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School of Chemistry Research published in Nature

12 November 2015

Early farmers exploited beehive products at least 8,500 years ago, according to new Research from the Organic Geochemistry Unit in the School of Chemistry.

The paper bring together over 20 years of research led by Professor Richard Evershed.  Co-authors of the paper include archaeologists involved in the large scale investigation of sites across Europe, the Near East and Northern Africa.

Dr Mélanie Roffet-Salque, lead author of the paper, said: “The most obvious reason for exploiting the honeybee would be for honey, as this would have been a rare sweetener for prehistoric people. However, beeswax could have been used in its own right  for various technological, ritual, cosmetic and medicinal purposes, for example, to waterproof porous ceramic vessels.”

The article was also featured on the front cover of the publication. 

Further information

Paper

‘Widespread Exploitation of the Honeybee by Early Neolithic Farmers’ by Roffet-Salque et al in Nature

University of Bristol Press Release

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