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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents data on Neolithic sites in southeastern Anatolia, where, as elsewhere in southwestern Asia, the changes attendant on the Neolithic, while revolutionary in their consequences for the evolution of human cultural and social systems, were gradual. In the Early Aceramic we see the development of sedentary communities based on important economic changes, but ones that still retain major elements of the earlier hunter-gatherer, egalitarian social system. However, those elements are now buttressed with institutions (e.g., general-purpose public buildings, feasting) that permit the now somewhat larger communities to remain intact on a long-term basis and to act as a whole. In the Mature Aceramic (MA), we see some of those same institutions (public buildings and spaces) evolving to (of necessity) more strongly promote group identity at the community level in the still-larger communities that characterize the MA. Beginning in the MA III and continuing through the early part of the Pottery Neolithic, we see the gradual disintegration of the Aceramic Neolithic lifeway and its replacement by one that is quite different, wherein kinship appears to play a larger, more formal role. These social changes are intertwined with important economic changes (the development of the full southwestern Asia domesticate complex) and technological changes (the widespread adoption of ceramic technology), but the specifics of how they are related remains an open question.

Keywords: Neolithic sites, Early Aceramic, Mature Aceramic, sedentary communities, institutions, group identity, Pottery Neolithic, kinship

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