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First lipid residue analysis of Early Neolithic pottery from Swifterbant (the Netherlands, ca. 4300–4000 BC)

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JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
DateSubmitted - 3 Dec 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Apr 2020
DatePublished (current) - 26 Apr 2020
Original languageEnglish


This paper focuses on the functional analysis of Swifterbant pottery from North-western Europe (ca. 4300–4000 BC) through lipid residue analysis. The main aim is to understand the role of pottery in terms of its relation to hunter-fisher-gatherer lifestyle, and the change in available food resources brought about by the arrival of domesticated animal and plant products. We conducted lipid residue analysis of 62 samples from three Swifterbant sites S2, S3 and S4. A combined approach using both GC-MS and GC-C-IRMS of residues absorbed into the ceramic was employed to identify their context. Our results demonstrate that Swifterbant ceramics were used exclusively for processing aquatic resources. We also found no evidence of inter-site variation in the use of pottery or variation based on both typological and technological features of the pottery. We found no evidence for any domesticated resources despite their presence in the faunal and botanical assemblages.

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© 2020 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • NW Europe, Hunter-fisher-gatherers, Early pottery use, lipid residue analysis, Swifterbant culture

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