Department of ethnology, Institute of classical archaelogy and Czech Institute of Egyptology invite for a lecture of Prof. Randi Haaland: Mothers’ milk, beer and early pottery making: On the use ethnographic observations for interpretation of the role of women in culture-historical developments in Africa.
African pottery fragments (10.000 BCE) indicate that pots were used for plant processing. It is suggested these plants were boiled to make gruel and beer. These items have constituted the staple food in savanna regions in Africa (and parts of Asia) until recent times. Based on insights drawn from ethnographic material the paper reflects on archaeological material with reference to beer, particularly the importance of beer in the transition from breast-feeding to solid food. Beer with its sweet-sour taste would be quite palatable for infants. This importance is reflected in the common metaphoric association of beer with mother’s milk. Women`s role in these activities are underlined.