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New excavations at Hasankeyf Höyük: A tenth millennium cal. BC site on the Upper Tigris, southeast Anatolia



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Neo-Lithics 1/12 1
The 2011 excavation at Hasankeyf Höyük has provided
new evidence of a sedentary settlement dated to the 10th
millennium cal. BC (or the PPNA in Levantine terms)
in the upper Tigris valley.
The site is located on the left bank of the Tigris,
about 2 km east of the well-known medieval site of Ha-
sankeyf, in Batman province, Turkey (Fig. 1). The ex-
cavations of this site, which will be submerged by the
construction of the Ilısu Dam, were carried out within
the framework of the Hasankeyf rescue projects under
the auspices of Prof. Dr. Abdüsselam Uluçam, Batman
University. It was rst excavated by a Turkish team in
2009 and, since 2011, its investigation has been taken
over by a Japanese team from University of Tsukuba.
We are very grateful to Prof. Uluçam for providing us
with the opportunity to work at such a signicant pre-
historic site.
The site forms a roughly circular mound about
150 min diameter and 8 m high above the surrounding
plain. In 2011 ve 10 x10 m squares were excavated at
the centre of the mound. Except for ephemeral occup-
ational evidence from the Iron Age and the Hellenistic
periods in the form of pits dug into the prehistoric layers,
all the archaeological deposits are from the 10th millen-
nium cal. BC. To date only the top layers of the mound
have been excavated and the 15 radiocarbon dates all
fall in this time range, with most of them concentrating
in the second half of the 10th millennium (Fig. 2). These
dates suggest that the prehistoric occupation of Hasan-
keyf Höyük is mostly contemporary with that of Hallan
Çemi, Demirköy Höyük, Körtik Tepe and Gusir Höyük
in the upper Tigris valley (Rosenberg and Davis 1992;
Rosenberg 1994a; Rosenberg et al. 1995; Higham et al.
2007; Benz et al. 2011; Karul 2011).
Structures recovered at the highest level of the mound
(Squares G12 and H12) are stone walls from a subter-
ranean building (Str. 3), which probably has a semi-
rectangular plan (Fig. 3). Several pits which had been
dug into the ll of Str. 3 were excavated as well. Stra-
tigraphically, these structures belong to the latest phase
of the prehistoric occupation of this site. Some of these
pits contained large stone blocks including ground
stone and large stone slabs, one of which has an eye-
shaped-like relief decoration (Fig. 4).
Within and around Str. 3, 12 human burials were
discovered. Particularly of note is a multiple burial of
three individuals near the east wall of Str. 3. One of
them, buried in a tightly exed position, shows clear
signs of black-coloured lines on its limb bones (Fig.
5). Interestingly, the whole skeleton is in a correct ana-
tomical position, suggesting that it is a primary burial.
How these lines were painted (or left) on the surface
New Excavations at Hasankeyf Höyük:
A 10th millennium cal. BC site on the Upper Tigris, Southeast Anatolia
Yutaka Miyake, Osamu Maeda, Kenichi Tanno, Hitomi Hongo and Can Y. Gündem
Fig.  1  Location of Hasankeyf Höyük.
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Fig.  2  Radiocarbon dates.
Fig.  3  Plan of structures.
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of the bones is not clear, but similar examples are also
known from Körtik Tepe and Demirköy Höyük (Öz-
kaya et al. 2010; Rosenberg 2011).
In Squares G12, G13 and H13, a series of distinc-
tive, subterranean round buildings was recovered, at a
level lower than the structures and burials in Square
H12 (Fig. 4). Although the uppermost part of these
buildings has in most cases been eroded, some of them
still stand more than 1 m high (Fig. 6). The construc-
tion technique of each is basically the same. First, a
round dwelling pit was dug, then its inner wall was re-
inforced with courses of stones up to the mouth of the
pit. Usually, larger stones are used for the foundation,
on which several courses of smaller stones are placed
using yellow-brownish clay mortar, and the upper part
of the wall is often built of at river cobbles. Finally,
the stone wall is mud-plastered using the same clay as
the one used for the mortar. No distinctive oors were
identied except for one in Str. 7, where the oor is
paved with stones about 20 cm. The diameter of these
buildings is usually 3.5 m to 4.5m but the largest one
is about 6 m. Although it is likely that not all of these
buildings were in use at the same time because their
base levels vary to a large extent, they are densely
laid out and often adjacent to each other, sometimes
superimposing on earlier structures. A large number
of animal bones, chipped stones and unworked stones
was recovered from the ll of these buildings, except
for Str. 7, which was probably deliberately inlled and
includes virtually no objects.
