Simultaneous thin section and phytolith observations of finely stratified deposits from Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey: implications for paleoeconomy and Early Holocene paleoenvironment
Article first published online: 10 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Quaternary Science
Volume 26, Issue 6, pages 576–588, August 2011
How to Cite
Shillito, L.-M. (2011), Simultaneous thin section and phytolith observations of finely stratified deposits from Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey: implications for paleoeconomy and Early Holocene paleoenvironment. J. Quaternary Sci., 26: 576–588. doi: 10.1002/jqs.1470
- Issue published online: 10 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 10 AUG 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 NOV 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 22 OCT 2010
- Manuscript Received: 28 MAR 2010
Simultaneous thin section and phytolith observations of finely stratified anthropogenic deposits from the Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük, Turkey, dated between 7400 and 6000 BC provide evidence for both the depositional context and phytolith assemblage of these deposits. Although extracted phytoliths provide a general picture of vegetation that supports existing evidence of a local wet marshland environment, comparisons with observations of phytoliths in situ indicate a diverse range of microcontexts, as well as depositional and post-depositional processes that influence phytolith size. This has implications for studies that use conjoined phytolith size as a proxy for water availability and early agricultural practices. Observations indicate a significant background noise of phytoliths and micro-charcoal in the deposits, linked to the frequent use of fire, which has implications for interpreting assemblages where phytolith counts are low, such as from floors of buildings. This study confirms the usefulness of phytoliths in providing information on human plant use and environment where the taphonomy of the deposits is clear, and provides new evidence for wet farming of at least some of the wheat found at the site. It also suggests there needs to be greater consideration of phytolith taphonomy, which can be provided to an extent by combining phytolith analysis with thin section micromorphology. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.