Insights from archaeobotany, anthracology and stable isotope analysis
Growing, felling, eating and trading in the Early and Middle Bronze Age of central Turkey (3000-1000 cal BC): Insights from archaeobotany, anthracology and stable isotope analysis
In the third and second millennia BC (3000-1000 BC) central Anatolia’s high plateau saw the emergence of state-based societies, international trade networks and regional imperial hegemony in the form of the Hittite state. While the framework of political changes for this period is now mapped out, the details of central Anatolia’s economic, social and political transformation is less clear, mainly due to the paucity of archaeological data systematically collected from stratified sites. The organisation of agropastoral economy, on which the stability of all Bronze Age societies was dependent, is particularly badly known. It has to be assumed that the organisation of agricultural production and supply, including trade, were affected by increasing population, social stratification, centralisation of power and globalisation during this period, however to date almost no relevant data has been generated directly to investigate such changes in the region. As such we are reliant on global models of political economy derived from elsewhere to help interpret and understand economic organisation.
This seminar provides an update on work undertaken by UQ’s archaeobotanical research community on the history of economic change in the Anatolian Bronze Age on the sites of Kaman Kalehöyük, Büklükale and Kültepe. Using the analysis of seeds, wood charcoal (anthracology) and stable isotopes the seminar presents observations on the emergence of plant trade networks, especially in high status, exotic items, the organisation of agricultural supply for urban centres, long term histories of wood exploitation and anthropogenic landscape impact, the nature of EBA-MBA climate change, and its effect on agricultural potential. In doing so we demonstrate the potential for disentangling the Bronze Age economy and identify regionally distinctive traits that suggest divergence from expected organisational ‘norms’ for the period.
About the presenter
I started my archaeological career in 1988, working on the excavation of Blawearie Cairn in my native Northumberland (UK). I studied at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL (London) gaining BSc Archaeology (1991), MSc Bio and Geoarchaeology (1992) and PhD (2001), specialising in the study of plant macrofossil remains, such as seeds, fruits, leaves and wood, from archaeological sites to reconstruct past environments and economic practices. I also developed a large consulting portfolio, working as an environmental archaeologist for the Museum of London Archaeology Service (1993-1994) and UCL Geoarchaeology Unit (1992-1993) and as an independent contractor (1994-2001). From 1999-2001 I worked as a research assistant for the Catalhoyuk Research Project, based at Cambridge University and during that time moved to Australia. From 2001 - 2004 I worked at The Australian National University in Canberra as a research assistant to the Engendering Roman Spaces Project and then received a research fellowship at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. I moved to UQ in January 2006. My research interests are currently focused on the origins of agriculture in Central Anatolia (Turkey) and the later development of the region's state economies. I also work in Australasia where I have been developing plant macrofossil techniques to disentangle ancient tree-fruit use and the development of food production in Papua New Guinea. My wife and I have two children and live in Witta in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.