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Seasonality and Site Function in Chalcolithic Cyprus

  • David Frankel (a1), Jennifer M. Webb (a1) and Anne Pike-Tay (a2)

Abstract

Excavations at the small Chalcolithic site of Politiko-Kokkinorotsos in central Cyprus show that it was occupied around 2880–2670 cal BC. Fallow deer (Dama mesopotamica) form the major component of the substantial faunal assemblage. The structure of the animal population suggests a seasonal hunting site, an interpretation consistent with the lack of formal architecture and the range of stone tools. In this study, independent odontochronological analyses of deer and caprine are used to test and confirm the model of seasonal culling in spring and summer based on more general indicators. The results suggest a pattern of varied, specialized site-types and activities in different parts of the island and in different ecological zones, and add considerably to our understanding of cultural systems on the island in the early third millennium BC.

Les fouilles du petit site chalcolithique de Politiko-Kokkinorotsos en Chypre centrale ont montré qu'il était occupé autour de 2880–2670 cal BC. Le daim (Dama Mesopotamica) constitue la majeure partie de l'important inventaire faunistique. La structure de la population animale indique qu'il s'agit d'un site de chasse saisonnier, interprétation en accord avec l'absence d'architecture formelle et avec la gamme d'outils lithiques. Dans cet article, on utilise des analyses odontochronologiques objectives de cervidés et de capridés afin d'évaluer et de confirmer le modèle d'abattage saisonnier de cervidés au printemps et en été, modèle basé sur des indicateurs plus généraux. Les résultats suggèrent un schéma d'activités et de types de sites variés et spécialisés dans différentes parties de l'île et dans différentes zones écologiques, et contribuent considérablement à notre compréhension des systèmes culturels de l'île au début du 3e millénaire BC. Translation by Isabelle Gerges.

Zusammenfassung

Ausgrabungen des kleinen chalkolithischen Fundplatzes Politiko-Kokkinorotsos in Zentralzypern zeigen, dass er etwa zwischen 2880 und 2670 cal BC besiedelt war. Der Damhirsch (Dama mesopotamica) bildet dabei die Hauptkomponente des umfangreichen Fauneninventars. Die Struktur der Tierpopulation legt nahe, dass es sich um einen saisonalen Jagdplatz gehandelt hat – eine Interpretation, die mit einem Fehlen regulärer Architektur und der Typenspanne des lithischen Inventars übereinstimmt. In diesem Beitrag werden unabhängige Analysen des jährlichen Zuwachses von Zahnzement und Dentin (Odontochronologie) von Hirschen und Ziegen genutzt, um das Modell einer jahreszeitlichen Schlachtung im Frühjahr und Sommer, das auf verschiedenen allgemeineren Indikatoren beruht, zu überprüfen und zu bestätigen. Die Ergebnisse deuten auf eine Struktur von verschiedenartigen, spezialisierten Fundplatztypen und Aktivitäten in bestimmten Teilen der Insel und verschiedenen ökologischen Zonen hin und tragen so wesentlich zu unserem Verständnis der kulturellen Systeme der Insel im frühen 3. Jt. v. Chr. bei. Translation by Heiner Schwarzberg.

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