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Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31 (2012) 302313

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Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jaa

Animals and inequality in Chalcolithic central Anatolia

Benjamin S. Arbuckle
Baylor University, One Bear Place 97173, Waco, TX 76798-7173, USA

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 6 December 2010
Revision received 17 January 2012
Available online 23 February 2012
Herd management
Social complexity

a b s t r a c t
This paper explores the changing social and economic roles of livestock within three increasingly complex societies in Chalcolithic central Anatolia. By specically addressing practices associated with the
production, distribution and consumption of livestock, particularly sheep and goats, I show how changes
in the use of animals were dynamically linked to the emergence of new sociopolitical environments.
These changes, including the development of intensive caprine pastoralism and complex provisioning
systems as well as an increased focus on the production of secondary products, strongly suggest that control over animals, particularly sheep, and their products played a central role in the development of
increasingly complex and hierarchical social systems in MC Anatolia.
2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Charting the course of the rise of societies characterized by signicant and persistent inequalities has been a dominant topic in
the archaeology of southwestern Asia. Although Childes (1936)
inuential conception of Near Eastern prehistory was structured
around Neolithic and Urban Revolutions separated by millennia
of relatively little activity, recent work has shown that the origins
of complex societies characterized by a high degree of internal
inequality extend well back into the fth millennium, or Chalcolithic period, in Greater Mesopotamia where the Ubaid culture exhibits
many features signifying the emergence of managerial elites with
control over agricultural and exotic resources and signicant internal socio-economic differentiation (Algaze, 2008; Carter and Philip,
2010; Stein, 1994; Wengrow, 2010).
Despite recent interest in the development of increasingly complex societies in the Chalcolithic period (Duru, 1996; zbal et al.,
2000; Stein, 1998) relatively little is known about the development
of systems of persistent inequality in the early part of this period
(sixth and fth millennia BC), particularly in peripheral regions
such as central Anatolia where the rise of complexity is often
implicitly assumed to have been chronologically late and resulting
from contacts with more progressive neighbors to the south and
east (for discussion see Schoop, 2005).
In addition, most studies addressing the rise of social inequalities have focused on the role of elite control over agricultural products and high status, exotic commodities (Damerow, 1996; Stein,
1994; Wengrow, 2010) but few have systematically examined

E-mail address: benjamin_arbuckle@baylor.edu

0278-4165/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

the role of animals within increasingly complex pre-state societies.

Despite the fact that early texts from the late fourth and third millennia BC clearly indicate that animals and their diverse products
were central concerns of early states (Englund, 1995; Green,
1980; Killen, 1964), there have been few attempts to contextualize
the role of animals within the processes that led to the rise of complex societies in the ancient Near East (although see Algaze, 2008;
Pollack, 1999).
Recent trends in zooarchaeology have begun to expand beyond
the disciplines traditional emphasis on paleoeconomic approaches
to prehistoric animal economies to recognize and emphasize the
central social roles that animals play within complex social
environments (Defrance, 2009). This developing direction for zooarchaeological interpretation focuses on animals as highly socialized entities fully integrated within a range of cultural systems
and actively used in a wide variety of social contexts. Within this
paradigm it can be argued that animals are raised as much for
the social value that they confer upon their owners as for their
value as subsistence resourcesan unthinkable statement in the
early days of the discipline.
Although increasing attention has been focused on hunting as a
social performance (e.g., Hamilakis, 2003; Sykes, 2007) domestic
animals also have complex and multifaceted social lives
(Appadurai, 1986). Every stage in the process of raising domestic
animals provides an opportunity to communicate information
about social position, status, group membership, etc. The act of animal production creates herds which are highly visible symbols of
status, often marked with the symbols of ownership, and which
act as mobile banks reecting wealth (or poverty) and the ability
to mobilize valued resources (meat, fat, hides, etc.) as well as social
capital. Harvesting secondary products such as milk and especially

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B.S. Arbuckle / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31 (2012) 302313

wool provides another means to intensify the productive capacity

of herds thereby increasing their potential value in the production
of storable commodities. Slaughtering and distributing carcass portions, which are themselves ranked according to culturally-specic
preferences, become material reections of social difference and
whether in a household or public context provide opportunities
for inclusion or exclusion, emphasizing or potentially de-emphasizing social distinctions (Silverman, 2003; Wiessner, 1996). Strategies of animal management, therefore, can be seen not just in
terms of the subsistence resources they produce (e.g., Payne,
1973) but also within the multiple regimes of value (Appadurai,
1986, p. 4) in which animals operate linking them to processes involved in maintaining, creating, or subverting inequalities.
In this paper I examine the social production of animals and
their roles within the increasingly complex prestate societies of
Chalcolithic Anatolia (60003000 BC). Specically I turn to the
archaeological record of the central Anatolian plateau, including
the sites of Ksk Hyk, Gvercinkayas, and adr Hyk, with a
focus on understanding how changes in the use of animals, particularly sheep and goats, the most abundant domesticates, were
linked to social changes reecting the rise of increasing inequality
in this poorly understood region.

