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Childhood growth in the Neolithic: a detailed case study of Çatalhöyük

Bocaege, E; (2015) Childhood growth in the Neolithic: a detailed case study of Çatalhöyük. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The main aim of this project is to provide an insight into childhood experiences in the Neolithic Near East and to investigate the variation in skeletal and dental growth patterns within the context of the profound social and environmental changes taking place during this time period. Detailed archaeological information is available for the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey (7400−7100 BC to 6200−5900 BC) as well as a considerable sample of immature human remains, which is unique for this time period and area of the world. In order to better understand the lives of the Çatalhöyük children, a two−fold methodology based on osteological and dental analysis of growth and development is utilised and results are interpreted using archaeological evidence. Tooth enamel does not remodel during life and teeth are well recovered from archaeological sites, making tooth crowns an important archive of an individual’s development. Using a newly developed 3D technique, a detailed investigation into the variation in the expression of dental growth disturbances (furrow−form enamel hypoplasia) is carried out. The relationship between dental development and skeletal growth is analysed by comparing the enamel hypoplasia dataset to skeletal growth patterns which are considered to be more influenced by environmental factors than dental development. In order to capture differences in growth occurring throughout the child’s life, skeletal growth trajectories are explored by quantitative assessments of skeletal variables representing different functional regions (cranium, mandible and postcranial bones) which grow at different rates. Together, the data outline a life history for each child, and are used to reveal the pattern of growth disruptions experienced by children buried in different houses and in different time periods. Results show that growth disruptions affect skeletal and dental growth in different ways, suggesting that interpretations based solely on enamel hypoplasia or skeletal growth patterns might obscure the level of disruption experienced by children in past populations. This study also indicates that there are no consistent differences in the level of growth disruptions affecting the dental and skeletal development of children buried in different houses. In contrast, there are consistent differences in skeletal growth patterns between children buried in different time periods, with individuals buried in the later occupation phase displaying smaller skeletal sizes for their ages than individuals buried in the earlier occupation phase. As this later phase is also the time in which the population size declined at Çatalhöyük, it is suggested that smaller support groups provided less buffering against growth disruptions during this later period.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Childhood growth in the Neolithic: a detailed case study of Çatalhöyük
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1465837
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