Bioarchaeology of Neolithic Çatalhöyük: Lives and Lifestyles of an Early Farming Society in Transition

Clark Spencer Larsen, Simon W. Hillson, Başak Boz, Marin A. Pilloud, Joshua W. Sadvari, Sabrina C. Agarwal, Bonnie Glencross, Patrick Beauchesne, Jessica Pearson, Christopher B. Ruff, Evan M. Garofalo, Lori D. Hager, Scott D. Haddow, Christopher J. Knüsel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The bioarchaeological record of human remains viewed in the context of ecology, subsistence, and living circumstances provides a fundamental source for documenting and interpreting the impact of plant and animal domestication in the late Pleistocene and early to middle Holocene. For Western Asia, Çatalhöyük (7100–5950 cal BC) in central Anatolia, presents a comprehensive and contextualized setting for interpreting living circumstances in this highly dynamic period of human history. This article provides an overview of the bioarchaeology of Çatalhöyük in order to characterize patterns of life conditions at the community level, addressing the question, What were the implications of domestication and agricultural intensification, increasing sedentism, and population growth for health and lifestyle in this early farming community? This study employs demography, biogeochemistry, biodistance analysis, biomechanics, growth and development, and paleopathology in order to identify and interpret spatial and temporal patterns of health and lifestyle under circumstances of rapid population growth and aggregation and changing patterns of acquiring food and other resources. The record suggests that the rapid growth in population size was fueled by increased fertility and birthrate. Although the household was likely the focus of economic activity, our analysis suggests that individuals interred in houses were not necessarily biologically related. Predictably, the community employed resource extraction practices involving increased mobility. Although oral and skeletal indicators suggest some evidence of compromised health (e.g. elevated subadult infection, dental caries), growth and development of juveniles and adult body size and stature indicate adjustments to local circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-68
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of World Prehistory
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

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Keywords

  • Biodistance
  • Biomechanics
  • Domestication
  • Growth
  • Paleodemography
  • Paleopathology
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Larsen, C. S., Hillson, S. W., Boz, B., Pilloud, M. A., Sadvari, J. W., Agarwal, S. C., Glencross, B., Beauchesne, P., Pearson, J., Ruff, C. B., Garofalo, E. M., Hager, L. D., Haddow, S. D., & Knüsel, C. J. (2015). Bioarchaeology of Neolithic Çatalhöyük: Lives and Lifestyles of an Early Farming Society in Transition. Journal of World Prehistory, 28(1), 27-68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10963-015-9084-6