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Keywords:

  • Animal exploitation;
  • Capra aegagrus;
  • Epipaleolithic;
  • Hunter-gatherer;
  • Taurus mountains;
  • Turkey;
  • Wild goat

ABSTRACT

Newly initiated research at Direkli cave is helping to define an initial understanding of Epipaleolithic hunter-gatherer traditions in the central Taurus region of southern Turkey. Detailed analysis of the Direkli faunal assemblage suggests that in the late Epipaleolithic the cave functioned as a short-term logistical camp used to intercept wild goats (Capra aegagrus) in the high peaks around the cave, primarily in the late summer and fall. In addition, hunters opportunistically exploited deer and a variety of other small taxa, including tortoise, in the forested vicinity of the site. Evidence for low intensity and seasonal occupation of the cave indicates that Epipaleolithic foragers in the region were highly mobile, utilised a wide range of resources, but primarily scheduled use of the cave in order to exploit high ranked wild goat resources. This represents the first window into the nature of foraging systems just prior to the emergence of agricultural economies in this important region of Turkey. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.