Wild Meets Domestic at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey

Author(s): Nerissa Russell

Year: 2017


One of the classic ways the nature/culture dichotomy manifests itself in human interactions with the environment is through the categories of wild and domestic. Some have argued that this distinction is not helpful, and certainly the boundaries are complicated, but it seems most useful to start by asking whether it was meaningful to particular people in the past. Here I will explore whether wild and domestic were relevant concepts to the inhabitants of Çatalhöyük (Central Anatolia), and to some extent in the Neolithic Near East more generally, in their relations with animals. I will argue that this was in fact a crucial distinction that shaped economic choices as well as ritual activities. Differential treatment of wild and domestic animals indicates that they were accorded different forms of personhood. The intensity of human relations with wild cattle in Central Anatolia engendered active resistance to herding domestic cattle for several centuries. This was not an issue for sheep and goats in Central Anatolia, nor, apparently, for cattle further east.

Cite this Record

Wild Meets Domestic at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Nerissa Russell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429871)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14477