New Delhi : Food experts and researchers in Croatia have found proof of fermented dairy products including soft cheeses and yoghurts which date back to about 7,200 years.
"This pushes back cheese-making by 4,000 years," said Sarah B McClure, an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University in the US.
The traces of milk in pottery in Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is seen as early as 7,700 years ago, 500 years earlier than fermented products, according to the research published in the journal PLOS One.
Researchers analysed the populations in this area and found that the adults were lactose-intolerant, but the children remained able to consume milk comfortably up to the age of ten.
"This is the earliest documented lipid residue evidence for fermented dairy in the Mediterranean region, and among the earliest documented anywhere to date," said McClure. "Cheese production is important enough that people are making new types of kitchenware We are seeing that cultural shift," added McClure
The pottery with the evidences of only meat, fish and some milk residue indicates the Early Neolithic period and the vessels were termed as "Impressed Ware"
About 500 years later, in the Middle Neolithic, another pottery style using different technology became famous. The so-called Danilo pottery includes plates and bowls.
Researchers found types of pottery, some of which contained milk residue, while other contained animal fats and fresh water fish residue.