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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Proximal part of ulna of a large dog or a wolf
Hoof bone of a small donkey
Shed antler of fallow deer
Pelvis of cattle with pathological deformation, most probably because of heavy labor

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Archaeozoology: July 29-August 11, 2007

Faunal remains from Tepe Düzen

The faunal remains discovered at Sagalassos inform us mainly about the animal exploitation during the Late Imperial through Early Byzantine times with some sporadic data from the mid- and late Byzantine periods. Thanks to the excavations at Tepe Düzen we now obtain a first glimpse of the animal-man relationships in the immediate vicinity of the town during the Early Iron Age. Although the picture will doubtless become more refined as the analyses proceed and the number of samples grows, it is already possible to make a few general statements about the fauna.

Relative abundance of the domestic
mammal species at Tepe Düzen

Most of the remains are from domestic species that traditionally are used as food animals. In decreasing order of numerical importance these include ovicaprines (sheep and goat), cattle, and pig. A heavy reliance on sheep and goat has also been observed in the first centuries A.D. at Sagalassos and this in contrast with the increasing beef consumption in the fourth century, when the town was flourishing. Among the ovicaprines of Tepe Düzen sheep predominate slightly, this in contrast to the situation at Sagalassos where goats on average are more numerous. It is striking that a large proportion of the sheep from Tepe Düzen are from older individuals. This indicates that they were not only kept for their meat, but that they also must have provided secondary products. Wool may have been important as also suggested by loom weights that were found on the site. Among the cattle remains, older animals occur, but relatively young individuals are also present. One specimen shows a pathological deformation, which can be related to traction or other heavy-duty work. Thus far, the number of pig remains is low, but the abundance of young animals shows that they were mainly used as meat providers.

Remains of wild animals include several antler and postcranial remains of both fallow deer and red deer, and a few bones of hare and possibly wild goat. The contribution of wild mammals to the diet was rather low, but in any case more important than during the first to seventh centuries at Sagalassos. It is striking, however, that only some bird remains were found at Tepe Düzen and that among them few may have belonged to domestic fowl. Thus far not a single fish bone has been discovered at the site.

Two animal species were found that have not been exploited for their meat, namely dog and donkey. A few dog bones belong to a medium-sized small breed, whereas another canid bone could either be from a very large dog or from a wolf. The presence of dog is also indicated by some gnawed bones. Several equid bones were found, all belonging to very small donkeys. Shoulder height could be calculated in one case giving a value of approximately one meter, but even smaller individuals must have been walking around at Tepe Düzen.

A single bone fragment with a carved groove at its surface was present, but no evidence for bone working in situ is available. Although shed deer antler was clearly collected as a raw material, not a single worked piece or finished object has been found thus far.

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