the ability to digest raw milk into adulthood, arising from the way our God programmed our DNA, is why the white race prospers at agriculture. Jeepers … what if it’s true!!

  2. Bill Anderson

    Thanks Michael (and team) for this article!

    Anthropology is always an interested subject (except when it it is mis-used for racist ends). Learning about the history of dairying is a very fascinating subject for me.

  3. thebovine

    And here I was thinking that this story helped support the case that raw milk could be good for many different “peoples”.

  4. Gordon S Watson

    no, the story with the photo evidences support for the Biblical report of Jacob’s cattle being spotted and ringstraked … but by god we sure won’t mention that on this forum, lest people start to think for demselves about the veracity of the Bible

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