Fig.  4  Stone slab with reief decoration.
Fig.  5  Human burial with black lines on the limb bone.
Fig.  6  Inner wall of subterranean round building (Str. 2).
Fig.  7  Lithics from various layers (1, 2, 3, 5, 7-9: int; 3,  
  6: obsidian
Fig.  8  Single platform conical core (int, Str. 1).
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Chipped stone artefacts, generally characterised by
microliths, including scalene triangles and of foliate
shaped ones (Fig. 7), demonstrate in typological terms
close similarity to the four other contemporary sites
mentioned above.
Flint is the main raw material with obsidian accoun-
ting for only a few percent of all the chipped stone.
Almost all of the obsidian has a greenish tinge. Both
int blades and akes were produced on site by direct
percussion sometimes using single-platform conical
cores (Fig. 8). The general character of the core reduc-
tion processes is similar throughout the assemblage so
far recovered. However, of note is that there are chro-
nological changes in the typological features and the
relative frequencies of each type of tool between the as-
semblage from Str. 1/Str. 8 and that from Square H12.
The assemblage from Square H12 includes Nemrik
points (Fig. 7: 7-9) and end- and round scrapers made
on large int blades that often show signs of heat treat-
ment. Geometric microliths, particularly scalene trian-
gles, are very rare. On the other hand, the assemblage
from Str. 1/Str. 8, which is dated slightly earlier than
that of Square H12, has no Nemrik points but more
geometric microliths, made of both int and obsidian
(Fig. 7: 1-3). The size of int blades and scrapers made
on int blades is smaller than that in Square H12.
Ground stone artefacts are also common. A lot of
fragments and some complete pieces of querns and
pestles/handstones have been recovered, often from
pits lled with large stone blocks. The extensive use
of these grinding tools at this site, where evidence for
cereal exploitation is scarce, is intriguing.
Plant and animal remains
A preliminary analysis of the botanical remains de-
monstrates rare use of cereals at this site. Virtually no
wheat or barley has been identied in the water-ota-
tion samples so far analysed. The scarcity of cereals is
also known from Hallan Çemi, Demirköy Höyük and
Körtik Tepe (Savard et al. 2006; Riehl et al. 2012).
The species so far found at Hasankeyf Höyük include
almonds, pistachio, hackberry, lentil and indeterminate
nut species (these need to be conrmed by further
A large number of animal bones was recovered,
mostly from the ll of subterranean round buildings.
Among the medium-sized mammals, sheep is do-
minant, comprising about 50% of the identied spe-
cimens. Wild goats, wild boar and red deer are also
common. Gazelles are also included but wild cattle
have not been found in the assemblage. Dogs are the
only domestic animal at the site; there is no evident
sign of domestication among the ungulates. Foxes and
hares are common among small-sized animals as well
as tortoises.
The large quantity of sh and bird bones recovered
by 4 mm-mesh screening is also noteworthy (Fig. 9).
At Körtik Tepe several shing hooks have been found
and a high frequency of auditory exostosis has been
observed among the skeletons recovered (Coşkun et al.
2010). These may suggest that shing or exploitation
of aquatic resources played an important role in the
subsistence of these early sedentary villages along the
upper Tigris valley.
Concluding remarks
Hasankeyf Höyük, dated to the 10thmillennium cal. BC,
is one of the earliest sedentary settlements in southeast
Anatolia. It is interesting that there is little evidence for
use of cereals, whether wild or domestic, when conti-
nuous construction of a series of solid round buildings
suggests the establishment of sustainable sedentary life
at this site. This picture is very different from that in
the Middle Euphrates, where large seeded grasses were
extensively exploited as early as in the PPNA so that
“pre-domestication cultivation” has been discussed (cf.
Willcox et al. 2008). Together with the evidence from
other contemporary sites in the upper Tigris valley,
further investigation of Hasankeyf Höyük would con-
tribute to our understanding of the origin of sedentism
in this area, for which a quite different scenario from
the Levant can be drawn.
