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Separating the curds from the whey: Why did we start making cheese?

Posted on 20 October 2017

York's Penny Bickle on how to make Neolithic cheese

Image © English Heritage

Dr Penny Bickle, a lecturer at the Department of Archaeology, has posted a blog for English Heritage about the process of Neolithic cheese-making—including a recipe for making your own Neolithic cheese at home.

In the UK, the vast majority of people consume some form of dairy as part of their everyday diet. Yet, it is only relatively recently in human evolutionary terms that we started to consume milk and dairy products, such as cheese. In Britain, we find milk fats preserved in pots from about 4000 BC, when farming arrived in the UK.

Dr Bickle suggests that there is good reason to think that milk and cheese may have been a special food in the Neolithic, rather than part of the everyday diet. It may also have held some symbolic significance, due to the knowledge required to transform milk into cheese, as well as the transformation process itself.

Read the full blog post on English Heritage's website here: