The Dereivka site of the North-Pontic forest-steppe has been widely investigated because of its potential as a centre for horse domestication (Levine, 1990; Telegin, 1986). Despite the significant archaeological evidence available, Dereivka is considered a contradictory and complex site (Rassamakin, 1999: 3) due to a range of challenges connected with reconciling the various lines of available archaeological evidence. Consequently, a generally acceptable subsistence economic model has still to be developed, with contrasting theories remaining unresolved. This paper presents new results of organic residues analyses from the site. Forty potsherds were submitted to biomolecular and stable carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses and the results discussed in relation to previously published zooarchaeological evidence (Bibikova, 1986; Levine, 1999; Kaiser, 2010). The findings offer a further perspective on the overall subsistence economic strategies of the community, particularly in relation to the exploitation of the horse. Significantly, the biomolecular and stable carbon isotope results confirmed that Dereivka community consumed horse products predominantly, together with smaller proportions of ruminant and non-ruminant products. Interestingly, although ruminant adipose fats were recovered from some vessels, evidence of ruminant dairy product exploitation was insignificant, with only one residue displaying a possible ruminant dairy fat origin. Hydrogen isotope analysis of lipids was applied to investigate equine milk processing in pots (Outram et al., 2009) but these analyses did not offer significant new insights.
- Horse domestication
- fatty acids
- compound-specific stable isotope analyses