Paper No. 205-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
EVIDENCE OF URINE IN A NEOLITHIC TELL IN RELATION TO ANIMAL DOMESTICATION
Aşıklı Höyük is a preceramic Neolithic tell located in central Anatolia occupied from approximately >8,300 to 7,400 BCE. The site contains some of the earliest evidence of goat and sheep domestication in the Near East. Here we examined the major element composition of tell refuse for evidence of urination associated with corralling of animals. We measured Cl-, Na+, and NO3- levels in the refuse well in excess of other potential sources of these anions, such as rain and wood ash. At this point our analysis does not discriminate between human and animal urine, since they differ little compositionally. However, the inventory of these elements appears too large to be accounted by the presumably modest human populations on the tell, and points to corralling of hundreds of animals on the tell during occupation. Future analysis will focus expanding the sample size and on spatial distribution of NO3-, Na+, and Cl- in relation to caprine dung layers in the tell as a way of discriminating human versus caprine urine in the mound. We also use major refuse element compositions to estimate mass losses and mound compaction due to the “composting” effect of organic remains.