House and home at Çatalhöyük: Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope evidence from people and their animals

Start: Jan 27, 2014 04:00 PM

Location: Room 612, Institute of Archaeology

House and home at Çatalhöyük

Jessica Pearson (University of Liverpool) will give the third seminar in the Term II Institute Research Seminar series on Isotopes in Archaeology on 27 January.


This paper outlines the results of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen from humans and animals at Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic site in central Turkey. The data presented reveal not just what the inhabitants ate but, more importantly, how they compare with others in the same house. The data show that individuals from the same burial or house often have different diets to one another. In addition, using faunal samples taken only from adjacent middens to formulate a house-specific foodweb indicates that these fauna did not generally make up the majority of the diet of any potential house-dweller. Therefore, few people buried beneath particular houses generated the middens near their burial house suggesting they did not live there long term, and that those buried under the same house did not eat together regularly. Overall, the isotope evidence allows the formulation of the hypothesis that some elements of social organisation and the use of houses at Çatalhöyük were dictated by highly complex sociopolitical factors rather than simple domestic and/or biological ones.

The seminar will take place at 4pm in Room 612 at the Institute and will be followed by a reception in the Staff Common Room (Room 609).

All welcome!

Any enquiries about the seminar series may be directed to Ian Freestone.

Institute Research Seminar Programme | Isotopes in Archaeology