Interestingly, ve aceramic sites so far discovered
in the upper Tigris region are all dated to almost the
same period: the second half of the 10th millennium
cal. BC, or the beginning of the Holocene. On the
other hand, no later aceramic settlement (equivalent
to the PPNB in the Levant) has yet been found in this
region, despite intensive surface surveys carried out in
the future Ilısu Dam reservoir area. Based on currently
available evidence it seems likely that the upper Tigris
region was abandoned or at least less populated after
the 10th millennium cal. BC and re-occupied with the
onset of the Pottery Neolithic, when the full repertoire
of domestic plants and animals was introduced, as in-
dicated by the evidence from Salat Cami Yanı (Miyake
Fig.  9  Fish bones.
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Yutaka Miyake
Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences,
University of Tsukuba, Japan
Osamu Maeda
Environmental Comprehensive Science Program,
Tokyo Gakugei University, Japan
Kenichi Tanno
Faculty of Agriculture,
Yamaguchi University, Japan
Hitomi Hongo
School of Advanced Sciences,
Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan
Can Yümni Gündem
School of Advanced Sciences,
Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan
Benz M., Coşkun A., Weninger B., Alt K.W., and Özkaya V.
2011 Stratigraphy and Radiocarbon Dates of the PPNA Site
of Körtik Tepe, Diyarbakır. 26. Arkeometri Sonuçları
Toplantısı: 81-100.
Coşkun A., Benz M., Erdal Y. S., Koruyucu M. M., Deckers K.,
Rihel S., Siebert A., Alt K.W., and Özkaya V.
2010 Living by the Water - Boon and Bane for the People of
Körtik Tepe. Neo-Lithics 2/10: 60-71.
Higham T. F. G., Ramsey C. B., Brock F., Baker D., and
Ditcheld P.
2007 Radiocarbon Dates from the Oxford AMS System:
Archaeometry Datelist 32. Archaeometry 49
Supplement 1: 1-60.
Karul N.
2011 Gusir Höyuk. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and
P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New
Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin: 1-17.
Istanbul: Archaeology & Art Publications.
Miyake Y.
2011 Salat Cami Yanı. A Pottery Neolithic Site in the Tigris
Valley. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and P. Kuniholm
(eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New Excavations & New
Research. The Tigris Basin: 129-149. Istanbul:
Archaeology & Art Publications.
Özkaya V. and Coşkun A.
2011 Körtik Tepe. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and
P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New
Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin: 89-
127. Istanbul: Archaeology & Art Publications.
Özkaya V., Coşkun A., San O., Şahin F. S., Barın G., Kartal M.,
and Erdal Y. S.
2010 Körtik Tepe 2008 Yılı Kazısı. 31. Kazı Sonuçları
Toplantısı 1. Cilt: 511-535.
Peasnal B. L. and Rosenberg M.
2001 Preliminary Description of the Lithic Industry from
Demirköy Höyük. In I. Caneva, C. Lemorini, D.
Zampetti and P. Biagi (eds), Beyond Tools. Redening
the PPN Lithic Assemblages of the Levant. SENEPSE
9: 363-387. Berlin: ex oriente.
Riehl S., Benz M., Conard N. J., Darabi H., Deckers K., Nashli H.
F., and Zeidi-Kulehparcheh M.
2012 Plant Use in Three Pre-Pottery Neolithic Sites of the
Northern and Eastern Fertile Crescent: a Preliminary
Report. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 21(2):
Rosenberg M.
1994a Hallan Çemi Tepesi: Some Further Observations
Concerning Stratigraphy and Material Culture.
Anatolica 20: 121-140.
Rosenberg M.
1994b A Preliminary Description of Lithic Industry from
Hallan Çemi. In H.G. Gebel and S.K. Kozłowski (eds),
Neolithic Chipped Stone Industries of the Fertile
Crescent. SENEPSE 1: 223-238. Berlin: ex oriente.
Rosenberg M. and Davis M.
1992 Hallan Çemi Tepesi, an Early Aceramic Neolithic Site
in Eastern Anatolia: Some Preliminary Observations
Concerning Material Culture. Anatolica 18: 1-18.
Rosenberg M., Nesbitt R. M., Redding R., and Strasser T.
1995 Hallan Çemi Tepesi: Some Preliminary Observations
Concerning Early Neolithic Subsistence Behaviors in
Eastern Anatolia. Anatolica 21: 1-12.
Rosenberg M.
2011 Demirköy. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and
P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New
Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin: 79-87.
Istanbul: Archaeology & Art Publications.
Savard M., Nesbitt M., and Jones M. K.
2006 The Role of Wild Grasses in Subsistence and
Sedentism: New Evidence from the Northern Fertile
Crescent. World Archaeology 38(2): 179-196.
