A forager-herder trade-off, from broad-spectrum hunting to sheep management at Aşikli Höyük, Turkey

Mary C. Stiner, Hijlke Buitenhuis, Güneş Duru, Steven L. Kuhn, Susan M. Mentzer, Natalie D. Munro, Nadja Pöllath, Jay Quade, Georgia Tsartsidou, Mihriban Özbaşaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Aşikli Höyük is the earliest known preceramic Neolithic mound site in Central Anatolia. The oldest Levels, 4 and 5, spanning 8,200 to approximately 9,000 cal B.C., associate with round-house architecture and arguably represent the birth of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic in the region. Results from upper Level 4, reported here, indicate a broad meat diet that consisted of diverse wild ungulate and small animal species. The meat diet shifted gradually over just a few centuries to an exceptional emphasis on caprines (mainly sheep). Age-sex distributions of the caprines in upper Level 4 indicate selective manipulation by humans by or before 8,200 cal B.C. Primary dung accumulations between the structures demonstrate that ruminants were held captive inside the settlement at this time. Taken together, the zooarchaeological and geoarchaeological evidence demonstrate an emergent process of caprine management that was highly experimental in nature and oriented to quick returns. Stabling was one of the early mechanisms of caprine population isolation, a precondition to domestication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8404-8409
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 10 2014


  • Caprine domestication
  • Stabling deposits
  • Zooarchaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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