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Hunter-Gatherers May Have Traded With Early Farmers for Pigs

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

KIEL, GERMANY—An analysis of pig bones from the site of Ertebølle in northern Germany shows that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers owned pigs about 500 years earlier than previously thought. The pigs had both European and Near Eastern ancestry, suggesting that they were domesticated pigs brought to Europe by migrating Neolithic farmers. “Mesolithic hunter-gatherers definitely had dogs, but they did not practice agriculture and did not have pigs, sheep, goats or cows, all of which were introduced to Europe with incoming farmers [in] about 6000 B.C.,” said Ben Krause-Kyora of Christian-Albrechts University. The two groups, which occasionally exchanged artifacts, may also have traded pigs.