A new study published in Nature has brought light to just how old our relationship with honeybees actually is.

More than two decades of research and thousands of pottery shards have come to prove that early Neolithic farmers were using honeybees further into ancient times then originally imagined. On these pottery shards, dating as far back as 7000 BC, scientists were able to find trace amounts of beeswax.

Originally, scientists were analyzing pottery samples from various archaeological studies. Always making note to document any additional substances, scientists began to review all the beeswax samples they gathered over the years. From a single sample to multiple samples in a shard, scientists decided to pool their collective findings together and write a paper.


Finding beeswax residue on the pottery suggests that farmers used the stoneware as a way to easily transport honey from hives. In addition, traces of wax suggests that the farmers could have very well established local beehives and domesticated honeybees.

Beeswax was used for candlelight and was used as a filling for common dental issues.

The pottery samples date back to locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, with Asia Minor providing the oldest evidence of honeybee products for human needs. The components and consistency of beeswax has allowed it to survive thousands of years, providing adequate and rich samples.

The discovery of this ancient relationship between honeybees and humans should provide further fuel the need to  combat the threat to honeybees and their colonies. Honeybees are known to be a major factor in keeping our ecosystem balanced. With the vital pollination of agricultural crops and the production of various medicinal bee products, honeybees’ natural labor is vital in supporting human beings.

Systemic Pesticides, poor beekeeping practices , including lengthy transportation of honeybees, are all human caused factors which accelerate the decrease of the honeybee population over time.

With threats such as Colony Collapse Disorder, it’s important that we look to the past to preserve the original relationships between man and nature. The bonds our ancestors created are the presets for what allowed our species to come this far throughout time. The collapse of the honeybees not only signals a devastation for their lives but our entire agricultural system.

Beeswax for Health

Over the centuries, beeswax and honey have continued to bring humans health benefits. Our ancestors set the tone for using beeswax with more simple methods. Here are some of the modern beneficial uses for beeswax:

  • Provides deep, penetrating moisture
  • Softens skin
  • Creates a protective layer for skin against natural elements
  • Locks in moisture to prevent dry skin
  • Shields from infection
  • Heals minor abrasions
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti bacterial
  • Anti-septic properties help combat acne, and rashes
  • Vitamin A helps support reconstruction of cells

Beeswax for Everyday Use

In addition to being great for our health, beeswax can help us with common household concerns. Here are some ways beeswax can make your life more easier:

  • Prevents rust – coating tools, iron and other everyday metals with beeswax help prevent them from rusting.
  • Protects bronze – coats to prevent tarnishing
  • Treats kitchen wood – using beeswax with mineral oil on wooden utensils, cutting boards and bowls helps smooth the wood and increase longevity
  • Protects wood from nails – using beeswax on nails and screws helps prevent wood objects from splintering
  • Waterproof footwear – a coat of beeswax rubbed against your entire shoe or boot will help protect them
  • Naturally seal envelopes