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Archaeometrical and geoarchaeological studies in prehistoric settlement of domuztepe (Kahramanmaraş-Turkey)

Dirican, Murat
The aim of this study is to investigate pottery and stone vessels from Domuztepe, a Late Neolithic settlement in southeast Turkey, located to the south of Kahramanmaraş by means of archaeometrical and geoarchaeological methods in an attempt to understand the local resource use and production technologies. Domuztepe represents the northwestern border of a unique material culture distribution commonly known as “Halaf culture” which had influenced vast regions of northern Mesopotamia during the Late Neolithic period (6000-5200 cal. B.C.). Halaf material culture is best known through its elaborately decorated pottery and stone vessels which have long been speculated to originate from a center in northern Iraq. An important portion of the potteries and other material culture show close affinities with the material found in other parts of northern Mesopotamia, they are also an integral part of independent traditions of local production. Understanding the relationships between local technologies and interregional style preferences has been an important research question. However, the studies so far have not involved archaeometric investigations and thus remained within the limits of stylistic focus of archaeological methods. Thus, it is the aim of this thesis study to apply archaeometrical and geoarchaeological methods to support the wider research questions regarding Domuztepe‘s social and economic importance during the Late Neolithic period. The study mainly consists of field and laboratory investigations. Pottery and stone vessel samples are provided from Kahramanmaraş Archaeology Museum. Field samples for the provenance analysis are collected at the outcrops in the vicinity of the Domuztepe site. Field studies are also supported by remote sensing analysis. Laboratory studies comprise visual classification of the Domuztepe pottery samples, petrographic and mineralogic analyses of both pottery and stone vessel samples by using optical microscopy, X-ray powder diffractometer (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDX). Geochemical composition of the samples is determined by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission/mass spectrometer (ICP-OES/MS) and the data is evaluated by statistical method. A total of 300 pottery samples are visually classified in two groups called as painted “Halaf” and burnished “non-Halafian” local pottery. They form, stylistically, into 11 main and 65 sub-groups. Geochemical and statistical analysis revealed 5 ceramic raw materials, as 1 to 5, including clay and temper, for pottery samples. During the chronological period from 6100 BC to 5300 BC, except for 2 and 4, these raw materials were used continously for ceramic manufacturing at Domuztepe. Organic and inorganic tempers were used in the clay paste which includes also quartz, feldspar, calcite, mica and serpentinite. Illite, smectite, chlorite and kaolinite were detected as the clay minerals. The mineralogical compositions of both burnished and Halaf ceramics found to be similar to the clay material collected from the alluvial sedimentary units in the vicinity of Domuztepe, showing that the local raw material sources were used for the ceramic production. There is no significant difference in the firing temperatures between Halaf and local burnished type ceramics. They were fired at temperatures below 9000C in the first half of the 6th millennium. This suggests that potters focused on other color controlling factors such as the firing atmosphere: reducing-oxidizing, firing and cooling duration. This care is shown especially to obtain the colors of dark burnished ceramics and buff-color (Halaf) ceramics, suggesting that these two types of ceramics may be different cultural usage areas. A total of 47 stone vessel samples were studied using the above mentioned archaeometric methods. Mineralogic and petrographic analysis revealed that Fe-rich chlorite mineral is common in the raw stone material of the Domuztepe vessels. No such Fe-chlorite rich stone sources was found during the field studies. In contrast, antigorite–type serpentine mineral were detected in the field samples collected from possible sources of raw materials. This suggests that the source area for the stone vessel raw material is located outside the area of investigation. Domuztepe stone vessels were produced from at least 5 different petrogenetic types of possible source rocks namely, ultramafic, basaltic-gabbroic, trachy-andesitic,rhyolite-dacitic and alkali-basaltic. The use of these resources varied periodically in all chronological periods from 6100BC to 5400BC. Most commonly, the vessel raw material sources of basaltic-gabbroic origin were used continuously for about 900 years, whereas sources of ultramafic origin were utilized for shorter time periods about 300 years.