These odd little pots tell a story about a revolution in human biology that occurred over 5000 years ago.
They turn out to have been milk bottles for feeding infants. That’s a reasonable inference about function from shape, but now also it’s been determined by isolating lipids still adhering to the inner surface, showing that they contained goat or cow milk. These came from cultures that had domesticated milk-giving animals, and they were using them to supplement feeding their children. Probably the adults as well, since this would have been a time when lactose tolerance was evolving.
Another effect of this change in diet: the pots were extracted from children’s graves. With new nutritional sources came exposure to new pathogens. There is evidence that these pots were heated, cooking some of the lipids into the ceramic, which makes me wonder if there wasn’t also some accidental pasteurization going on…although it’s also likely they would have just squirted fresh warm milk straight from the teat into these pots.
(No, she isn’t living on a diet of Dr Pepper, she’s just playing with an empty can under parental supervision.)