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The Early Process of Mammal Domestication in the Near East: New Evidence from the Pre-Neolithic and Pre-Pottery Neolithic in Cyprus

Jean-Denis Vigne, Isabelle Carrère, François Briois and Jean Guilaine
Current Anthropology
Vol. 52, No. S4, The Origins of Agriculture: New Data, New Ideas (October 2011), pp. S255-S271
DOI: 10.1086/659306
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/659306
Page Count: 17
Subjects: Anthropology
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Abstract

Recent archaeological investigations on Cyprus have unveiled unsuspected Late Glacial and Early Holocene (twelfth–tenth millennia cal BP) pieces of the island’s human history. Based on a review of the archaeological data and of the final results of the archaeozoological analyses of Sector 1 of the prepottery site at Shillourokambos, this paper examines how Cyprus improves our understanding of the process of mammal domestication in the Near East. Early introduction of controlled wild animals and then of early domestic lineages provides information about the modalities of the domestication process on the mainland. This information emphasizes the importance of technical skills, of local opportunities and adaptations, and of long-distance and increasing exchanges in the larger Near East area. Cyprus was a recipient of wild or domestic taxa from the continent through recurrent introductions, but it was fully part of the wider area of incipient farming, as seen in local innovations such as the intensive hunting/control of wild deer and boar or local domestication of wild/feral goats. The transition to farming during the tenth millennium appears to follow an unstable and opportunistic Early and Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B phase of low-level food production based on rapidly changing combinations of hunting, control, and breeding.

Notes and References

This item contains 118 references.

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