The Neanderthals
Representational picture Reuters

Earlier scientists found that dairy products were part of the major food items used in ancient times. Recently archaeologists have detected a vessel, most likely a bottle which was used to feed infants, almost thousands of years ago.

This discovery reveals that the concept of feeding bottle is not modern, as the ancient people also used such containers to feed their children animal milk. It should be mentioned such finding has opened a new door for the researchers to look into the ancient times to know how and what the infants were fed in prehistoric times.

The team of archaeologists said on Wednesday, September 25, that these ancient ceramic containers left traces of animal milk, most probably cows, sheep and goats. It should be mentioned that there were three such vessels which were discovered from a grave of a child in Germany.

As per the recent study, these containers were made between 2,800 and 3,200 years ago during the Bronze Age, while some of these newly discovered vessels dating as far back as 7,000 years ago to the Neolithic era, were found from different locations.

nature.com
Nature.com

The lead author of this study, archaeologist Julie Dunne from the University of Bristol in Britain stated that the current finding has provided evidence of what infants used to consume in ancient period.

The archaeologists find these containers little enough to fit into a baby's hand that will serve as a milk bottle, with a narrow spout from where a baby can easily suckle liquid.

When the researchers examined three objects, they found that those were somewhat plain, while others showed lively shapes such as animal heads with long ears or horns as well as human look-like feet.

As per the study's co-author, archaeologist Katharina Rebay-Salisbury at the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology of the Austrian Academy, "they testify to the creativity and playfulness we often forget to attribute to our ancestors."

"I find them incredibly cute. And prehistoric people may have thought so, too – they would certainly have a dual function of entertaining the children just like modern stuffed animals," the archaeologist added.

In addition, Rebay-Salisbury mentioned that life at that time was very difficult, as many people were living in unhygienic conditions, experiencing famine and disease as well as facing low life expectancy. The archaeologist added that during the Bronze and Iron Age in Europe, perhaps about a third of all infants died before their first birthday, while only about half of children reached adulthood.

This study was published in the journal Nature.

It should be mentioned that earlier a group of researchers found that ancient Mongolians used to have milk from cow and sheep, even though they could not digest lactose. This discovery was made after the team analyzed ancient dental plaque.

These findings reiterate that foodstuffs that were used to either feed or wean prehistoric infants confirms the importance of milk from domesticated animals among these early communities, and provides information on the infant-feeding behavior practised by prehistoric human groups.

nature.com
Nature.com