Multiple analytical techniques were combined to achieve a detailed characterization of organic residues in different typologies of funerary pottery, which were found at two separate archeological sites in the Campania Region (Italy) and both dated back to the first millennium BC. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of lipids provided inconclusive results. The attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectra of encrustation on two glazed bowls of the 3rd to 4th century BC were comparable to those of fresh bone, revealing the presence of hydroxyapatite and proteins, which were identified as bovine collagen chains by liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)-based proteomics. This finding confirmed that Italic populations used to inhume the dead along with votive meat offerings. Proteomics was decisive for identifying bovine milk in an unusually shaped amphora unearthed from a grave that belonged to a woman at the necropolis of the Greek colony in Cuma (7th century BC). Peptidomic analysis demonstrated that the genetic variant A1 of β-casein was already present in the southern Mediterranean area at least 2500 years ago. Overall, these results depict an agropastoral system of Italic populations at the age of Magna Graecia based on a significant role of domesticated cattle.
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