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Data sharing reveals complexity in the westward spread of domestic animals across Neolithic Turkey

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  • Benjamin S. Arbuckle
  • Sarah Whitcher Kansa
  • Eric Kansa
  • Canan Çakirlar
  • Lionel Gourichon
  • Levent Atici
  • Alfred Galik
  • Arkadiusz Marciniak
  • Jacqui Mulville
  • Hijlke Buitenhuis
  • Denise Carruthers
  • Bea De Cupere
  • Arzu Demirergi
  • Sheelagh Frame
  • Daniel Helmer
  • Louise Martin
  • Joris Peters
  • Nadja Pöllath
  • Kamilla Pawłowska
  • Nerissa Russell
  • Katheryn Twiss
  • Doris Würtenberger


Publication details

JournalPLoS ONE
DateE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2014
DatePublished (current) - 13 Jun 2014
Issue number9
Early online date17/05/14
Original languageEnglish


This study presents the results of a major data integration project bringing together primary archaeozoological data for over 200,000 faunal specimens excavated from seventeen sites in Turkey spanning the Epipaleolithic through Chalcolithic periods, c. 18,000-4,000 cal BC, in order to document the initial westward spread of domestic livestock across Neolithic central and western Turkey. From these shared datasets we demonstrate that the westward expansion of Neolithic subsistence technologies combined multiple routes and pulses but did not involve a set 'package' comprising all four livestock species including sheep, goat, cattle and pig. Instead, Neolithic animal economies in the study regions are shown to be more diverse than deduced previously using quantitatively more limited datasets. Moreover, during the transition to agro-pastoral economies interactions between domestic stock and local wild fauna continued. Through publication of datasets with Open Context (, this project emphasizes the benefits of data sharing and web-based dissemination of large primary data sets for exploring major questions in archaeology (Alternative Language Abstract S1).

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(c) 2014 The Authors. This content is made available by the publisher under a Creative Commons CC-BY Licence

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