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from West Hasankeyf Hoyuk

Anthropology faculty and students publish paper on 12,000 year old Turkish site

A new paper published online in Quaternary International (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2020.09.045) by McMaster archaeologist Tristan Carter, along with then undergraduates Rose Moir, Todd Wong and their Japanese colleagues, sheds light on the key role of rivers for transportation and community interaction amongst hunter-fisher-gatherers populations some 12,000 years ago in south-east Turkey.

Nov 17, 2020

A new paper published online in Quaternary International (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2020.09.045) by McMaster archaeologist Tristan Carter, along with then undergraduates Rose Moir, Todd Wong and their Japanese colleagues, sheds light on the key role of rivers for transportation and community interaction amongst hunter-fisher-gatherers populations some 12,000 years ago in south-east Turkey. Their work involved the study of obsidian tools from the University of Tsukuba’s excavations at the site of Hasankeyf Höyük, one of the oldest villages in the world, originally on the banks of the River Tigris, but alas now submerged by the Ilιsu Dam. The study involved Moir matching the chemical fingerprints of the artefacts’ raw materials with those of geological samples from known volcanic sources using non-destructive energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (https://maxlab.mcmaster.ca/). Wong then mapped the most effective routes from the village to the sources using GIS, at which point it became apparent that rivers were not only the most obvious means for transporting obsidian from the volcanic highlands, but also for it later exchange amongst contemporary populations. The conclusions of the paper are significant, as this represents the first major focus on riverine use by hunter-gatherer-populations within Eurasia. The paper was a culmination of Moir’s Undergraduate Student Research Award project, with an early version of the group’s conclusions presented by her at an international workshop in Tokyo last year, as funded by an Experiential Education grant.

 

Carter, T., Moir, R., Wong, T., Campeau, K., Miyake, Y. and Maeda, O. (2020), ‘Hunter-fisher-gatherer river transportation: Insights from sourcing the obsidian of Hasankeyf Höyük, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A village on the Upper Tigris (SE Turkey)’, Quaternary International https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2020.09.045