Chalcolithic central Anatolia

The Chalcolithic of central Anatolia clearly witnessed major
transformations in the scale and complexity of sociopolitical systems (Baird, 2005; dAlfonso, 2010; Schoop, 2005). From its beginnings in relatively egalitarian Neolithic villages the Chalcolithic
period on the central plateau records the development of increasingly complex pre-state societies characterized by settlement hierarchies, emergent elites, the use of administrative technologies
such as seals, large-scale public architecture and metallurgy. It
thus provides a productive context for exploring the changing roles
of animals within this dynamic social environment.
The Chalcolithic of Central Anatolia is generally divided into
Early, Middle, and Late phases (Sagona and Zimansky, 2009). The
Early Chalcolithic (EC) (c. 60005500 BC) is dened by distinctive
painted pottery and architecture but retains many similarities with
the preceding Neolithic (Baird, 1996, 2005; Duru, 2008). Settlements include small farming villages occupying up to four hectares
in area and lack clear evidence for centralization or hierarchy
(Baird, 2002). Moreover, the presence of nds such as a large copper mace head from Can Hasan I, the removal and caching of plastered human skulls, as well as human representations emphasizing
dancing, hunting and feasting suggest a decentralized but highly
ritualized and, likely, socially competitive environment (Erdogu,
2009; Muhly, 1995). Many of these features are exemplied at
the site of Ksk Hyk.
Ksk Hyk represents a small farming settlement located on
the eastern margin of the broad Konya-Eregli-Bor Plain. Excavated
between 1980 and 2009 by Ankara University archaeologists Ugur
Silistreli and then Aliye ztan in collaboration with the Nigde
Museum, Ksk Hyk represents the most important Final
Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic sequence (levels VII) in the region
(dating from 62005400 BC) (ztan, 2002, 2007, 2010; Silistreli,
1985, 1989).
The subsistence economy at EC Ksk was based on agriculture
and pastoralism (Arbuckle et al., 2009; ztan, 2010). Barley and
emmer wheat were grown, as were legumes including pea, lentil
and vetch. The EC occupation is characterized by crowded, small
and irregular domestic structures made of both mudbrick and
stone with internal hearths, platforms, and bins (Fig. 2A). The
ceramic corpus is unique to this region on the western margin of
Cappadocia and includes primarily red and black burnished wares


with prominent relief decorations including spectacular images of

animals as well as humans engaged in dancing, harvesting and
hunting activities (ztan, 2007).
Although burials are limited primarily to young children, variability in grave goods suggests some differences in the wealth
and status of households within the community (ztan, 2002;
Silistreli, 1986). The presence of infant burials with rich grave
goods including multiple vessels, stamp seals, and elaborate jewelry, and others with only a single sherd indicates that some
households had the ability to invest signicant amounts of material goods in the context of funerary ritual, whereas others did
not. Moreover, the presence of nineteen plastered and painted
skulls, elaborate gurines and a recently discovered wall painting,
indicate a prominent role for ritual within this community (Ozbek,
2009; ztan, 2010). That several of the plastered skulls present
evidence for trauma also suggests levels of interpersonal violence
previously unidentied in the region but which are now being
corroborated from other nds in EC Anatolian communities
(Bonogofsky, 2005; Kansa, 2009). Finally, the presence of stamp
seals with stylistic parallels to those of the Halaf tradition in southeastern Anatolia suggest both involvement in inter-regional
exchange as well as an early interest in administering the movement of goods (zkan, 2001).
The Middle Chalcolithic (MC), c. 55004500 BC, is characterized
by a cultural discontinuity with the EC in Central Anatolia with the
appearance of new forms of pottery, architecture, and settlement
plans (Glur, 2004; ztan, 2002). The few excavated MC settlements in the region exhibit internal variations in house size and
storage capacity and some exhibit impressive fortication walls
(ayl, 2009). These features, along with increasing evidence of
the use of copper and seals with stylistic links to the Halaf and
Ubaid traditions of Greater Mesopotamia, suggest both the presence of increasing variation in status and wealth within MC communities as well as signicant participation in inter-regional
exchange networks (Glur, 1999).
The MC occupation of Ksk Hyk (level I; 53004700 BC) represents a signicant cultural break from the earlier levels. Following a brief hiatus after the abandonment of the EC occupation, the
MC settlement was laid out according to a new plan with linear
banks of houses lining several wide, stone-paved streets (Fig. 2B).
It has been suggested that the regularity of this bauplan reects
a degree of higher-order and centralized decision-making not seen
in the organic growth of the EC village (ztan and Faydal, 2003).
The remains of MC houses conform, more or less, to a homogenous plan, including a roughly similar internal arrangement of
niches, platforms, hearths, ovens, and storage areas (ztan and
Faydal, 2003). Despite the homogeneity in house arrangement,
house size varies signicantly. Although identical to other houses
in internal arrangement, House II is approximately twice as large
as its neighbors, contains the largest storage capacity of any structure so far uncovered, and includes concentrations of grinding
stones. These features suggest that the residents of this structure
played a prominent, and perhaps central, role in the community.
The MC is also represented at the site of Gvercinkayas. Excavated since 1996 under the direction of Sevil Glr in cooperation
with the Aksaray Museum (Glur, 1997, 1999; Glur and Frat,
2005; Kiper and Glur, 2008), Gvercinkayas represents a small
(c. 12 ha) settlement overlooking the Melendiz river valley, an
important EastWest communication route through the region.
The site is contemporaneous with Ksk I, representing an MC
agro-pastoral village and the two sites exhibit many clear material
afnities with each other.
The settlement at Gvercinkayas was occupied from c.
53004700 BC, and consists of a lower and upper settlement
(Glur and Kiper, 2003) (Fig. 2C). The lower settlement consists
of a dense cluster of relatively small domestic structures oriented

