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Title: An archaeobotanical investigation of plant use, crop husbandry and animal diet at early-mid Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia
Author: Filipovic, Dragana
ISNI:       0000 0004 1026 7921
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this project is to produce new archaeobotanical evidence for the early-mid Neolithic sequence of Çatalhöyük in Central Anatolia, and use it as a basis for investigation into the nature and scale of crop husbandry at a long-living early farming settlement in south-west Asia. The archaeobotanical weed record is here considered the primary source of information on the aspects of crop husbandry indicative of different cultivation practices (i.e. permanence, seasonality and intensity) and crucial for distinguishing between contrasting agricultural systems (i.e. intensive vs. extensive cultivation) Of the thousands of archaeobotanical samples available from the study site, 115 samples from the early-mid Neolithic occupation were selected as archaeobotanically rich and originating from archaeologically well-defined situations (‘primary deposits’). Crop remains dominate the selected dataset and it is suggested that crop processing is one of the major source of the material. Another major taphonomic factor contributing to, and shaping the macro-botanical assemblage is burning of animal (sheep/goat) dung as fuel, as has been documented by micromorphological, and previous and current archaeobotanical analysis of macro-remains and phytoliths at the site. It has been proposed that residues from the two processes (crop processing and dung burning) are mixed in many archaeological deposits, obscuring the distinction between and impeding consideration of the two separate practices. Various analytical approaches are applied and combined in order to ‘disentangle’ arable weeds from dung-derived taxa in the archaeological deposits. In order to determine the stage(s) of crop processing represented by the samples, ethnoarchaeological models and ethnographically-derived statistical methods for crop processing analysis are employed. The archaeobotanical criteria for identification of dung-derived material, supported by the ethnographic information, ecological data and observations from the sheep/goat feeding experiments, are used for recognition of the material arriving at the site via burning of dung. The variability in the assemblage is explored using the correspondence analysis; the patterning revealed the differences between arable weeds and wild taxa deriving from sheep/goat dung, enabling the clear separation of the two datasets. The material identified as deriving from sheep/goat dung offers a basis for consideration of livestock diet, with wider implications for land use and integration with farming. The archaeobotanical weed data are compared on the basis of their ecological characteristics to the modern weed surveys and studies of traditional crop husbandry regimes. The results indicate that crops were grown in fixed plots sown in autumn and managed using intensive methods (e.g. careful tillage, weeding, manuring) implying close proximity of the fields to the settlement. The combined evidence from animal and crop husbandry suggests intensive garden cultivation as the most plausible model for early-mid Neolithic Çatalhöyük. The identified cultivation system has implications for issues such as settlement location, residents’ mobility, crop cultivation productivity and long-term sustainability, as well as social context of farming possibly reflected in the settlement’s spatial organisation.
Supervisor: Bogaard, Amy Bogaard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archaeology ; Archaeobotany