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‘Milk Jugs’ and Other Myths of the Copper Age of Central Europe’

  • Oliver E. Craig (a1), John Chapman (a2), András Figler (a3), Pál Patay (a4), Gillian Taylor (a1) and Matthew J. Collins (a5)...

Abstract

Ceramics were subjected to organic residue analysis from two collections: a series of middle Copper Age (Bodrogkeresztúr) vessels hitherto known as ‘milk jugs’, curated in the Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, Budapest, and a collection of early Baden (Boleráz) vessels from the recently discovered settlement of Gyo”r-Szabadrét-domb, in western Hungary. The aim of the analyses was to establish whether or not these vessels, often associated with milk based on typological criteria, were actually used to process, store or serve dairy products. The results of the analyses revealed that no dairy products could be securely identified in the so-called ‘milk jugs’. Nevertheless dairy products were identified in other vessel types.

Résumé

Une analyse de résidus organiques fut effectuée sur les ceramiques de deux séries, à savoir une collection de récipients de l'âge du cuivre moyen (Bodrogkeresztùr), jusqu'ici connus sous le nom de «pots de lait» et conservés au musée Magyar Nemzeti de Budapest ainsi qu'une collection de récipients du début de la période de Baden (Boleràz) et provenant du village récemment découvert de Győr-Szabadrét-domb, en Hongrie occidentale. Le but de cette analyse est de savoir si oui ou non ces vases, qui, d'après leurs caractères typologiques sont souvent associés au lait, étaient effectivement utilisés pour traiter, conserver ou servir des produits laitiers. Les résultats de l'analyse montrèrent qu'aucun produit laitier n'a pu être identifié avec certitude dans les soi-disant «pots de lait». Néanmoins, des produits laitiers furent reconnus dans d'autres types de récipients.

Zusammenfassung

Die keramischen Gefäße zweier Sammlungen wurden einer Analyse organischer Rückstände unterzogen. Dabei handelte es sich um eine Serie mittelkupferzeitlicher (Bodrogkeresztúr) Gefäße, die bislang unter dem Begriff “Milchkrüge” bekannt geworden sind, aus den Beständen des Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum Budapest sowie eine Kollektion von Behältnissen der frühen Badener Kultur (Boleráz) aus der kürzlich entdeckten Siedlung von Győr-Szabadrét-domb in Westungarn. Das Ziel der Analysen war, festzustellen, ob diese Gefäße, die oft aufgrund typologischer Kriterien mit Milch in Verbindung gebracht werden, tatsächlich für die Herstellung, Lagerung oder den Ausschank von Milchprodukten genutzt wurden. Die Ergebnisse der Analysen zeigten, dass sich Milcherzeugnisse nicht mit Sicherheit in den sogenannten “Milchkannen” identifizieren ließen. Dennoch wurden Milchprodukte in anderen Gefäßtypen nachgewiesen.

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