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along a roughly EastWest trending street. The upper settlement

consists of a grouping of larger structures just west of the lower
settlement and is surrounded by an impressive wall feature. This
wall, which includes at least three round external towers, segregates the structures of the upper settlement from those of the lower settlement.
Two of the excavated structures of the upper settlement (H13
and H14) are roughly twice the size of those of the lower settlement (ayl, 2009), and include caches of grinding stones, multiple
large ovens, as well as storage jars (Pavl, 2003). These structures
also contain much larger ceramic assemblages than typical lower
settlement houses and a detailed study of the storage vessels in
Structure 13 reveals an estimated storage capacity of almost six
thousand kilograms of barley, compared to 245 kg in a typical
house of the lower settlement (ayl, 2009, pp. 119 and 130). In
addition, the small nds associated with these structures, including stamp seals with stylistic links to the Ubaid tradition, copper
tools, and imported painted ceramics indicate that this portion of
the settlement was associated with a unique range of potentially
high status activities (Kiper and Glur, 2008) (also see http://
The upper settlement at Gvercinkayas seems to have functioned as a specialized storage complex and ayl (2009, p. iii)
has suggested that the site may represent a type of small chiey estate. The elaborate enclosure wall protecting this area from both
internal and external intrusion, along with concentrations of prestige objects, suggests the presence of a surprisingly complex and
hierarchical political economy at MC Gvercinkayas characterized
by the presence of emergent managerial elites with the ability to
control signicant agricultural surpluses.
The Late Chalcolithic (LC), c. 45003000 BC, is poorly documented on the central plateau but work in the northern part of
the region has documented the rise of increasingly complex political economies, especially in the fourth millennium. Surveys in the

Yozgat region document the rise of three-tiered settlement hierarchies focused around small regional centers (Branting, 1996). Excavations at two of these centers, Alsar Hyk and adr Hyk,
show evidence for internal specialization, public works in the form
of enclosure walls, and non-domestic structures (Steadman et al.,
2007; von der Osten, 1937). In addition, evidence for metallurgy
and possibly the early appearance of domestic horses suggests participation in broad regional interaction spheres (Arbuckle, 2009;
Schoop, 2008).
adr Hyk provides a rare window into the nature of LC communities on the central Anatolian plateau. Excavated under the
auspices of the Alsar Regional Project since 1993, adr Hyk is
a small (four hectare) multi-period mound located on the northern
portion of the central Anatolian plateau in the Kanak Su basin,
Yozgat (Fig. 1) (Gorny, 2007; Gorny et al., 2002; Steadman et al.,
Based on the results of regional survey as well as excavation,
the site is one of several local centers to emerge in the fourth millennium BC in the Kanak Su Basin (Branting, 1996; Gorny et al.,
1999; Steadman et al., 2007). The excavated remains from LC adr
include evidence for public architecture, an enclosure wall, domestic and nondomestic structures, and a rich artifact inventory suggestive of a thriving economic and perhaps political and/or ritual
center (Fig. 2D). Evidence suggests the residents of the LC settlement were involved in bead, lithic, and textile production, while
ceramics nds and a high quality metal pin with parallels from
the Arslantepe royal tomb suggest connections within the broad
Transcaucasian interaction sphere (Steadman et al., 2007, p. 394).

Chalcolithic animal economies

The animal economy at EC Ksk focused on the management of
domestic sheep and goats combined with the hunting of cattle and

Fig. 1. Map showing the location of sites mentioned in the text. KH = Ksk Hyk; GK = Gvercinkayas; H = adr Hyk; T = atalhyk; CHI/III = Can Hasan I/III; Alisar
Hyk = AH.

