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Evaluating the seasonal reproduction control of first domesticated cattle in PPNB tell Halula site: δ13C and δ18O values from sequential bioapatite enamel of wild and domestic populations

Carlos Tornero1 & 3 & Dra. Maria Saña1 & 2

1. Laboratory of Archaeozoology, Prehistory Department. Autonomous University of Barcelona. Edifici B, Campus UAB – 08193, Barcelona. Spain. Carlos.Tornero@uab.cat

2. Titular Prof. Prehistory Department. Autonomous University of Barcelona. Edifici B, Campus UAB - 08193, Barcelona. Spain. Maria.Sana@uab.cat

3. PhD-grant student. FPI Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia. (Spain). (BES-2005-8158).

The Near East is one of the areas where took place the process of domestication of cattle during the called Neolithic time (Higgs & Jarman, 1969; Ucko & Dimbleby 1969). Animal domestication supposed changes on social organization and social relationships in between human groups, moreover biological changes in animals and at in the intrinsic characteristics of faunal remains recovered from archaeological sites (Saña 2005). The control of animal reproduction patterns is one of the most important factors which must to be evaluated during the process of domestication. Cattle has a more stable pattern of reproduction, changes in it must be realized only with enough capacity to be available sources (Balasse & Tresset, 2007) which implies an important in put of work for Neolithic societies, especially for those areas where exist important changes on environmental conditions during a complete seasonal cycle. The middle Euphrates Valley was presumed characterized during this time to present a marked a bimodal seasonal dynamic on climatic and environmental conditions (Besançon et al., 2000; Helmer et al., 1998; Roitel 1997; Hillman 1996). Following these considerations, this work aims to evaluate the reproductive pattern of bovines during the first steps of their domestication. Different remains of these species had been selected from Tell Halula site by stable isotope analyses. 

Tell Halula is an archaeological site in the middle of Euphrates Valley (Department of Rakka, Republic of Syria). It was occupied between VIII and VI millennium cal BC. PPNB levels are related with an approximate absolute chronology between 7800 to 7000 cal BC.(Molist 1996; Molist 2001; Molist & Saña 2003). The archaeozoological analyses carried out until moment show significant changes in the management for bovines during these levels, some of which could be related with the process of animal domestication (Saña 1997; 1999; 2001). In this work1 we present new δ13C and δ18O values obtained from dental enamel on third lower molar of Bos sp. remains. Results were recounted in a sequential order on enamel from neck to occlusive superficies from similar teeth of different individuals. The results show a difference between the δ13C values recounted on animals from earliest levels than those from recent occupations and a similar seasonal dynamic on individuals by δ18O values. The different dynamics on δ13C and δ18O values observed for each individual are discussed as related to the changes developed in animal populations during the initial stages or development of herding strategies.

Finally, this work empathize the methodological approach developed as a valid contribution to the study of changes due to animal domestication not focused exclusively on the morphological and biometric characteristics of fauna remains.


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