A forager-herder trade-off, from broad-spectrum hunting to sheep management at Aşıklı Höyük, Turkey.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Stiner, Mary C; Buitenhuis, Hijlke; Duru, Güneş; Kuhn, Steven L; Mentzer, Susan M; Munro, Natalie D; Pöllath, Nadja; Quade, Jay; Tsartsidou, Georgia; Özbaşaran, Mihriban
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume: 111
Issue: 23
Pagination: 8404-9
Date Published: 2014 Jun 10
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: Animal Husbandry, Animals, Archaeology, Diet, Female, Food habits, Geography, Goats, Humans, Male, Meat, Ruminants, Sheep, Time Factors, Turkey

Aşıklı Höyük is the earliest known preceramic Neolithic mound site in Central Anatolia. The oldest Levels, 4 and 5, spanning 8,200 to approximately 9,000 cal B.C., associate with round-house architecture and arguably represent the birth of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic in the region. Results from upper Level 4, reported here, indicate a broad meat diet that consisted of diverse wild ungulate and small animal species. The meat diet shifted gradually over just a few centuries to an exceptional emphasis on caprines (mainly sheep). Age-sex distributions of the caprines in upper Level 4 indicate selective manipulation by humans by or before 8,200 cal B.C. Primary dung accumulations between the structures demonstrate that ruminants were held captive inside the settlement at this time. Taken together, the zooarchaeological and geoarchaeological evidence demonstrate an emergent process of caprine management that was highly experimental in nature and oriented to quick returns. Stabling was one of the early mechanisms of caprine population isolation, a precondition to domestication.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1322723111
Alternate Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.