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Fig. 2. Plan maps of (A) EC Ksk; (B) MC Ksk; (C) MC Gvercinkayas; (D) LC adr.

equids (Table 1). Although some cattle were managed, biometric

data indicate that the majority of cattle remains represent large
individuals, likely representing aurochsen. The importance of hunting is further emphasized by the abundance of wild equids, including both horses (Equus ferus) and hydruntines (E. hydruntinus),
which represent a surprising 23% of the EC assemblage. The remains
of deer and wild boar are also present in small numbers.
A combination of demographic and biometric data suggest that
strategies of sheep management focused on the production of lamb
(Payne, 1973; Vigne and Helmer, 2007). Survivorship curves indicate that sheep were culled at young ages with only 21% surviving
to 2 years (Fig. 3A) (see Supplementary material). Measurements of

the breadth of fused (mature) and unfused (immature) distal metacarpals, measurements that discriminate well between males and
females, show that few large males were allowed to survive to
adulthood suggesting that herders intensively culled surplus
males, leaving the adult population dominated by small-sized
ewes (Fig. 4A).
For goats, management was focused on the production of meat
and probably also milk, although the intensity of culling young animals was much lower than for sheep (Fig. 3B). As with sheep, biometric evidence shows that the majority of adult animals were
small-sized females suggesting that young males were disproportionately targeted for slaughter (Fig. 5A).

Table 1
Frequencies of the primary mammalian taxa from sites mentioned in the text (based on diagnostic specimens).

EC Ksk Hyk IIV

MC Ksk Hyk I
MC Gvercinkayas
LC adr

Sheep:goat ratio







Total N









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Fig. 3. Survivorship curves (based on tooth wear) for (A) sheep and (B) goats from EC Ksk, MC Ksk, MC Gvercinkayas, LC adr and Middle Bronze Age Acemhyk
(sample size in parentheses). adr data represents combined sheep/goat. Differentiation of sheep and goat teeth and mandibles based on Balasse and Ambrose (2005),
Halstead and Collins (2002), Helmer (2000) and Payne (1985).

Fig. 4. Log Size Index (LSI) values for distal breadth measurements of fused (black) and unfused (gray) metacarpals for sheep from (A) EC Ksk; (B) MC Ksk; (C) MC
Gvercinkayas; (D) LC adr (adr values represent all skeletal elements). The standard animal (0 on the LSI scale) represents a wild female mouon (Ovis orientalis) (after
Uerpmann and Uerpmann, 1994). Measurements for modern wild male and female sheep from the Zagros (from the Field Museum, Chicago) provide reference points for
interpreting the archaeological data.

The spatial distribution of sheep and goat remains suggests that

the provisioning system at EC Ksk was organized primarily on a
household scalea common feature of Anatolian economies
extending back into the Neolithic (Bogaard et al., 2009). All age
groups are represented but their distribution is highly variable
across the settlement. The wide range of ages available within
the EC community indicates that households had direct access to
herds and likely controlled production and made management
decisions themselves. This is further supported by skeletal part

proles, which represent the relative abundance of skeletal elements compared to the most abundant element (%MAU(MNE) after
Binford, 1984; Stiner, 2005). These data indicate that feet and especially heads (i.e., butchery waste) are abundant in domestic refuse
throughout the EC settlement suggesting that households had access to and processed entire caprine carcasses.
The EC settlement at Ksk is characterized by the presence of an
extensive network of large but shallow pit features concentrated in
the northwestern portion of the settlement. These features differ

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Fig. 5. Log Size Index (LSI) values for distal breadth measurements of fused (black) and unfused (gray) metacarpals for goats from (A) EC Ksk; (B) MC Ksk; (C) MC
Gvercinkayas; (D) LC adr (adr values represent all skeletal elements). The standard animal (0 on the LSI scale) represents the average of a wild male and female goat
(Capra aegagrus) (after Uerpmann and Uerpmann, 1994). Mean values and standard deviations for modern wild male and female goats from the Zagros (from Zeder, 2001)
provide reference points for interpreting the archaeological data.

from other types of midden deposits and house lls at the site and
are densely packed with ash, charcoal and thousands of charred
animal bones including the remains of sheep and goats, but also
large quantities of cattle (mostly aurochs) and wild equids. The
overwhelming abundance of animal resources represented in these
features, which likely functioned as roasting pits, indicates that
large-scale and public consumption of both domesticates and wild
prey was a regular part of the social system at EC Ksk.
The waste in these large roasting pits includes concentrations of
meaty caprine parts including forelimbs and hindlimbs (Fig. 6)
while foot and ankle remains are highly under-represented in
these features, as are heads, despite the fact that the latter are

the most abundant elements in the entire assemblage. This contrasts to the pattern for domestic contexts, including middens
adjacent to houses, where butchery waste, including heads, feet
and ankles, is better represented (Fig. 6). These contrasts between
skeletal part proles from roasting pits and domestic middens suggest a situation in which partially-processed caprine carcasses
were provided by individual households for consumption during
important events involving public feasting.
In addition, roasting pits contain higher concentrations of wild
taxa than typical domestic trash with large animals, including wild
equids and cattle, representing an average of 4262% of the
animals remains compared to 2129% from domestic contexts.

Fig. 6. Skeletal part representation for caprines from Ksk based on %MAU(MNE). Black represents a typical EC pit feature in area E9; grey represents a typical EC domestic
midden in area H12.

