, Volume 24, Issue 2-3, pp 117-130,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 01 Jun 2011

The Secondary Products Revolution: Empirical Evidence and its Current Zooarchaeological Critique


Andrew Sherratt is perhaps best known for the concept of a ‘Secondary Products Revolution’, which stressed that the ‘primary’ pattern of exploiting domesticated animals for meat in the Early Neolithic was followed by a more diversified exploitation of secondary applications and products such as milk, wool, textiles, and traction. This paper discusses how changes in animal exploitation in the European Neolithic, including secondary uses and products, can be inferred from faunal remains. It also challenges a meat-based, livestock-rearing system for early farmers and stresses the idiosyncratic nature of the introduction of secondary products in particular areas of Anatolia and Europe.