Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


16 January 2010

Private pantries and celebrated surplus: storing and sharing food at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia

Amy Bogaard, Michael Charles, Katheryn C. Twiss, Andrew Fairbairn, Nurcan Yalman, Dragana Filipović, G. Arzu Demirergi, Füsun Ertuğ, Nerissa Russell & Jennifer Henecke Antiquity 83, No. 321 (September 2009): 649–668.


In the Neolithic megasite at Çatalhöyük families lived side by side in conjoined dwellings, like a pueblo. It can be assumed that people were always in and out of each others’ houses – in this case via the roof. Social mechanisms were needed to make all this run smoothly, and in a tour-de-force of botanical, faunal and spatial analysis the authors show how it worked. Families stored their own produce of grain, fruit, nuts and condiments in special bins deep inside the house, but displayed the heads and horns of aurochs near the entrance. While the latter had a religious overtone they also remembered feasts, episodes of sharing that mitigated the provocations of a full larder.


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