Willcox G., Fornite S., and Herveux L.
2008 Holocene Cultivation before Domestication in Northern
Syria. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 17(3): 313-325.
... This initial research, and the theories put forward, have an important place in studies of the sociocultural structures, belief systems, understanding of symbolism and rituals of southwest Asian Neolithic communities, including research being carried out today. Through the excavations carried out since the 1980s at Qermez Dere (Watkins, 1987;Watkins et al., 1989), Nemrik 9 (Kempisty, 1990) and Nevali Çori (Hauptmann, 2011) and particularly since the 1990s at Göbekli Tepe and the restarted Çatalhöyük excavation, and also at Jerf el-Ahmar (Hodder, 1996;Schmidt, 2012;Stordeur, 2014), and during the 2000s at Dja 'de, Körtik Tepe, Gusir Höyük, Hasankeyf Höyük, Tell Qaramel, Tell Abr 3, Çemka Höyük, Boncuklu Tarla and Körtik Tepe (Coqueugniot, 2009;Karul, 2011;Kodaş, 2019a;Kodaş et al., 2020a;Mazurowski and Kanjou, 2012;Miyake et al., 2012;Ö zkaya and Coşkun, 2011;Yartah, 2004) a basis has been established for new perspectives and interpretations of the figurative art of the Neolithic of northern Mesopotamia (Benz and Bauer, 2013;Dietrich and Notroff, 2016;Kodaş, 2019b;Lichter, 2007;Schmidt, 2012). As a result of the archaeological excavations in northern Mesopotamia, new archaeological finds unearthed in Neolithic settlements, which are thought to be of symbolic/ ritual significance and that give information about the figurative art of the period, are increasing in number every day, and new theories on the depiction, art and belief systems of the period are being put forward (Benz and Bauer, 2013;Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen, 2014;Kodaş, 2019b;Lichter, 2007;Verhoeven, 2001). ...
... However, the example decorated with the inlay technique from Boncuklu Tarla (Plaque 1) can now be added as a fifth group (Table 2). Examples in the first group were found only in layers dating to the PPNA Period in the settlements of Hasankeyf Höyük and Körtik Tepe located in the Upper Tigris Basin (Miyake et al., 2012;Ö zkaya and Coşkun, 2011;Siddiq et al., 2021). Animal motifs and geometric motifs are dominant on the objects in question and almost all of them were found in graves. ...
... The second group, which can be defined as those decorated with the incision-perforation technique have been found at sites dating to both the PPNA and PPNB including Shanidar (Solecki et al., 2004), Gusir Höyük (Karul, 2011), Nemrik 9 (Kozłowski, 1990), Hasankeyf Höyük (Miyake et al., 2012), Nevali Çori (Hauptmann, 2011), Dja'de (Coqueugniot, 2009), Körtik Tepe (Özkaya and Coşkun, 2011), Boncuklu Tarla (Kodaş, 2019a), Göbekli Tepe (Dietrich and Notroff, 2016;Schmidt, 2012), Tell Qaramel (Mazurowski and Kanjou, 2012), and Hallan Çemi (Rosenberg, 2011). Again, most of the objects included in this group were found in graves. ...
Free download at: Among the artefacts of fundamental importance in the context of symbolism and iconography during the Neo-lithization process in northern Mesopotamia, there is much research about, and publication relating to, human figurines or statues, animal figurines or statues, figured stone objects, stone vessels, bone plaques, wall decoration (paint, relief, or incision) and stone pillars. While among these various research topics bone plaques have been noticeably less studied than other classes of small finds, they are gradually gaining importance. From the figurative and typological perspective, these objects carry importance for their visual characteristics and their regional variety, but it is notable that their typological differences and functions are still not well understood. This study opens a new debate about the techno-typological characteristics, regional distribution, and modes of use of these objects starting from a group of bone plaques recovered from burial contexts during the excavations of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic settlement of Boncuklu Tarla in southeast Turkey. Portable symbolic artefacts are found to show significant overlaps between materials, iconography and use as well as regional identities and temporal continuities in techniques and decoration.
... All of the PPNA burials were on-site and the majority were associated with subterranean or semi-subterranean, oval, or round-shaped residential buildings and less with non-residential buildings bearing communal or ritual significance. Those recovered in the residential area were buried inside the buildings and beneath the floors, close to the wall and in open spaces between houses (Erdal 2015;Gawrońska et al. 2012;Mithen et al. 2011;Miyake 2020;Miyake et al. 2012). Most of the burials were primary and the dead were intact and sometimes disturbed and disarticulated. ...
