Data on fatty acids extracted from the pottery of the first farmers in Central Europe

Published: 31 January 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/dfbssz47mp.1


Sedentary lifestyle, agriculture and production of ceramic vessels are just a few aspects connected with the transition to farming, which in Central Europe happened around 5500 calBC. The first farming communities are associated with the Linear Pottery culture (Linearbandkeramik, further known as the LBK), which occupied large parts of Europe. The subsistence patterns of these communities are usually based on the study of archaeozoological or archaeobotanical material. However, they are not found in large quantities compared to abundant pottery vessels. Recent research has demonstrated that ceramic vessels may contain lipids that can inform the type of food cooked, served or stored inside the vessels. The presented dataset brings dietary information on the LBK based on fatty acid analysis extracted from the pottery. The research focused on several questions: 1) to what extent the natural environment affected the diet; 2) whether the house size affected the diet; 3) whether the volume of the vessels and vessel types affected the cooked/served/stored food. Samples were taken from four different settlements in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, each lying in a different environment (lowland, upland, foothill and basin): Těšetice-Kyjovice, Lechovice, Otrokovice-Kvítkovice and Zlín-Malenovice, which are contemporary from the chronological point of view. The research contributes to understanding the variability of the first farmers' diet, the households' social-economic impact, and the function of pottery during food processing.


Steps to reproduce

Sites were excavated through standard archaeological methods. Pottery samples were taken from the long pits along the long sides of a house or archaeological contexts in the vicinity of the house. When selecting the pottery, house size was taken into account. Pottery vessels represent various vessel shapes and sizes. They were drawn and described while recording the preserved wall thickness (average wall thickness) and weight. Data on fatty acids were acquired from each vessel. When the whole cross-section of the vessel was available, a solid material of 16-50 mg was taken both from the vessel's rim interior (marked "R" as a reference sample), vessel base (marked "V" as a primary sample) or middle part when the rim and base were missing (marked "M"). When a vessel fragment was available, a single solid sample of 16-50 mg was taken from the interior of that fragment. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (CG-MS) was used to determine the compounds through a procedure by Kučera et al. (2019). Measurements were performed by an Agilent 7010 Triple Quadrupole GC/MS and evaluated in MassHunter Workstation 10.1, while NIST 14 library was used. The data on the vessel volume was calculated in Blender 3.4.1 and is based on the pottery drawings. Drawings needed to be scaled first; after that, a mesh was constructed in the vessel's interior. The upper and bottom part of the mesh was filled, and volume was calculated through the 3D print toolbar. Interior rim diameter and interior vessel height were calculated in Blender using a measuring tool. House size was acquired in two ways. When original measurement data were available, house length and width were determined in QGIS 3.28 using a measuring tool. When no original data was available, the house size (length and width) was determined in Blender 3.4.1. First, the site plan needed to be scaled and the house dimensions were calculated using a measuring tool. After specifying the dimensions, the area of the house was equal to the product of its length and width. Bibliography L. Kučera, J. Peška, P. Fojtík, P. Barták, P. Kučerová, P. Bednář, First direct evidence of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) in Central Europe. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11 (2019) 4221–4227.


Masarykova univerzita, Univerzita Palackeho v Olomouci


Archeology, Fatty Acid, Diet, Neolithic Period, Pottery, Human Settlement


Masarykova Univerzita


Grantová Agentura České Republiky