Eating together: Faunal remains from a group of hearths in Early Neolithic Ulucak Höyük

Evangelia Pişkin *, Safoora Kamjan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


Daily food is a routine, biologically born, but at the same time a much overlooked, mundane “ritual” that brings together the smallest social unit, often a family or a group of mates. At more elaborate events bigger groups come together to share food. These “invitations to dinner” are a very important component of formalised behaviour (ritual). In all those occasions, the social status of the hosts and guest is exhibited and negotiated, ties are created or renewed and “agreements” of all kinds are sealed. The obligation of the guests to return the favour to the host becomes mandatory with the acceptance of the invitation to the feast. Various explanatory models have been built on feasting for exploring social formations and relationships as well as economic mechanisms. In the archaeological record numerous elements have been used to trace “feasting” activities.
Here, animal bones, the direct remains of food eaten, will be discussed in an attempt to understand the mode of consumption and its social setting as reflected at a specific context from Ulucak Höyük. These materials date to the earliest phase (VI) of the site and comprise of nine hearths and one oven clustered together in an outdoor space next to the Building 42. Building 42 is significant for its red painted floor. Around the ovens a large number of bones, mostly ovicaprids, heavily broken for marrow extraction were collected. In contrast, there were almost no archaeobotanical finds, implying that the food preparations were focused on animals. Even though the features are not all strictly contemporaneous, their tight clustering, their position outside the “house” and the abundance of bone fragments indicate communal partaking of food.
Translated title of the contributionEating together: Faunal remains from a group of hearths in Early Neolithic Ulucak Höyük
Original languageMultiple languages
Title of host publicationArkeoloji’de Ritüel ve Toplum
PublisherEge Yayınları
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9786057673022
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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