Defining pottery use and animal management at the Neolithic site of Bylany (Czech Republic)

Veronika Matlova, Melanie Roffet-Salque, Ivan Pavlu, Jan Kyselka, Ivona Sedlarova, Vladimir Filip, Richard Evershed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
395 Downloads (Pure)


Archaeological potsherds have become a valuable source of information about diet and the wider economies of ancient communities, especially through the analysis of lipids preserved in the microporous matrix of the ceramic vessels. This study investigated >160 potsherds recovered from settlement phase 19 dated to 5160-5100 cal. BC from the Neolithic site of Bylany, one of the largest Linearbandkeramik (LBK) settlement in Central Europe. The aim was to investigate vessel use and animal management at the site and explore variations in organic residue composition and thus human activity at the household level. Pottery technology was also studied revealing a predominance of micro- and mesopores, indicating an advanced level of pottery production technology. More than 70% of the analysed potsherds yielded appreciable amounts of lipids dominated by C16:0 and C18:0 fatty acids, with compound-specific carbon isotope compositions indicating origins predominantly from ruminant and non-ruminant animal fats. Detection of very long fatty acids, fatty alcohols and traces of terpene compounds originating from plants suggested a combination of meat- and plant-based diet components and specialised use of some vessels. However, evidence of the use of vessels for milk collection or processing was not detectable at Bylany, at least during the settlement phase investigated herein.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-274
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Early online date7 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017


  • LBK pottery
  • Organic residue analysis
  • Gas chromatography
  • Fatty acids
  • Stable carbon isotope analysis
  • Vessel use
  • Porosity


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