millennium BC (Solecki and Solecki 1983; Yakar 1991; 1994).Floral and faunal records from Early Neolithic sites in thesouthern Anatolian plateau and southeast Anatolia reflect a cer-tain but not fundamental local diversity in subsistence prac-tices prior to the appearance of fully-fledged farming econo-mies. Initially, these basically hunter-gatherer semi-sedentary/ sedentary communities derived their group-based subsistencerequirements from hunting and gathering a wide variety of ani-mals and wild plants. They also knew to supplement their foodstores by undertaking small-scale cultivation of pulses, as wasthe case for instance at Asikli Höyük, Çayönü and Cafer Höyük(Cauvin, et al. 1999:101).Early agricultural villages in Anatolia were usually estab-lished on or close to hydromorphic soils and not on free-drain-ing drier terrains. Having the capacity to retain water these areparticularly suitable for cereal agriculture since they allow cropsto grow particularly in environments exposed to the Mediter-ranean climate of warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers(Harris 1996:558). Neolithic sites in the Beysehir-Sugla andKonya Basins demonstrate that they were all located on allu-vial deposits, at the margins of fans and seasonal lakes. Asalready pointed out above, these locations were no doubt se-lected by agriculturalists because of water retentive soils. Inmany parts of the Balkans too, regional archaeological investi-gations show a consistent correlation between the distributionof early Neolithic sites and floodplains, river and lake mar-gins.
It is also possible that the earliest systems of small scaleand locally intensive cultivation in the southeast Europe, as inthe early stages of farming in Anatolia, seasonal horticulturemost likely preceded cereal agriculture.
As far as the archaeological survey evidence goes, in Greeceand in the southern Balkans, areas that saw the emergence of agricultural villages did not produce evidence that could beindicative of a Late Mesolithic/Epipaleolithic population sub-stratum. This picture could still change, but in the meantime,those supporting the demic-diffusion approach in explainingthe spread of farming from East to West often emphasize it.The cultural diversity encountered in the four geo-culturalregions of Anatolia suggests that their respective Neolithic com-munities, particularly those living in the southeast were not iso-lated or entirely self-contained. In fact, recent archaeologicalinvestigations support the view that, ethno-culturally speaking,the Neolithic society of Anatolia was not a homogenous entity.The same may be presumed for societies that inhabited the geo-graphical expanse surrounding Anatolia.Regarding the postulated movements of Neolithic farmersfrom the East towards the West, I believe that in the distantpast too village communities that were successful in maintain-ing a steady demographic and economic growth over genera-tions would not have undertaken large-scale migrations unlesssome sort of a crisis would have forced them to do so. Thereare no indications at Neolithic centers with seemingly uninter-rupted settlement sequence such as Çatalhöyük, nor in thepalaeoenvironmental records of the Konya plain ( Kuzucuoðlu2002) that suggest a major demographic or environment insti-gated crisis in the south-central plateau. Naturally, under cer-tain socio-economic conflict and stress situations not visible inarchaeological records, communities, or groups detached fromthem, would have moved out in search of new habitats to re-settle. However, to presume that such movements would havefollowed a single directional path leading from socio-economi-cally/ culturally to less developed regions, could lead to mis-conceptions in evaluating the process that led to the Neolithi-zation of the Balkans and the rest of southeastern Europe.Colonization of the southern Balkans by Anatolian farm-ers may be presumed if it can be demonstrated that the dis-semination of agriculture was in conjunction with spirituallysignificant new artistic expressions, introduction of pottery, ar-chitecture, and burial traditions, of Anatolian origin. Evenwithin the semi continent of Anatolia, a comparison betweenthe Aceramic Neolithic material culture assemblages from thewestern and central “Fertile Crescent” settlements and those of the southern Anatolian plateau (e.g. Hallan Çemi, Demirci,Çayönü, Nevali Çori, Göbekli Tepe, Gürcü Tepe, Cafer Höyükversus settlements such as Aºikli Höyük or Can Hassan III),shows some outstanding differences in social organization, pro-duction techniques and in the artistic expressions of spiritualconcepts. Moving in the direction of northwest Anatolia, ar-chaeological records from Demircihöyük, Findik Kayabaºi,Orman Fidanliði, Ilipinar, Menteºe Höyük, Fikirtepe, Pendikindicate that despite varying forms and intensity of interactionwith the central Anatolian Neolithic farmers, the latter did nothave at least initially an outstanding cultural influence overtheir northern neighbors in the Marmara basin. In view of therather varied cultural entities so far recorded in Anatolia, onewonders if the emergence of farming communities in theBalkans should be exclusively attributed to a westward dis-placement of central Anatolian farmers. In view of the rela-tively late appearance of farming communities in the north-west, it is doubtful that the area extending from the Marmarabasin to the Troad could be considered a parent or staging areathat initiated the Neolithization of the Balkans. Yarimburgazcave in eastern Thrace, is so far the only site that producedevidence for the existence of a Fikirtepe culture affiliated com-munity involved in farming (Özdoðan, Miyake and Özbasaran1991).As for hunter-gatherer communities of the early Fikirtepeculture phase that sparsely inhabited the southeastern Marmaralittoral, it is highly doubtful that they could not have played adecisive role in the diffusion of farming in a westerly direction.Their fishing, mollusk collecting, hunting and foraging activi-ties, as well as their settlement pattern, does not indicate a so-ciety in an advance stage of cultivation.
The occupation sequence revealed at the mound of Ilipinarwest of Lake Iznik provides a good insight into the culturaldevelopment during the sixth millennium BC (Roodenberg1995; 1999b). The stratified pre-EBA remains at this site com-bined with those from other well-known and partly contempo-rary settlements such as Fikirtepe (Özdoðan 1999:212-217),Pendik (Özdoðan 1983), Mentese (Roodenberg 1999a) andDemircihöyük (Seeher 1987), in a sense reflect the cultural andeconomic inclinations of late prehistoric communities in north-west Anatolia . For instance, the inhabitants of Fikirtepe-typesites in the eastern Marmara coast, although they seem to haveembraced farming probably from their southern neighbors, theirprincipal subsistence activities was based on foraging and hunt-ing (Thissen 1999:38; Özdoðan 1983). The type and simplic-ity of their domestic architecture reflect a socio-economic con-servatism no doubt derived from their Late Epipaleolithic rootsin the region. Despite some differences in subsistence econo-mies, certain material culture parallels, in certain type of ce-36