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Scourge or Sustenance: Using microfauna to explore the palaeoenvironment and palaeoeconomics of Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic communities in Anatolia.

Feider, M., 2022. Scourge or Sustenance: Using microfauna to explore the palaeoenvironment and palaeoeconomics of Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic communities in Anatolia. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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FEIDER, Michelle Caroline_Ph.D._2022.pdf
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Microfaunal assemblages from three important sites in Central Anatolia which straddle the end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene were analysed. The sites studied were: Çatalhöyük, a large proto-urban settlement (c7100-5950 cal. BCE); Boncuklu Höyük, a small early Neolithic village (c8300-7800 cal. BCE), and Pınarbaşı, a transitory rock-shelter site (14150-11000 cal. BCE), with a settled early Neolithic settlement (9800-7800 cal. BCE), and a transitory late Neolithic phase (6500-6000 cal. BCE). The assemblages were analysed in order to: reconstruct the palaeoenvironment; identify whether microfauna were used as part of a broad-spectrum economy; determine if anthrodependent species such as the house mouse were present at either Boncuklu or Pınarbaşı indicating sedentism, and to establish if any of the species recovered were utilised in ritual practices, as has been previously noted at Çatalhöyük. The assemblages from Çatalhöyük and Boncuklu were not suitable for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction because of the impact of humans on the assemblage accumulation. At Çatalhöyük, the proto-urban nature of the settlement created an anthrodependent niche which was exploited by the house mouse, almost to the exclusion of all other species. At Boncuklu, the assemblage was dominated by frogs, with taphonomic evidence showing they were part of the human diet. As such, neither of these assemblages was necessarily indicative of the local ecology. The seasonally occupied, Epipalaeolithic levels at Pınarbaşı were more reflective of the species present in the ecotonal rock-shelter site, however the early Neolithic settlement also showed evidence of frog consumption. The microfaunal assemblages from Boncuklu and the early Neolithic phase of occupation at Pınarbaşı provided conclusive evidence that frogs were being eaten. At Boncuklu, anura remains were also recovered from human coprolite samples, providing direct evidence of consumption. Taphonomic signatures on water voles at Boncuklu, and snakes at Epipalaeolithic Pınarbaşı also suggest that these animals were being eaten by people. Further ritual incorporation of scats into burials was not found during this round of research, however curation of the scats of small carnivores by people is evidenced by anthropogenic contexts with high numbers of microfauna, such as niche infill. Whether the small carnivore scats were collected for a ritual purpose, or a mundane one remains unknown, however the practice was not widespread and appears to be spatially restricted. At Boncuklu, mice were recovered in small numbers from building contexts, and geometric morphometric analysis showed these to be house mice, making them the earliest house mice specimens in Anatolia, pre-dating those at Çatalhöyük by over 1000 years. Evidence for human impact on house mouse populations at Çatalhöyük were also discovered, with specimens from a single building exhibiting molar shape change consistent with that of an isolated island population. The analysis of these assemblages has shown that microfauna can provide a significant level of information, not only on the palaeoenvironment, but on how people utilised these animals as food resources, the effects settlements had on the wider landscape with habitat partitioning taking effect, and the impact these small animals had on settlements as pest species.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:if you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:microfauna; small mammals; amphibians; Anatolia; Neolithic; Çatalhöyük; Pınarbaşı; Boncuklu
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:37509
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:16 Sep 2022 12:51
Last Modified:16 Sep 2022 12:51


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