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Skeletal part proles for cattle and equids from roasting pits in area
F9 show skeletal part frequencies that indicate entire carcasses
were available for consumption at these feasting events (Fig. 7).
However, not all portions of the carcass are present in equal quantities suggesting that a cultural logic structured the apportionment
of beef and equid meat at these feasts.
For cattle, scapulae are the most abundant element, paralleling
the common use of this meaty element in commemorative deposits
at atalhyk (Russell et al., 2009), while elements including humerus, ulna, metapodials, and femora are under-represented (less
than 50% of %MAU) (Fig. 7A). Interestingly, this indicates that the
upper portions of both forelimbs and hindlimbs (humerus and femur) were under-represented, a pattern suggesting the presence
of rules relating to the distribution of these elements and the consumption of the sizable portions of meat and marrow associated
with themperhaps by the hunters/owners of the carcass. A similar
pattern is evident for equids (Fig. 7C): the innominate and scapula
are the most common elements along with metapodials, which
are unusually abundant in these pit features, while the elements
of the upper portions of fore and hindlimbs limbs are underrepresented.
In contrast, skeletal part frequencies for cattle from domestic
contexts show a different pattern in which remains often classied
as butchery waste, including metapodials and feet, are well represented, while the most abundant elements in the pit features
(scapula, tibia, and talus) are under-represented (Fig. 7B). This pattern is complementary to that of the pit features suggesting that
the distribution of cattle remains was structured by a complex

set of rules with some carcass portions consumed in public feasting

events while other portions were distributed for consumption by
individual households.
The transition to the MC at Ksk is characterized by signicant
changes in the animal economy. In the MC sheep and goats increase dramatically (to 83% of the fauna) and wild taxa, especially
cattle and equids decline in importance. Among cattle remains,
biometric data indicate that only domestic cattle, likely used for
a combination of meat, milk, and perhaps traction, were present;
aurochs were no longer hunted. In addition, equids decline to less
than 5% of the MC faunal assemblage.
In addition to becoming the most important source of animal
products, sheep and goat management systems underwent a reorganization in the MC. Although biometric data indicate that young
male sheep were still intensively targeted for slaughter with few
surviving into adulthood, measurements of fused metapodials are
signicantly larger in the MC than in the EC (t-test, p < 0.01)
(Fig. 4B). This is the result of an increase in the proportion of large,
adult males surviving to adulthood and could be related to changes
in multiple variables including reduced demand for lamb, an increase in the availability of labor and fodder for feeding excess
males over the winter, and increased interest in the products of
adult male sheep including wool (Arbuckle et al., 2009; Payne,
1973). That wool production may have been increasingly
important is further supported by changes in demographic data
showing an overall increase in the ages at which sheep were
slaughtered at MC Ksk (Fig. 3A). Moreover, recent isotopic studies
conducted on caprine teeth suggest that MC herding practices

Fig. 7. Skeletal part representations from Ksk based on %MAU(MNE). (A) Cattle from EC pit features in area F9; (B) cattle from EC domestic middens in area H1011; (C)
equids from EC pit features.

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were characterized by changes in mobility, behaviors that likely included elements of vertical transhumance utilizing the uplands
surrounding the site as summer pasturage zones or yaylas (Makarewicz and Arbuckle, 2009; Meiggs and Arbuckle, 2010).
The hypothesis for an increasingly mobile pastoral economy in
the MC is supported by the increasingly homogenous distribution
of age groups across the settlement. The variance in the horizontal
distribution of age groups is signicantly lower in MC Ksk than in
the EC settlement (t-test, p < 0.01) suggesting increasing homogeneity in access to animal products and a spatial decoupling of
pastoral production from agricultural villages. That households in
the MC may have had increasingly indirect access to herds suggests
that livestock were not present in the immediate vicinity of the
settlement for much of the year and that villagers were provisioned with animals by seasonally mobile herders.
Despite the evidence for changes in sheep management, the
management of goats at MC Ksk remained conservative and largely unchanged. The survivorship curve for MC Ksk goats is indistinguishable from the EC pattern (KolmogorovSmirnov test,
p > 0.05) indicating a continuation of culling practices focused on
mature individuals (Fig. 3B). Biometric data for metapodials indicate that the majority of these adult specimens represent small
females, which suggests that young males were targeted for
slaughter (Fig. 5B).
Although more detailed analysis of horizontal variations in skeletal part proles is hampered by complex stratigraphic issues,
there is some preliminary evidence of spatial segregation between
butchery and processing which may hint at the presence of an
internal provisioning system. In deposits associated with House II
(J12/Ia; MNE = 218), the largest structure in the MC settlement,
skeletal part proles show higher than average concentrations of
forelimbs and lower than average concentrations of butchery
waste, including both heads and feet. Although the differences between these values and the site-wide averages are not statistically
signicant (Chi-square test, p > 0.05), they hint at the presence of
an internal provisioning system that may have provided the residents of this prominent house with preferential access to high
quality cuts of meat. More clear evidence for such a system is
available at MC Gvercinkayas.
The animal economy at MC Gvercinkayas parallels that documented at MC Ksk with sheep and goat herding representing the
dominant activity with lesser roles for cattle management and the
hunting of equids, deer, and boar (Table 1). Both demographic and
biometric data suggest that strategies of sheep and goat management at Gvercinkayas focused on the production of meat, milk
and perhaps also wool (Arbuckle et al., 2009; Buitenhuis, 1999).
Survivorship curves indicate an increase in the age at which sheep
were culled compared to both EC and MC Ksk (Kolmogorov
Smirnov test, p < 0.05) with 58% of sheep surviving to two years,
a pattern similar to that seen at the nearby Bronze Age site of Acemhyk where both zooarchaeological and textual data suggest
wool production was practiced (Arbuckle, forthcoming) (Fig. 3A).
Although this interest in older sheep is suggestive of management
goals focused on the production of wool, biometric data indicate
that males were preferentially slaughtered at younger ages than
females (Fig. 4C), contrary to the predictions of models of intensive
ber production (Payne, 1973). This indicates that at Gvercinkayas the production of wool, which has also been suggested for
the fth millennium in the Ubaid culture (Sudo, 2010), was not
yet specialized or intensive, but instead probably represented
one of several mixed goals of herd management. For goats, survivorship curves and biometrics again indicate the presence of conservative management strategies similar to those from EC and MC
Ksk (Figs. 3B and 5C).
As at MC Ksk, the increase in the culling age and limited access
to lambs at Gvercinkayas suggests increasing spatial segregation


