A new anthracological sequence from Niğde-Kınık Höyük (Turkey): woodland vegetation and arboriculture in southern Cappadocia from the Late Bronze Age to the Ottoman Period

Abstract

This article presents a new anthracological sequence from the archeological site of Niğde-Kınık Höyük, in southern Cappadocia (Turkey), spanning from the Late Bronze Age to the Ottoman Period, which provides important insights into the vegetation history of Cappadocia and its change through time. The local woody vegetation was composed of deciduous oaks, with an important contribution, especially in the earlier periods, of riparian trees (Salicaceae). Conifers played a minor role but indicate the possible presence of cedar and fir stands in the site’s vicinity. Starting in the mid-1st millennium BCE, wood charcoal data shows a well-defined and coherent anthracological phase characterized by abundant evidence of arboreal crops, especially grapevine. This evidence is here connected to the Beyşehir Occupation Phase phenomenon, and its economic and historic implications are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

I am thankful to John M. Marston (Boston University), Naomi F. Miller (Penn Museum), and Lorenzo d’Alfonso (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World) for providing comments on early drafts of the manuscript. Thanks are due also to Peter Kovacik (Boston University) for discussing some of the identifications, and to Hannelore Roemich (NYU-Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts) for permitting and facilitating access to SEM analysis. This work would have been impossible without the help of the other members of the Niǧde-Kınık Höyük excavation team. I am deeply grateful to Michael Purugganan (NYU-Center for Genomics and Systems Biology) for having facilitated this research by welcoming and hosting archeobotany in the Purugganan Lab. I thank the anonymous reviewer whose comments have greatly improved this manuscript.

Funding

This research has been carried out with the financial support of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (New York University).

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Correspondence to Lorenzo Castellano.

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Table SI1

Samples metadata and metrics. For dating of the KH Periods see Table 1. In the columns 4, 2, 1, 0.5, 0.25 mm it is reported the volume of the floated debris for each sieving fraction. In the column status, “all” indicates that all the charcoal fragments > 4 mm have been analyzed. (PDF 616 kb)

Table SI2

The anthracological flora identified at Kınık Höyük: identification criteria and candidates in the current Turkish flora. (PDF 651 kb)

Table SI3

Anthracological results (PDF 1000 kb)

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Castellano, L. A new anthracological sequence from Niğde-Kınık Höyük (Turkey): woodland vegetation and arboriculture in southern Cappadocia from the Late Bronze Age to the Ottoman Period. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 13, 49 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-021-01284-6

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Keywords

  • Anthracology
  • Arboriculture
  • Vitis vinifera
  • Pruning
  • Deforestation
  • Beyşehir Occupation Phase