Authors: ABU BAKAR SIDDIQ
Abstract: This paper presents the zooarchaeological observations on animal remains of Alaybeyi Höyük unearthed from 2016 and 2017 excavation sessions. Dated to 4721-4553 cal. BC, Alaybeyi stands so far as the oldest archaeological settlement discovered in northeast Anatolia. Therefore, the faunal assemblage at Alaybeyi offers great opportunity to study the status of animals and their relationships with humans in the largely unexplored Kars-Erzurum plateau covering a period from the Chalcolithic to Late Iron Age. Taxonomic and osteometric analyses show that, like the present day, cattle were dominant over caprines, revealing extensive cattle pastoralism in the region for at least about 7 millennia. While caprines too were significant in the subsistence strategy of local humans, there was not any sign of raising pigs. Significant numbers of wild species including carnivores, aquatic mammals, and rodents, as well as resident and migratory birds, were also hunted by Alaybeyi people. Additionally, horse burials, horse cult, dog burials, and a rich number of dog bones present animals as versatile actors in various ritual and symbolic practices at the site.
Keywords: Zooarchaeology, Alaybeyi Höyük, animal remains, East Anatolia, Turkey
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