An analysis of modified human teeth at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey

Haddow, Scott D.; Tsoraki, Christina; Vasić, Milena; Dori, Irene; Knüsel, Christopher J.; Milella, Marco (2019). An analysis of modified human teeth at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 28, p. 102058. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102058

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The use of human teeth for ornamental purposes is archaeologically documented from the European Upper Palaeolithic, and, sporadically, during the subsequent Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. To date, no examples of this practice are available for the Near East during this timeframe. This contribution presents three human teeth from Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Central Anatolia, Turkey; 7100–6000 cal BC) that appear to have been modified for use as pendants. Macroscopic, microscopic and radiographic analyses confirm the modification and use of two out of three of these finds. The two confirmed pendants were likely extracted from the skeletonised remains of mature and old adults, carefully drilled, and worn for a variable period of time. The rarity of such artefacts in the prehistoric Near East suggests a profound symbolic meaning for this practice and these objects, and provides new insights into the funerary customs and symbolic importance of the use of human body parts during the Neolithic of the Near East.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Milella, Marco

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)

ISSN:

2352-409X

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Sandra Lösch

Date Deposited:

03 Jan 2020 14:02

Last Modified:

05 Jan 2020 02:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102058

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Anatolia, Near East, Microwear analysis, Personal adornment, Material culture

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.136901

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/136901

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