Date of Graduation
Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
Second Committee Member
Mesowear, Microwear, Neolithic Revolution, Sheep Domestication
The Neolithic Revolution marked a dramatic change in human subsistence practices. In order to explain this change, we must understand the motive forces behind it. Researchers have proposed many different stimuli, with most theories invoking environmental dynamics, human population density increases beyond environmental carrying capacity, and the natural outgrowth of human and plant/animal interactions. However, unanswered questions remain concerning the mechanics of animal domestication. Traditional studies of changing faunal morphology and skeletal population profiles offer some clues, but such research has had limited success identifying stages intermediate between wild and domesticated forms, which makes it difficult to discern initial attempts at animal control, and to fully understand this process.
This dissertation research brings the tools of dental microwear and mesowear to bear on the issue of animal domestication at the site of Gritille, Turkey. Dental microwear and dental mesowear of zooarcheological materials from the site should allow us to identify diet changes related to husbandry (control of movement and penning animals), and to determine whether the process was gradual or abrupt. This in turn will lead to a better understanding of the causes and mechanics of animal domestication during the Neolithic Revolution.
Gritille was occupied during the Neolithic, encompassing the period of animal domestication (traditional faunal analysis methods point to sheep domestication at the site). Collection methods recovered both flora and fauna from the Neolithic occupation, providing Ovis (sheep) remains whose diet can be tracked over the period. The Neolithic period was broken down into three periods. Each period provided statistically significant dental mesowear and microwear signatures, indicating the evolution of human control (domestication) of animals at this site. Expansion of these methods to other sites allows comparison to understand how similar Neolithic people handled their animals. Further, comparing the Neolithic animals to wild animals from the Near East allows understanding of how humans modified the wild, natural diet and provides information on the types of environments the Neolithic animals were provided.
Zolnierz, Melissa, "Tempo and Mode of Domestication During the Neolithic Revolution: Evidence from Dental Mesowear and Microwear of Sheep" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 2181.
Available for download on Friday, August 02, 2019