Publish Date: 23.11.2015

Category: News from the University

Nature, a highly regarded international scientific journal, on 12 November published the article "Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers", written by Dr Mélanie Roffet-Salque from the University of Bristol with several co-authors. These include Full Professor Dr Mihael Budja from the Archaeology Department of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana and Dr Lucija Šoberl who graduated in archaeology from this same department. 

The aforementioned study is the first presentation of collected data on the presence of beeswax on crockery manufactured and used by Europe’s earliest farmers. The researchers recognised the use of beeswax based on the typical combination of lipids and chemical compounds preserved on the potsherds. The analysis included over 6000 vessels from over 150 archaeological sites from around Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, including the Slovenian locations of Ajdovska jama, Mala Triglavca and Moverna vas. The research shows that humans have been using beeswax without interruption since at least the 7th millennium BCE onward. Collection of beeswax was intended for various technological and cultural purposes, honey was used as a sweetener, and earthenware was lined with wax in order to improve the waterproofing of the vessels. 

The full article is available here.