between villages and pastoral production. It is therefore likely that

the settlement was provisioned through an increasingly complex,
large-scale and mobile pastoral system.
In addition, intra-site analysis of skeletal part proles suggest the
development of an internal provisioning system at Gvercinkayas.
The distribution of skeletal parts across the lower settlement exhibits a low degree of variation, similar to the situation at MC Ksk.
Both consumption and butchery waste are present in domestic
refuse throughout the lower settlement as well, indicating that
households had direct access to entire carcasses which were processed and consumed within those households. However, loci from
the upper settlement, representing the special storage complex
present a different pattern, with butchery waste, particularly heads,
almost completely absent (Chi-square test, p < 0.001). This suggests
that those with access to the upper settlement were provided with
high quality cuts of meat that may have been initially butchered in
other parts of the site. Interestingly, concentrations of butchery
waste have been identied in deposits from Area 5J of the lower
settlement, suggesting that initial processing of carcasses for
consumption in the upper settlement may have taken place in this
area of the settlement.
Research on the Chalcolithic animal economy at adr is in an
early stage with limited horizontal exposures of LC deposits
restricting the detail with which provisioning and consumption
systems can be addressed. However, systems of animal production
can be reconstructed in some detail (Arbuckle, 2009).
The animal economy at LC adr exhibits several signicant
changes from the earlier Chalcolithic systems in the region. First,
although the economy continued to be dominated by sheep and
goats (48% of the fauna), domestic cattle and pigs increased in
importance (Table 1). Secondly, demographic evidence indicates
a major change in the goals of caprine management. Due to small
sample sizes, separate survivorship curves could not be generated
for sheep and goats but the combined sheep/goat curve indicates
that adult caprines were culled at signicantly older ages than in
previous periods (KolmogorovSmirnov test, p < 0.05), with 83%
surviving to two years (Fig. 3). In addition, biometric data indicate
that fused specimens are on average signicantly larger than those
from Ksk and Gvercinkayas (ANOVA, p < 0.05) and that, for the
rst time, large numbers of male sheep were allowed to survive
into adulthood (Fig. 4D).
Although adult rams do not produce milk and only a few are
needed for herd reproduction, they do produce high quality
wool. The presence of large numbers of adult rams at LC adr
is therefore very strong evidence for the initiation of management strategies focused on the production of wool in central
Anatolia. Since raising large numbers of male caprines to adulthood is an expensive strategy that takes potential resources
away from herd reproduction, sheep management practices at
adr suggest considerable investment in the intensive production of wool, likely as a commodity rather than for local household consumption.
In contrast, biometric data do not indicate a comparable focus
on raising male goats to adulthood. As was the case at previous
sites, goat management seems to have focused on a conservative
and relatively old kill-off strategy (Fig. 3). The lack of biometric evidence for large, adult goats suggests that young males were generally not allowed to survive to adulthood, although, as was the case
at Ksk, the lack of remains of immature males suggests that they
were not available for consumption onsite (Fig. 5D). This, along
with the generally narrow range of ages (mostly 46 year old
adults) available for consumption within the small area of the LC
settlement so far explored, suggests that households did not have
direct access to herds and that the settlement was provisioned
with meat by local herders who were likely seasonally mobile, at
least within the Kanak Su basin.

