Researchers from Durham and Aberdeen universities led an international group of paleontologists and anthropologist in the discovery of verifiable artifacts that show European hunter-gatherers had pigs as far back as 6,600 years ago and that they got the swine from former hunter-gatherer populations that had taken up farming and animal herding prior to moving into Europe. The research was reported in the Aug. 27, 2013, issue of the journal Nature Communications.
Any previous evidence that hunter-gatherers in Europe owned livestock has been circumstantial and unsubstantiated by artifacts. Anthropologists do have factual data that supports the idea that the earliest hunter-gatherers in Europe hunted wild boar.
DNA evidence from the teeth of 63 ancient pigs found in Germany in known hunter-gatherer sites and known Neolithic sites indicate that trade in pigs did exist between European hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers. The evidence is substantial enough to indicate the color of the pig’s hair and the pig’s size.
Neolithic man brought animal husbandry and farming into Europe along with pigs.
The researchers postulate that hunter-gatherer populations may have acquired pigs by theft, through trade, as booty from raids, or by the capture of escapee pigs. The evidence indicates the major route of exchange was trade because there is no artifact evidence that indicates that large scale or small scale hostilities occurred between Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmer-herders.