Milk and cheese

'The greater part of their food consists of milk, cheese and meat': so commented Julius Caesar about the

Celt-related Germanic tribes he encountered during his conquest of Gaul in the mid-first century BC.

Strabo remarks that the British Celts used milk but did not make cheese.

Milk could be obtained from cattle, sheep or goats. Sheep give a poor milk yield relative to that from goats, but goats are less easy to keep in a temperate climate and, since sheep were kept anyway for their wool, it is likely that they were milked as well.140 We know of an Insular Celtic festival, Imbolc, on the

1st of February, which celebrated the early spring lactation of ewes.— The high neonatal mortality rate for lambs evidenced at Danebury meant that the milk of the corralled and bereft ewes was available for human consumption.142

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