Lab talk – Prof. Haskel Greenfield and “Secondary Products Revolution” in the Balkans

Today, we had one of the lab talks at Safi lab at Bar-Ilan University, and as always, we learnt some very intersting things.

Our speaker today was Prof. Haskel Greenfield, from University of Manitoba (and an Annual Professor at the Albright Institute) who gave a talk on “The secondary products revolution in the old world: A zoarchaeological perspective from the Balkans”.

In his talk, Haskel discussed the concept of the “secondary products revolution” – the well-known idea professed by the late Andrew Sherratt (Oxford) on the intensification of the utilization of secondary animal products (milk, wool, traction) during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age in the Ancient Near East, and the deep effect that it had on the development of Near Eastern cultures. This then spread to other cultures, such as in Europe.

Haskel pointed out that although this idea was of much interest and importance, little work had been done to test it based on the actual zoological remains.

He then described the work that he had conducted in the Balkans in which he studied, and managed to identify, distinct developments in the faunal remains from Neolithic, Eneolithic and Bronze Age sites, which indicate the very processes that were theorized by Sherratt.

All told, it was a very interesting, enlightening and “not our regular subject” talk, and I believe we all learnt a lot from it. Thanks Haskel!

After the talk, I showed some of the finds from Tell es-Safi/Gath to Haskel, his wife Tina (who is also an archaeozoologist), and to Arkadiusz Marciniak, who is a professor of archaeology from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan Poland (and who directs the Polish excavation team at Catal Huyuk, Turkey), who is a fellow at the Albright Institute for the next few months.


2 thoughts on “Lab talk – Prof. Haskel Greenfield and “Secondary Products Revolution” in the Balkans

  1. Haskel Greenfield

    Hi. i have been upgrading my analyses of my work in the Balkans in light of new studies on ceramic lipids that have recently appeared. They clearly demonstrate the presence of milking in the Neolithic. As a result, the large-scale changes in the zooarchaeological record evident from the beginning of the Chalcolithic are probably the result of shifts in exploitation strategies to include traction and wool production.


  2. Pingback: Anthropologist Haskel Greenfield on Excavating Gath | Remnant of Giants

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