Human skeletal remains from Hasankeyf Höyük, a sedentary hunter-gatherer site in southeast Anatolia

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Kondo O., Tashiro M., Miyake Y.

Anthropological Science, vol.130, no.2, pp.121-134, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 130 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1537/ase.220122
  • Journal Name: Anthropological Science
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Anthropological Literature, BIOSIS, Index Islamicus
  • Page Numbers: pp.121-134
  • Keywords: burial practices, oral health, pre-agricultural adaptation, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022, Anthropological Society of Nippon. All rights reserved.Although early Neolithic Anatolia is a key region for the development of sedentary society by modern humans, osteological studies are limited to specimens from the later period or from other regions such as southern Levant. We examined nearly 100 human skeletal remains from Hasankeyf Höyük, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) site in southeastern Anatolia, which were uncovered during an excavation between 2011 and 2015. A total of 124 individuals were identified as belonging to the Neolithic period. The adult/subadult ratio was close to 1:1, and the sex proportion was skewed towards an abundance in males. A few stature estimates fell within the variation range for Natufian and Neolithic peoples in the southern Levant and Anatolia. The estimated life expectancy was below 30, from 27 to 30 years old, based on age criteria related to dental wear stage. On the basis of dentognathic evidence, the skeletons exhibited heavy occlusal wear for their age, with a lot of obliquely slanted occlusal surfaces and enamel chipping. The observed oral health and dental abrasion patterns are discussed with regards to the people’s biological/behavioral adaptations to the environment, such as the nutritional quality of their diet, alimentary customs, or any indications that the teeth were used as a ‘third hand.’ The Hasankeyf Höyük people are considered to represent very early sedentary villagers in southeast Anatolia who would not have initiated the domestication of plants and animals.