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Food, Meals, and Daily Activities: Food Habitus at Neolithic Çatalhöyük

  • Sonya Atalay (a1) and Christine A. Hastorf (a2)
Abstract

We consider the daily practices of food preparation and consumption at the Neolithic Anatolian site of Çatalhöyük. We present the major food activities suggested from the archaeological evidence, including the timing and range of possible ingredients eaten by the residents of this thousand-year settlement. Plant, animal, and mineral resources, as well as the food production and preparation practices, are viewed in the context of the seasonal cycle. The food-related activities practiced at Çatalhöyük within each of the seasons are placed into five primary groups: production and procurement, processing, cooking, presentation, and eating. The daily household acts associated with these categories are discussed in detail. Using flora, fauna, micromorphological, lithic, ceramic, clay and architectural evidence, we present a picture of a community that was relatively healthy. The residents had a diet that relied heavily on plant foodstuffs, with wild plants remaining an important and valuable part of the daily and seasonal food practices throughout. The people of Çatalhöyük ate a range of animal products, including meat obtained from domesticated sheep/goats, wild cattle, small and large game, and to a more limited extent, eggs and waterfowl. Their social life can be seen through these foodways.

Consideramos los elementos diarios de preparación de comida y consumo en el sitio neolítico de Çatalhöyük en Anatolia. Presentamos las actividades alimentarias principales sugeridas por la evidencia arqueológica, incluyendo el tiempo y rango de los ingredientes posiblemente ingeridos por los residentes de este asentamiento milenario. Los recursos vegetales, animales y minerales, así como las práticas de producción y preparación de alimentos, son analizados en el contexto del ciclo estacional. Las actividades relacionadas con los alimentos, realizadas en Çatalhöyük en cada estación se ubican en cinco grupos principales: producción y aprovisionamiento, procesamiento, cocción, presentación e ingesta. Los actos diarios de las unidades domésticas asociados con estas categorías son discutidos en detalle. Utilizando evidencia florística, faunística, microformológica, litica, cerámica, arquitectónica y de arcilla, presentamos una imagen de una comunidad quefue relativamente saludable. Sus habitantes tuvieron una dieta basada mayormente en vegetales, siendo las plantas silvestres una importante y valiosa parte de las prácticas alimentarias estacionales y diarias. También demostramos que los residentes de Çatalhöyük ingirieron un rango de productos animales, incluyendo carne obtenida a través del sacrificio de ovejas y cabras domesticadas y salvajes, así como presas de caza mayor y menor, y en menor medida, huevos y aves acuáticas. Su vida social puede observarse a través de los restos de comida.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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