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Neolithic societies have been characterized by a long-term process of evolution in funerary practices and shift of burial locations. Thousands of burials uncovered from different regions have shed light on various aspects of human behavior in these societies. The spatial location of burials and burial customs underwent significant changes throughout the development of these societies from the hunter-gatherer way of the life in the Natufian to the settled farming societies in the Neolithic period. People tended to bury their dead within the settlement boundaries and in close association with residential buildings. Burials took place beneath the floor of residential and non-residential buildings bearing symbolic significance, between buildings and in courtyards. The building-burial relations were intertwined with ritual in the Neolithic, particularly household and community rituals that were integrated into daily life. Therefore, there was a spatial-based relationship between the location of the burials and the communal activities that were undertaken which also reinforced memories of place. This legacy continued into the Pottery Neolithic period, however, a shift from indoor to crowded outdoor cemeteries has been documented at several sites. The changes in the location of the burials and the decline in building-burial relations might be attributed to social changes during the transition from the Late PPNB to the PN periods. People in the PN period did not maintain a fixed ancestral abode as was the case in succeeding periods. Rather, there was diversity in the burial context that reflected the diversity of household practices and increased household autonomy. This paper presents a chronological overview of the shift in burial location during the development of Neolithic societies through investigation of the spatial context of burials and the association between the living and the dead.
... Information given is based on the following sources. For Northern Mesopotamia:Ibáñez 2008; Coqueugniot 2014; site reports inÖzdoğan et al. 2011a, 2011b Mazurowski and Kanjou 2012;Miyake et al. 2012; Miyake 2013 Miyake , 2016 Özkaya et al. 2013;Yartah 2013; Abbès 2014; Stordeur 2015; for the Levant:Kenyon 1981;Grindell 1998; Rollefson 2000; site reports in Bienert et al. 2004; Nissen et al. 2004;Byrd 2005; Goring-Morris 2005;Gebel et al. 2006; Kuijt 2008; Schmandt- Besserat 2013 and for Central Anatolia: Hodder 2006; site reports inÖzdoğan et al. 2012. ...
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With increasing sedentism, many early Holocene communities of Southwest Asia experienced an unprecedented increase in medial priming, in various ways and on many levels. Here, we combine new research from the social neurosciences and investigations on mediality to trace the social impact of early Neolithic symbolism in Southwest Asia. We have analysed three case studies: the sedentary hunter-gatherer-fisher communities from Northern Mesopotamia of the 10th to 9th millennium BCE as well as the village farming communities of the Levant and Central Anatolia of the 9th to 7th millennium BCE. Our studies show that the increase in medial priming was not linear, but was rather driven by changing social conditions and human decisions concerning how to address the social challenges of increasing population densities. The novel mediality supported new relationships between people and places, between past and present, and strengthened new interpersonal relations. Outwardly similar symbols had different effects in varied social contexts. In the long run, we have observed a shift from integrative relations between humans and nature, to the dominance and representation of human groups, as well as a greater use of symbols within domestic households. Ever since this shift occurred, symbols have played a crucial role in creating commitment and aligning people.
... The Natufian site of Shubayqa in Jordan displayed child remains with ochre, suspected to have been stained from a burial container or wrapping 34 . In the Anatolian Early Neolithic preceramic sites of Körtik Tepe, Demirköy and Hasankeyf Höyük designs with lines were found on articulated elements [40][41][42] . These lines are suspected to have been transferred to the bones from painted matting or textiles as a result of soil pressure 40,41 , although it is also suggested that some bones may have been painted directly as part of a post-depositional treatment 40 . ...
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The cultural use of pigments in human societies is associated with ritual activities and the creation of social memory. Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey, 7100–5950 cal BC) provides a unique case study for the exploration of links between pigments in burials, demographic data and colourants in contemporary architectural contexts. This study presents the first combined analysis of funerary and architectural evidence of pigment use in Neolithic Anatolia and discusses the possible social processes underlying the observed statistical patterns. Results reveal that pigments were either applied directly to the deceased or included in the grave as a burial association. The most commonly used pigment was red ochre. Cinnabar was mainly applied to males and blue/green pigment was associated with females. A correlation was found between the number of buried individuals and the number of painted layers in the buildings. Mortuary practices seem to have followed specific selection processes independent of sex and age-at-death of the deceased. This study offers new insights about the social factors involved in pigment use in this community, and contributes to the interpretation of funerary practices in Neolithic Anatolia. Specifically, it suggests that visual expression, ritual performance and symbolic associations were elements of shared long-term socio-cultural practices.