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B.S. Arbuckle / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31 (2012) 302313

The combination of archaeological and fauna evidence from
Ksk, Gvercinkayas, and adr provide a unique picture of the
rise of increasingly complex and hierarchical societies on the central Anatolian plateau in the Chalcolithic period and at the same
time show that animals played central roles in the dynamic social
changes taking place within these societies.
At EC Ksk, sheep management was the dominant component of
the pastoral economy, focusing on the production of lamb and perhaps milk, while a more conservative strategy of goat management
targeted older animals for the smaller-scale production of meat,
skins, and milk. Both production and provisioning systems were
organized primarily by households for household consumption.
However, several lines of evidence suggest that the production,
distribution and consumption of animals played an important role
outside of individual households. At EC Ksk, large-scale, socially
empowering feasting events, evident from the remains of large
roasting pits as well as the abundance of elaborately decorated
ceramic vessels (ztan, 2010), provided a major context for social
competition with the acts of production, apportioning, and consumption of domestic and wild animals both reecting and renegotiating social status within this household-based community.
Skeletal part distributions in feasting deposits suggest that partially processed caprine carcasses including concentrations of
meaty parts were provided for these events, probably by individual
households. In addition, both wild and domestic cattle and equids
were apportioned according to cultural rules with scapulae and
lower leg elements provided for public consumption while the
upper elements of the fore and hindlimb were distributed
Through the provisioning of both wild and domestic animals as
well as the apportionment of individual carcass parts based on
well-dened and hierarchical rules, these events would have provided highly visible opportunities for the expression of social
inequalities functioning as what Dietler (2001, p. 76) has called
empowering feasts with subtle but real political consequences
for those able to give generously. These feasting performances
likely created socially sanctioned competitive environments, or
tournaments of value (Appadurai, 1986), in which prestige and
informal power were actively sought by multiple parties. Thus,
the ability to give generously and to be apportioned high quality
cuts of meat at public feasting events may have been central mechanisms by which social differences were measured and dened
(Black-Michaud, 1986; Dietler, 2001; Helwing, 2003). These types
of socially important, and potentially competitive feasting activities have a long history in the Near East where gastro-politics
(Appadurai, 1981, p. 494) seem to have been a fundamental
component of many Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities
(Ben-Shlomo et al., 2009; Bogaard et al., 2009; Goring-Morris and
Horwitz, 2007; Helwing, 2003; Kansa and Campbell, 2004; Twiss,
Although the EC system at Ksk was fundamentally rooted in
local Neolithic traditions, major changes in economic and social
organization characterize the transition to the MC in central
Anatolia. In the MC, we see increasing material evidence of social
differentiation with the emergence of increasingly complex economies, inequalities in house size, the appearance of seals and copper, and centralized settlement planning. In particular, evidence
from the fortied upper settlement at Gvercinkayas with its concentrations of storage and food processing equipment suggests
that emergent elites were able to control and store signicant agricultural surpluses. To add to this picture, the faunal data indicate
that the emergence of managerial elites was accompanied by a major restructuring of the animal economy characterized by the

appearance of intensive caprine pastoralism and complex provisioning systems.

At both Ksk and Gvercinkayas, faunal data suggest that pastoralism in the MC became more complex with an increasingly mobile and specialized pastoral sector likely provisioning entire
settlements rather than simply individual households. Given
ayls (2009) interpretation of Gvercinkayas as a chiey estate
with the ability to control agricultural surplus, it seems likely that
caprine herds were also an important source of wealth in this early
complex society. Not only does the signicant increase in the
importance of sheep and goats in the animal economy suggest an
increased concern with herds as highly visible sources of wealth,
but changes in sheep management suggest that wool production
may have become an increasingly important factor in pastoral
management strategies. This indicates an early interest in the production of storable commodities, perhaps for use in developing exchange relationships. Skeletal part distributions also suggest that
at Gvercinkayas, and possibly at MC Ksk as well, internal provisioning systems provided emergent elites with partially processed
caprine carcasses, thus differentiating them from other households
in these communities.
Along with a decline in big game hunting and a total disappearance of the public feasting events that characterized the highly
socialized animal economy of the EC, the rise of complex provisioning systems and a specialized caprine economy suggests a major
reorientation of the social role of animals, animal symbolism, and
animal wealth in MC Central Anatolia. Instead of reecting a competitive but fundamentally inclusive social environment characterized by community-oriented empowered feasting the MC system
seems to have reoriented the roles of the production, apportionment and consumption of animals, transforming them into more
explicit symbols of wealth and inequality within a society characterized by increasing centralization and social differentiation. In
the MC, herds were therefore transformed from empowering to
diacritical resources with large ocks and preferential access to
high quality animal products reective of the status of emergence
managerial elites, and functioning to naturalize and reify concepts
of ranked differences in the status of social orders (Dietler, 2001,
p. 85).
It is interesting to note that storage complexes of the upper settlement at Gvercinkayas took the form of over-sized domestic
structures suggesting that emergent managerial elites structured
control using the metaphor of the household but enlarged in scale
and function. This framing of the new MC social system within the
fundamentally Neolithic lexicon of households suggests that early
managerial elites were limited in their ability to express increasing
inequalities with material amboyancy yet successfully created a
system based on controlling and concentrating both agricultural
and pastoral resources.
Finally, the meager amount of archaeological data available
from LC Anatolia suggests that pastoral production strategies
changed dramatically in this period in response to an increasingly
complex economic and political landscape. The emergence of
three-tiered settlement hierarchies and local walled centers with
evidence for metallurgy, textile production and participation in inter-regional exchange indicate signicant increases in the degree
of social differentiation and in the political and economic power
of local elites (Schoop, 2009; Steadman et al., 2007; von der Osten,
1937). In this dynamic social context pastoral production changed
dramatically with the emergence of strategies of sheep management focused on the production of wool.
Although animal bers, including wool, were likely used on a
household scale throughout the Chalcolithic (McCorriston, 1997;
Payne, 1988; Shishlina et al., 2003; Sudo, 2010), demographic proles and biometrics from adr indicate strategies consistent with

