Documenting the initial appearance of domestic cattle in the Eastern Fertile Crescent (northern Iraq and western Iran)
Publication date: August 2016
Source:Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 72
Author(s): Benjamin S. Arbuckle, Max D. Price, Hitomi Hongo, Banu Öksüz
In this paper we address the timing of and mechanisms for the appearance of domestic cattle in the Eastern Fertile Crescent (EFC) region of SW Asia through the analysis of new and previously published species abundance and biometric data from 86 archaeofaunal assemblages. We find that Bos exploitation was a minor component of animal economies in the EFC in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene but increased dramatically in the sixth millennium BC. Moreover, biometric data indicate that small-sized Bos, likely representing domesticates, appear suddenly in the region without any transitional forms in the early to mid sixth millennium BC. This suggests that domestic cattle were imported into the EFC, possibly associated with the spread of the Halaf archaeological culture, several millennia after they first appear in the neighboring northern Levant.