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Investigating Neolithic ecology and settlement networks in the Konya Plain: integrated micro-contextual analysis of buildings and open areas at Çatalhöyük East, Boncuklu Hüyük, and Pınarbaşı

Garcia-Suarez, A. (2017) Investigating Neolithic ecology and settlement networks in the Konya Plain: integrated micro-contextual analysis of buildings and open areas at Çatalhöyük East, Boncuklu Hüyük, and Pınarbaşı. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This PhD research focuses on the investigation of local developments in sedentism, ecological strategies, and site networks in Central Turkey through the microstratigraphic study of buildings, middens, and open areas at the Neolithic sites of Boncuklu Hüyük (9th-8th millennium BC cal), Çatalhöyük (8th-6th millennium BC cal), and Pınarbaşı (9th-7th millennium BC cal). To examine the relationship between Neolithic subsistence economy and settlement dynamics at high resolution it is necessary to investigate the nature, distribution, and periodicity of accumulated micro-residues derived from daily activities, as well as the technological choices expressed in floor construction materials. Thus, a geoarchaeological study appears as the most suitable approach to this problem, as it provides us with the tools to explore questions of ecology and society at multiple analytical scales, tying environmental data from the surrounding landscape to excavated on-site evidence for subsistence. This research has entailed, firstly, the microstratigraphic excavation of a building at Çatalhöyük to experiment with field, recording, and sampling strategies of finely laminated sequences. Second, a micromorphological study of house floors, middens, and open areas at the three sites has been conducted to identify the origin, deposition, and periodicity of components indicating particular human activities such as storage, food procurement and cooking practices, and the ecological and social variations of these. Thirdly, construction floor materials have been characterised through XRF, XRD, and FTIR methods. Finally, SEMEDX and IR microscopy have contributed to the characterisation of specific deposits related to domestic activities such as food and fuel management. The combination of these highly resolved spatial and chronological datasets has offered robust explanations for each community’s economic, ecological, and social basis. The results address the relationship between Neolithic communities and their environments, giving a more precise understanding of the full range of landscape exploitation strategies used by early farmers in the wetland/dryland setting in which these sites existed. This integrative approach is essential to confirm the different path to sedentism that scholars are currently positing for Central Anatolia, and models for local diversity more widely.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Matthews, W. and Black, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Science
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:78227

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