Explanatory Frameworks in Zooarchaeological Research: Are Dichotomies Necessary and Meaningful?

Author(s): Levent Atici

Year: 2018


Zooarchaeologists have often employed binary oppositions such as "urban consumers" and "rural producers" and distinguished between centralized/regulated and decentralized/unregulated animal economies with direct/indirect food provisioning systems to elucidate pastoral economies of early complex societies. As zooarchaeologists, we are tasked with bridging more abstract and ideational anthropological variables with the archaeological hard evidence as well as with a narrower set of more explicit zooarchaeological measures, thus moving from heavily fragmented animal bones to complex and abstract human behaviors. A large corpus of cuneiform tablets from the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1750 BC) urban center of Kanesh (the archaeological site of Kültepe, Kayseri, Turkey) provide direct and indirect evidence for various aspects of agropastoral economy and offer detailed information on food ways with specific reference to animals. Thus, we have a unique opportunity to question the applicability and meaningfulness of dichotomized approaches to organization of every state or society in the ancient Near East or elsewhere. Theoretically, I focus on centralization and bureaucratic control, asymmetrical access and inequalities, and production-distribution-consumption dynamics. Methodologically, I bring together as many independent lines of evidence as possible with special emphasis on combined use of zooarchaeological and historical data to develop comprehensive and fine-resolution pictures.

Cite this Record

Explanatory Frameworks in Zooarchaeological Research: Are Dichotomies Necessary and Meaningful?. Levent Atici. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444567)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 34.277; min lat: 13.069 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 42.94 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21718