... Whilst research into early farming communities in the Near East was for many decades concentrated in the Southern Levant, the finding of sites such as Çayönü Tepesi in the 1960s (Braidwood et al., 1969(Braidwood et al., , 1971, followed by a wealth of recent work as part of rescue excavations preceding the construction of numerous hydroelectric dams in southeastern Turkey has revealed the extent and nature of early settled communities in this region ( Figure 1). The excavation of Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) sites such as Nevali Çori (Hauptmann, 1988(Hauptmann, , 1999(Hauptmann, , 2011 and Hallan Çemi in the 1990s (Rosenberg and Davis, 1992;Rosenberg et al., 1995), as well as more recently: Hasankeyf Höyük (Hongo et al., 2019;Miyake et al., 2012), Gusir Höyük (Karul, 2011(Karul, , 2020, as well as Körtiktepe (Benz et al., 2015;Rössner et al., 2018), has demonstrated, contrary to the previous models, that year-round settlements indeed preceded the cultivation of plants and the management of animals (Braidwood and Braidwood, 1953;Childe, 1951: 282;Kenyon, 1965: 44). Archaeozoological work has recently turned its attention to understanding numerous subsistence strategies employed by hunter-gatherers at the end of the Terminal Pleistocene and beginning of the Early Holocene in order to better understand the varied circumstances prior to the transition to an agriculturally based economy as well as to better understand local histories and trajectories (Arbuckle, 2014;Arbuckle and Erek, 2012;Atici, 2009). ...
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The site of Körtiktepe in southeastern Turkey is one of few sites in the Upper Mesopotamia basin that attests continuous, permanent occupation across the boundary from end of the colder, drier Younger Dryas (YD) into the comparatively wetter and warmer Early Holocene (EH). This allows for the study of the degree of environmental change experienced on a local level over this boundary as well as for the study of the adaptations that the occupants of the site undertook in response to these changes. The mammal assemblage of Körtiktepe remains relatively stable across the YD – EH transition with the main contributors to diet being mouflon (Ovis orientalis) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) in approximately the same quantities, although the contribution of aurochs (Bos primigenius) increases in the EH. The most significant changes can be seen in the shift in avifauna remains, with a sharp increase of waterbirds during the EH. It is proposed that these shifts reflect changes in the local environment with an increase in woodland cover as well as expansion of local waterways, which is generally consistent with previously published archaeobotanical studies. In terms of species exploited, mortality profiles as well as size distribution of mammals, a great deal of continuity is observed. This suggests that over this particular period the local impact of the beginning of the Early Holocene was not overly dramatic, allowing for cultural continuity of previously established subsistence strategies.
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Sprawling nearly 3 hectare area Boncuklu Tarla is one of the rare canters that had continuous settlement beginning from Proto-Neolithic Period to the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period. However, this non-stop settlement, contrary to the what is believed, is not like a continuous barrow but it can also be seen as single-layer field that located in the Southeast is the place dating as PPNA (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A). In addition to its single-layer structure, this Southeast field showed its distinctness through the diggings and featured itself with an unseen architectural example in Şanlıurfa Region including Upper Tigris Valley and Northern Iraq territories. Southeast field displays similar features that are idiosyncratic to Nemrik 9 settlement which is located on Eastern Cezire Region or Northern Iraq territories. The similarities are not only related to architecture but also they are related to the antiques. From the first days of archaeological diggings practiced in Nemrik 9 settlement to the present, both architecture and antique groups (like arrow heads, stone rods, fictile/clay columns) had been causing complications and regional restrictions but with the new data gathered from Boncuklu Tarla have let us untie the complications and have started to bring new explanations to the problem of regionalism. In this study, with the new data recovered from South-eastern Area of Boncuklu Tarla, we tried both clarifying the aforementioned research questions but also examined many different cultural aspects of Upper Mesopotamia Region in Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Period. Especially the structures that were built for same purposes but showing differences in terms of architectural features in PPNA were compared
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The PPNA site of Körtiktepe in the Upper Tigris Basin yielded one of the richest Pre-Pottery Neolithic assemblages in Western Asia. The site also stands among a few key Epipalaeolithic–Neolithic transitional centers that played vital roles in the origin and evolution of Neolithic symbolism in Upper Mesopotamia. The site was occupied from the second half of the 11th millennium BCE, and throughout much of the 10th millennium BCE the sedentary hunter-gatherers at Körtiktepe engaged in a socio-symbolic organization with elaborate funerary practice and extensive manufacture of symbolic artifacts, including figurative plaquettes, engraved stone vessels, incised shaft straighteners with elaborate designs, scepters, and large assemblages of beads, mostly unearthed from c2000 intra-site burials. No other PPN site has yielded such an extensive number of burial remains and grave goods. Here, we present a group of painted bone plaquettes displaying morphological features and some imagery so far not seen at any other Pre-Pottery Neolithic site in West Asia. Assessing the specimens in light of the wider symbolic practices among the first Neolithic societies, we argue that Körtiktepe was an important center of symbolic trend at the dawn of the Neolithic in the Upper Tigris Basin.
