Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Anthropology

First Committee Member

Alan Simmons

Second Committee Member

Pierre Lienard

Third Committee Member

Barbara Roth

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen Rowland

Number of Pages

435

Abstract

This study presents the first of its kind in Cyprus that combines the use of ancient crop (two-grained einkorn wheat, hulled barley, and lentils) and animal (domestic sheep, goat, cattle, pig, and wild deer) stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen) for reconstructing land use by the Kritou Marottou Ais Giorkis (Cypro-PPNB, 7956-7058 cal BC) inhabitants in western Cyprus. Current definitions of this time period employ the strict forager/farmer dichotomy, even though archaeological evidence suggests otherwise. In addition, it is still assumed that Cyprus was a barren landscape whose inhabitants were isolated from one another and the mainland. An integrated stable isotope approach provides the opportunity to examine plant (crop water management and soil nitrogen composition) and animal (diet and seasonal movement) management strategies, allowing us to then infer land use. The isotopic data also provide information on the environment, which appears to be wetter than today.

The results of this study do not support seasonal movement of herd animals between the lowlands and uplands. Pig were consuming a primarily herbivorous diet, raising the possibility that these animals were actually feral/wild or part of a free-range husbandry regime. Both the two-grained einkorn and hulled barley fall within the ‘moderately watered category.’ The barley samples also had an enriched nitrogen signal. The plant data suggest that barely was possibly given preferential treatment towards its growth. The isotopic data, in combination with the macrobotanical and zooarchaeological analyses, indicate that the inhabitants were not focusing resources and labor on agricultural practices. I argue that they were instead focused on craft production, which was also embedded in hunting activities, for inter-island and perhaps island-mainland exchange. This study helps to reframe our understanding of the Cypro-PPNB by providing new evidence of human activity during this important period in human history.

Disciplines

Archaeological Anthropology

Language

English


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