The onset of farming in the Near East ca. 12,000 years ago and its spread to mainland Europe completely reshaped the subsistence strategies of prehistoric communities. However, despite this profound shift towards domesticates, and away from hunting-fishing-gathering, detailed knowledge about this Neolithic trajectory in Central Europe remains fragmentary, including the possibility for a continued role of aquatic resources alongside livestock-keeping. Studies of faunal remains and the stable isotope make-up of human bone collagen provide insights into continued aquatic resource consumption in the Neolithic. In addition, evidence for aquatic product processing can be detected through the highly sensitive identification of specific chemical compounds trapped in pottery vessels during cooking. The contrasting picture already seen in Neolithic aquatic resource exploitation in the Atlantic archipelagos, the Baltic and Southeast Europe points to distinct ecological, demographic and cultural influences upon ancient dietary practices. A similar approach to Central Europe will fill a significant gap in our knowledge of the trajectory to farming in this crucial region.
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