Spread of Domestic Animals across Neolithic Western Anatolia: New Zooarchaeological Evidence from Uğurlu Höyük, the Island of Gökçeada, Turkey

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The zooarchaeological research presented here investigates Neolithic and Chalcolithic (ca. 6500–5000 cal. BC) animal exploitation strategies at Uğurlu Höyük on the Turkish island of Gökçeada in the northeastern Aegean Sea. Toward this end, we first discuss the results of our analysis of the zooarchaeological assemblages from Uğurlu Höyük and then consider the data within a wider regional explanatory framework using a diachronic approach, comparing them with those from western and northwestern Anatolian sites. The first settlers of Gökçeada were farmers who introduced domestic sheep, goats, cattle and pigs to the island as early as 6500 years BC. Our results align well with recently published zooarchaeological data on the westward spread of domestic animals across Turkey and the Neolithization of southeast Europe. Using an island site as a case study, we independently confirm that the dispersal of early farming was a polynucleated and multidirectional phenomenon that did not sweep across the land, replace everything on its way, and deliver the same “Neolithic package” everywhere. Instead, this complex process generated a diversity of human-animal interactions. Thus, studying the dispersal of early farmers from southwest Asia into southeast Europe via Anatolia requires a rigorous methodological approach to develop a fine-resolution picture of the variability seen in human adaptations and dispersals within complex and rapidly changing environmental and cultural settings. For this, the whole spectrum of human-animal interactions must be fully documented for each sub-region of southwest Asia and the circum-Mediterranean. © 2017 Atici et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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