Get access

New Evidence for Fish Processing in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean: Formalised Epinephelus Butchery in Fifth Century bc Kinet Höyük, Turkey


  • The research was carried out at Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium.


Archaeological evidence for fish preparation in the Eastern Mediterranean is scarce. A Late fifth century deposit at Kinet Höyük provides tangible evidence for the systematic butchering of large individuals of Epinephelus (groupers), and possibly of Mugilidae (mullets), and Clarias gariepinus (African catfish). Butchery marks on head and proximal trunk regions of groupers follow a consistent pattern, indicating the processing of large fish heads for, apparently, local redistribution and consumption at the settlement. Although elements of the vertebral column remaining between the atlas and the ultimate vertebra are virtually absent in the assemblage associated with these butchered fish remains, this differential representation of elements does not appear to be an unequivocal reflection of fish processing techniques and subsequent trade. The insufficiency of research on ancient fisheries and fishing in the Eastern Mediterranean poses an obstacle to contextualise this deposit within a general historical and archaeological framework. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.