Lactase persistence and the early Cultural History of Europe  
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Römisch-Germanischen KommissionFounded by the German Archaeology Institute in 1902, the Roman Germanic Commission is accommodated in a building erected near the Palmengarten by the city of Frankfurt. The Commission’s task is to undertake research on prehistory and early history of Old Europe from the earliest periods to the Middle Ages. In the course of this, it works closely with universities, museums and monument organizations and maintains active contacts with corresponding international research institutes. The Ingolstadt branch, set up in 1981, is responsible for research in Manching and in middle Bavaria during the Roman period

ESR2 The material culture involved in dairying
Prof. Lüth

ESR2 will examine the material culture involved in the production, processing and consumption of dairy products, focusing on the ceramic evidence. A range of ceramic artefacts have been associated with dairying (e.g. Fig. 2) although there has been no systematic study of their frequency or distribution. These include,
i) perforated vessels from central (LBK) and northern (TRB) European Neolithic contexts which are thought to have been used for processing of fresh milk into lower-lactose products (e.g. Bogucki, 1984, Ox. J. Arch. 3: 15).
ii) new forms vessels (Fig. 2) that appear across Europe in the Copper/Bronze Age which have been associated with a greater emphasis on milk consumption during this period (Sherratt 1981, In: Hodder et al. (eds). Patterns of the Past: Studies in honour of David Clarke: 261). A range of other ceramic assemblages will also be examined to identify containers that may have been associated with the processing and consumption of dairy produce.
The ESRwill examine the ceramic evidence from specific sites identified by the ER1 . These data will be evaluated against the faunal evidence and human isotopic evidence for dairying at those sites (ESR1, ESR10). Ceramics identified by ESR2 will be sent to the residue analysis cluster (ESR7, ESR8 , ESR9 ) to provide direct evidence of their use. By combining organic residue analysis data with ceramic functional characteristics and use-alteration characteristics, a greater understanding of the “mode of ceramic use” will be achieved. This approach may be particularly significant for identifying the production lower lactose dairy foods, such as yoghurts, butters and cheeses, with obvious relevancy for other aspects of the ITN aimed at determining LP.


Dr. Friedrich LüthDr Friedrich Lüth is Director of the Institute, and is a representative for the Conference of German cultural ministers for negotiations on the UNESCO Charta for the protection of under water archaeology, as well as for the Verband der Landesarchäologen (for European affairs). He advises the European Council on archaeological heritage management. He is a founding member of the Europeae Archaeologiae Consilium. His research interests focus on the area of the Ost See, especially the Northern European Meso- and Neolithic between 6000 and 4000 BC. He is involved in several international projects, e.g. MACHU (MAnaging Cultural Heritage Underwater; funded by the EU); SINCOS (Sinking Coasts: Geosphere, Climate and Anthroposphere of the Holo-cene Southern Baltic Sea, funded by the German Research Council).


The Commission has a well equipped library, with a collection concentrated on prehistoric and early historic archaeology of Europe. The extensive archives of the Commission contain excavation records, and acts and correspondence of the Reichs-Limeskommission among other things, i.e. a number of academic estates of important scholars.


1. Tauchgang in die Vergangenheit : Unterwasserarchäologie in Nord- und Ostsee, Friedrich Lüth, Thijs J. Maarleveld und Flemming Rieck(eds) Stuttgart : Theiss, Archäologie in Deutschland. Sonderheft ; 2004.

2. Die DFG-Forschergruppe Sinking Coasts (SINCOS). In: Neue Forschungen zur Steinzeit im südlichen Ostseegebiet. Bodendenk­malpflege in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Jahrbuch 52, 2004, p. 35.

3. The Baltic Sea – A Model Ocean to Study Interrelations of Geosphere, Ecosphere, and Anthroposhere in the Coastal Zone. J. Coast. Res. 21, 2005, 441