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Are there discoveries to be made at the edge of the paleo/neolithic continuum?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I ran into this accidentally and thought paleohacks might be interested reading in the lengthy reports on the Catalhoyuk (ca 6000-8000 BC) excavations.

http://www.catalhoyuk.com/

Of interest to me were the presence of ovens, grain and plentiful animal bones. Cattle were auroch-like undomesticated animals, so the bones are relatively rare compared to the sheep/goats which were becoming domesticated. The concept of a stack-town, with top entry dwellings and no streets is also interesting.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on February 25, 2012
at 06:27 AM

Divide 10,000 by about 25, the age when people reproduced. 400. That means we all probably have about 400 ancestors who ate a Neolithic, grain style diet. You would think that's probably enough ancestors for us to have fully adapted to grains. We know that that's not the case with wheat and corn because of genetic tinkering. However, it seems that most people who ate rice are very well adapted. I really don't know any Asians who cannot handle rice.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:01 PM

It's not like we just magically started domesticating grains. There was a process and I'm sure that process took thousands of years. 10,000 BCE is just a round about figure archaeologist use because this is when grains start to show precedence in the archaeological record. The Neolithic is defined by more that just grains, it was the emergence of different styles of tools and the use of crude pottery. I think they have found barley at Catalhoyuk, but it's been awhile since my classes on Syria-Palestine.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:54 PM

If you're into archaeology check out the site info for Gobekli Tepe, a shrine site in Turkey (I think). It's about 2000 years older than Catalhoyuk

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:52 PM

It's the transitional elements that interest me. Domestication means animals and grain. I'd assume the ovens were used for both. And very significantly, this was not some vegetarian nirvana. Bones of small animals everywhere.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:52 PM

You should also check out the site info on the site Gobekli tape, which is also in the Turkey area, but dates about 2000 years older than Catalhoyuk. Here they have found massive amounts of hunted game waste.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:49 PM

Catalhoyuk is only about something like 30% excavated. Right now it seems to be an egalitarian stacked community. The site was between two river networks, so conditions for growing grain were pretty pristine. There is plenty left to be discovered about this shady period. Turkey is apart of the grain belt where they had the initial resource (the grain) to utilize. You don't see farming arising in places where an easily selected for and fast multiplying species is not found. Grains are the easiest to domesticate. Just like dogs were easier to domesticate that lions.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 23, 2012
at 12:26 AM

Amazing what they found in those bone piles @loon. I liked the auroch skull with horns attached.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 22, 2012
at 11:41 PM

I know what I'm gonna be reading for the next few days, very interesting.

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2 Answers

2
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on February 22, 2012
at 11:57 PM

No, there are no discoveries to be made. Everything has already been considered or discarded and all the cool kids have been re-elected to reign over paleo-as-we-know-it to the exclusion of all newcomers. In the mean time, I will be reading your link. But I am always skeptical of the conclusions of these finds but I like to read about it. Thanks.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 23, 2012
at 12:26 AM

Amazing what they found in those bone piles @loon. I liked the auroch skull with horns attached.

1
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on February 23, 2012
at 03:36 PM

Well, if this is up to 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, wouldn't it be roughtly at the beginning of the Neolithic era? Or we may have to acknowledge that the Neolithic era stretches back a lot longer than previously thought. What kind of grains were the ancient Turks eating and baking with their "ovens"? I suspect wheat of the Einkorn variety?

I thought the discovery that the ancient Chinese eating white rice up to 10,000 years ago was the furthest evidence of grain consumption. Perhaps people have been eating grains for a lot longer than thought.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:52 PM

It's the transitional elements that interest me. Domestication means animals and grain. I'd assume the ovens were used for both. And very significantly, this was not some vegetarian nirvana. Bones of small animals everywhere.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:01 PM

It's not like we just magically started domesticating grains. There was a process and I'm sure that process took thousands of years. 10,000 BCE is just a round about figure archaeologist use because this is when grains start to show precedence in the archaeological record. The Neolithic is defined by more that just grains, it was the emergence of different styles of tools and the use of crude pottery. I think they have found barley at Catalhoyuk, but it's been awhile since my classes on Syria-Palestine.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on February 25, 2012
at 06:27 AM

Divide 10,000 by about 25, the age when people reproduced. 400. That means we all probably have about 400 ancestors who ate a Neolithic, grain style diet. You would think that's probably enough ancestors for us to have fully adapted to grains. We know that that's not the case with wheat and corn because of genetic tinkering. However, it seems that most people who ate rice are very well adapted. I really don't know any Asians who cannot handle rice.

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