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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / What is inside this pit? Micro- and macrofaunal investigations at Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Ovçular Tepesi (Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan )

Z.E. Kovács, R. Berthon, W. Van Neer and T. Cucchi (2013)

What is inside this pit? Micro- and macrofaunal investigations at Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Ovçular Tepesi (Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan )

In: Archaeozoology of the Near East X. Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on the Archaeozoology of South-Western Asia and Adjacent Areas. Ancient Near Eastern Studies Supplement Series , ed. by De Cupere, B., Linseele, V., Hamilton-Dyer, S. , vol. 44, chap. 10, pp. 163-171, Leuven, Peeters.

The site of Ovçular Tepesi is located in the southern Caucasus (Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic). Two main archaeological phases were recognised at the settlement, namely Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. More than 1160 litres of soil samples from pits and circular stone structures belonging to the different occupation layers were processed by flotation and analysed. This paper focuses on the zoological finds from these samples, in particular the remains of fish, large mammals and micromammals, in order to determine the function of the pits and structures. Moreover, the material gives an insight into the animal economy, hunting and fishing practices of the inhabitants, as well as the local environment. Thus far, it could not be established whether the differences detected in the species composition between the phases are related to chronology alone or if other factors, such as sample sizes and type of deposits, also played a role. Fish bones were very frequent at the site with cyprinids dominating. Among the large mammals, domestic animals were the most frequent while hunted species were rare. Sheep and goat herding seems to have been the principal subsistence strategy at this site. The small mammal community is composed of synanthropic taxa and, as a consequence, the species diversity was very low (six taxa). House mouse was the most abundant in each feature on the site.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board
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