All Mixed Up? Human: Animal Relations at Early Çatalhöyük

Professor Christopher Knüsel

This project, funded by a Leverhulme/British Academy Small Grant (SG122204) with Jacqui Mulville and Jennifer Jones (Cardiff University), investigates the intertwined nature of human-animal relations in the earliest phases of Çatalhöyük (CH), Turkey, as expressed in an atypical deposit of co-mingled bones outside the main settlement, which may represent disturbance, cannibalism, or different funerary rites. This deposit is unique at CH, where human and animal remains are routinely disposed of separately, with the former being subject to formal burial on site. Additionally the faunal composition and location indicates exceptional feasting and ceremonial activity. The research examined this mixed deposit in detail; in addition to standard methods a detailed taphonomic analysis of the entire assemblage was undertaken to understand the pre-, peri- and post-mortem formation processes. Human and animal bones were subjected to identical recording methods to aid comparison and highlight similarities and differences in the treatment of different genera. The results are combined with other archaeological datasets to situate this deposit within the site and its broader social and temporal contexts. For more information, see: http://www.catalhoyuk.com/