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20 August 2014
Finland's love of milk dates back to the Stone Age

Evidence has been found to prove that animal domestication occurred in one of the earth's harshest environments much earlier than previously thought. A combined team from the Universities of Bristol (England) and Helsinki (Finland) have been examining examples of Corded Ware pottery found in the northern parts of Finland.
     The pieces examined were cooking pots dated at 3,900 to 3,300 BCE and also approx. 2,500 BCE. Astonishingly the pots from 2,500 BCE contained traces of milk fats. This proved that the inhabitants at that time, despite a climate where it can snow for up to four months of the year, had domesticated animals.
     This evidence is in line with research in other, milder, climates to mark the transition from hunter/fisher culture. The Team Leader, Dr Lucy Cramp, from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bristol University, is quoted as saying "This is remarkable evidence which proves that four and a half thousand years ago Stone age people must have been foddering and sheltering domesticated animals over harsh winters, in conditions that even nowadays we would find challenging".
     Her colleague, Dr Volker Heel, went on to add "Our results show a clear link between an incoming pre-historic population, milk drinking and the ability to digest milk in adulthood, still visible in the genetic distribution of modern Finland, which remains one ogf the highest consumers of dairy products in the world".

Edited from ScienceDaily (29 July 2014)

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