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The beginnings of agriculture throughout the Fertile Crescent are still not completely understood, par-ticularly at the eastern end of the Fertile Crescent in the area of modern Iran. Archaeobotanical samples from Epi-palaeolithic/PPNA Körtik Tepe in southeastern Turkey and from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites of Chogha Golan and East Chia Sabz in south western Iran were studied in order to define the status of cultivation at these sites. Preliminary results show the presence of abundant wild progenitor species of crops at the Iranian sites before 10600 cal. B.P., and very few wild progenitor species at Körtik Tepe dated to 11700–11250 cal. B.P. The Iranian sites also indicate size increase of wild barley grain across a sequence of 400 years through either cultivation or changing moisture conditions.
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In 1991 a salvage excavation was begun at Hallan Cemi Tepesi, a largely aceramic site in the Taurus foothills of eastern Turkey.' The results of the 199 1 through 1993 field seasons permitted some preliminary observations concerning the material culture of the site's early Neolithic inhabitants. Of particular note was the relatively high degree of cultural complexity implied by that material culture (see Rosenberg and Davis 1992; Rosenberg 1994). Also of note was the evidence suggesting that, at its earliest stages, the Neolithic tradition in eastern Anatolia evolved with only minimal influence from the contemporaneous Levantine complex. Excavations at Hallan Cemi are ongoing and the results of the 1994 field season make it necessary to once a ~ a i n modifv some of the tentative conclusions concerning the site's stratigraphy. More importantly, the ongoing analyses of the botanical and fauna1 remains, as well as of relevant aspects of the artifact assemblage, now make it possible to begin making some preliminary obsenations about the subsistence behaviors of the site's inhabitants. The picture that is emerging From these ongoing analyses is often at odds with prior expectations. For example, though sedentism is indicated, it was apparently not based on the exploitation of cereals. The site's inhabitants also appear to have been experimenting with animal domestication. In all. the Hallan Cemi data promise to significantly alter our understanding of the origins of food production and animal husbandry in southwestern Asia.
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Sedentism is usually regarded as a pre-condition for the development of crop husbandry in Southwest Asia and, consequently, sedentary pre-agrarian sites are an important focus of research on the origins of agriculture. It is often assumed that wild grasses were as important for hunter-gatherers as domesticated cereals were for early farmers, and that wild grass exploitation may therefore have had a critical role in enabling sedentism. Results from the analysis of archaeobotanical assemblages from Hallan Çemi, Demirköy, Qermez Dere and M'lefaat, and comparison with those of other sedentary pre-agrarian sites in Southwest Asia, challenge the role often attributed to the exploitation of grasses at this time. Archaeobotanical and ethnographical evidence instead suggests that hunter-gatherers took an opportunistic approach to the resources available and their subsistence strategies were not necessarily centred on grasses and ‘wild cereals’.
A Pottery Neolithic Site in the Tigris Valley
  • Yanı Salat Cami
Salat Cami Yanı. A Pottery Neolithic Site in the Tigris Valley. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin: 129-149. Istanbul: Archaeology & Art Publications.
The Neolithic in Turkey. New Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin
  • Körtik Tepe
Körtik Tepe. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin: 89- 127. Istanbul: Archaeology & Art Publications.
The Neolithic in Turkey The Tigris Basin
  • Gusir Höyuk
Gusir Höyuk. In M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen and P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New Excavations & New Research. The Tigris Basin: 1-17.