Four millennia of dairy surplus and deposition revealed through compound-specific stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating of Irish bog butters

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Title: Four millennia of dairy surplus and deposition revealed through compound-specific stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating of Irish bog butters
Other Titles: Compound‐specific stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating of Irish bog butters reveal four millennia of dairy surplus and deposition
Authors: Smyth, JessicaBerstan, RobertCasanova, Emmanuelleet al.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/10710
Date: 14-Mar-2019
Online since: 2019-05-29T10:40:50Z
Abstract: Bog butters are large white or yellow waxy deposits regularly discovered within the peat bogs of Ireland and Scotland. They represent an extraordinary survival of prehistoric and later agricultural products, comprising the largest deposits of fat found anywhere in nature. Often found in wooden containers or wrapped in animal bladders, they are considered to have been buried intentionally by past farming communities. While previous analysis has determined that Irish bog butters derive from animal fat, their precise characterisation could not be achieved due to diagenetic compositional alterations during burial. Via compound‐specific stable isotope analysis, we provide the first conclusive evidence of a dairy fat origin for the Irish bog butter tradition, which differs from bog butter traditions observed elsewhere. Our research also reveals a remarkably long‐lived tradition of deposition and possible curation spanning at least 3500 years, from the Early Bronze Age (c. 1700 BC) to the 17th century AD. This is conclusively established via an extensive suite of both bulk and compound‐specific radiocarbon dates.
Funding Details: European Research Council
metadata.dc.description.othersponsorship: Natural Environment Research Council
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Nature
Journal: Scientific Reports
Volume: 9
Copyright (published version): 2019 Springer
Keywords: Bog buttersPeat bogsIrelandScotlandAnimal fat
DOI: 10.1038/s41598‐019‐40975‐y
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Archaeology Research Collection

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