Animal keeping in Chalcolithic North-Central Anatolia: What can stable isotope analysis add?

Catriona Pickard, Ulf-Dietrich Schoop, Laszlo Bartosiewicz, Rosalind Gillis, Kerry L Sayle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stable isotope analysis is an essential investigative technique, complementary to more traditional zooarchaeological approaches to elucidating animal keeping practices. Carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope values of 132 domesticates (cattle, caprines and pigs) were evaluated to investigate one aspect of animal keeping, animal forage, at the Late Chalcolithic (mid-4th millennium BC) site of Çamlıbel Tarlası, which is located in north-central Anatolia. The analyses indicated that all of the domesticates had diets based predominantly on C3 plants. Pig and caprine δ13C and δ15N values were found to be statistically indistinguishable. However, cattle exhibited distinctive stable isotope values and, therefore, differences in diet from both pigs and caprines at Çamlıbel Tarlası. This difference may relate to the distinct patterns of foraging behaviour exhibited by the domesticates. Alternatively, this diversity may result from the use of different grazing areas or from the foddering practices of the Çamlıbel Tarlası inhabitants
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349–1362
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date30 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • stable isotope analysis
  • δ15N
  • δ13C
  • North-central Anatolia
  • animal forage

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