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B.S. Arbuckle / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31 (2012) 302313

intensive investment in wool production (Arbuckle, 2009). Given

the abundance of expensive-to-maintain adult male sheep at LC
adr compared to earlier Chalcolithic sites in the region, it is clear
that this change represents a major reorganization of management
strategies emphasizing the production of a commodity, wool, over
subsistence-level production. Although these changes may have
been foreshadowed by the subtle increase in the production of animal bers in the MC, this shift to commodity production represents
a major transformation of the animal economy (Renfrew, 2005;
Rothman, 2000) likely driven by a combination of emerging competitive elites, growing regional markets for textiles, and the
increasingly active intra- and inter-regional exchange networks
evident throughout the Near East in the LC (Algaze, 2001;
Rothman, 2004). This shows that the production of animals, particularly sheep, was an important tool used to structure the economic
foundations of emerging wealth and power differentiation in LC
Anatolian communities.

In this article, I have attempted to contextualize the organization of animal economies within the increasingly complex societies
of Chalcolithic central Anatolia. The ability to acquire, distribute
and consume animals was of central social signicance in EC,
MC, and LC communities, although animal wealth and symbolism
were used in different ways, within different social environments,
to structure inequalities.
Some components of Anatolian animal economies were clearly
actively recruited and reorganized to reify, legitimize, and perhaps
help create the increasingly differentiated and centralized social
systems that developed in the Chalcolithic period. In particular,
the production of sheep and sheep products was actively manipulated in order to generate wealth, status, and social opportunities.
This is reected in the dynamic changes in sheep production regimes including an increasing preference for sheep over other taxa
(Table 1), dramatic shifts in the ages at which sheep were culled
(see Fig. 3A), and the development of increasingly large-scale and
mobile pastoral systems. The manipulation of sheep production
in response to opportunities for wealth accumulation culminated
in the LC at adr Hyk with the emergence of herding systems
focused on intensive wool production, probably for external markets rather than local consumption.
However, not all aspects of the animal economy were equally
affected by the social changes occurring in MC and LC Anatolia.
In contrast to sheep, goat management strategies remained largely
unchanged throughout the Chalcolithic, a period of three millennia
(Fig. 3B). This suggests that goats and their products (e.g., meat,
milk, hair) had less complex social lives in Anatolian communities and were not actively recruited into the dramatic social processes taking place in the Chalcolithic. Perhaps because of limited
markets for and low valuation of goat products, goat management
seems to have been one of the few components of the animal economy characterized by risk reduction, subsistence level production,
and overall conservatism. This parallels, and suggests great antiquity for, the role played by goats in many recent pastoral economies where they are kept by households on a small scale for
subsistence level production and as a hedge against failures in
the more specialized, intensive and risky (but potentially highly
rewarding) production of sheep (Bates, 1973; Behnke, 1980;
Black-Michaud, 1986).
As a result of the fact that animals are ubiquitous sources of
wealth and the processes of producing, distributing and consuming
them are fundamentally reective of social inequalities (at a variety of scales) it can be suggested that faunal remains provide a unique window into the nature of the rise of early complex social


systems. Since animal economies may have been one of the fundamental tools used by aspiring elites to expand and reify inequalities, detailed and socially contextualized studies of systems of
animal exploitation provide a productive way to explore the early
stages of the development of social inequalities even in prehistoric
periods such as the Chalcolithic of central Anatolia where artifactual representations of social difference are often not yet strongly
expressed. As a result, there is great potential for incorporating
detailed analyses of animal economies into studies of the rise of
complex societies where examining their roles outside of the traditional subsistence economy offers exciting avenues for future
Faunal research at Ksk, Gvercinkayas and adr was supported by an NSF doctoral dissertation improvement grant, the
American Research Institute in Turkey, and Baylor University. Special thanks to Aliye ztan, Sevil Glur, Ron Gorny, and Sharon
Steadman for supporting this project and to the Nigde, Aksaray,
and Yozgat Museums as well as the General Directorate of Monuments and Museum for permission to carry out this research.
Thanks also to Hijlke Buitenhuis, A. Levent Atc, Richard Meadow,
and Cheryl Makarewicz. Joshua Wright and two anonymous
reviewers read and provided helpful comments on previous drafts
of this paper.
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