Tracking turtles in the past: Zooarchaeological evidence for human-turtle interactions in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean

Canan Çaklrlar*, Francis J. Koolstra, Salima Ikram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Turtles are important barometers of human impact on marine biodiversity. Very little, however, is known about the deep history of human-turtle interactions and whether this is reflected in the present-day vulnerability of Mediterranean turtle populations. Here, the authors critically assess the zooarchaeological evidence for the nature and intensity of past human interactions with green, loggerhead turtles and Nile soft-shell turtles in the Eastern Mediterranean. Species and sex identifications, estimates of relative abundance, and size reconstructions at five coastal archaeological sites demonstrate the variety in interactions, from turtle capture to processing, and allow informative comparisons with present-day distributions of these species across the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
Issue number379
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2021


  • Bronze Age
  • Iron Age
  • marine biodiversity
  • Mediterranean
  • turtle exploitation

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