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Animal penning and open area activity at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey

AuthorsPortillo, Marta; García-Suárez, Aroa; Klimowicz, Arkadiusz; Barańskif, Marek Z.; Matthews, Wendy
Early farming
Faecal spherulites
Livestock penning
Issue Date2019
CitationJournal of Anthropological Archaeology (56) : 101106 (2019)
AbstractOver the last few decades a variety of geoarchaeological methods and ethnoarchaeological and experimental approaches have demonstrated the fundamental importance of animal dung deposits for reconstructing past human life-ways. Through simultaneous examination in micromorphological thin-section and integrated phytolith and faecal spherulite analyses, this study provides direct evidence for animal management and organisation of space at Neolithic Çatalhöyük by examining livestock penning deposits across the settlement. The identification of new extensive areas of penning distributed within the boundaries of the early occupation of the site suggests greater proximity to and management of herds immediately prior to a phase of settlement expansion, access to wider networks and resources, and increased exploitation of the wider landscape. Phytolith assemblages from in situ dung accumulations also provide new insights into foddering/grazing practices showing highly variable herbivorous regimes, including both dicotyledonous and grass-based diets with an important proportion of grasses used as fodder and/or grazing during the early occupation of Çatalhöyük. This study provides direct evidence of the proximity of humans and herds, continuity and change in animal management strategies and farming practices, and concepts of space at the site.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2019.101106
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