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C. Lichter (ed.), How did farming reach Europe?

BYZAS 2 (2005) 5974

Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic: the actual state of research
by Clemens LICHTER

Introduction
On the basis of river catchments, the lowlands west and northwest of the Central Anatolian Plateau can be subdivided into two distinct areas. The northwest encompasses the catchment of rivers emerging into the Sea of Marmara and the rivers flowing to the Aegean define Western Anatolia. In the last two decades, intensive field research in Northwest Turkey in both Thrace and the Marmara Region extending onto the Anatolian peninsula has been carried out by Istanbul University under the supervision of M. zdoan (survey in Turkish Thrace and excavations at Toptepe, Yarmburgaz, Hoca eme; comprehensive: zdoan 1989; 1999), by the Dutch team excavating at Ilpnar (Roodenberg 1995; 1999; Roodenberg/Thissen 2001) and Mentee (Roodenberg et al. 2003), and by a German-Turkish team working at the site of Aa Pnar (zdoan/Parzinger 1995; Karul et al. 2003) in Turkish Thrace. This fieldwork has now established the foundations of a chronological sequence, a basis for future investigation so that the present day cultural sequences of Northwest Anatolia can be correlated with those of the Balkans. This research has demonstrated a significant phenomenon: the Thracian characteristics obviously display features different from those of the Northwest Anatolian regions. First of all the chronological aspect must be mentioned. Regarding the 14C data (Reingruber/Thissen this volume) no site in Thrace belongs to the 7th millennium, whereas neolithic sites in Northwest Anatolia can be dated at least to the 63rd century BC. The Fikirtepe culture known through many sites in Northwest Anatolia seems to be absent in Thrace. One may object for good reasons, that the state of research in Turkish Thrace may be responsible for the lack of neolithic sites dating to the 7th millennium BC and that older sites in Thrace are waiting to be discovered and excavated. On the other hand further observations can hardly be neglected. Examinations of the lithic industries (Gatsov 2001; 2003) highlight the differences between the lithic industries of Neolithic Thrace on the one side and Ilpnar on the other. Similar observations can be made concerning a number of

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bone tools (Sidra 1998). Polypod vessel types (Schwarzberg this volume) in Thrace differ from those found in Anatolia1. Stamp seals, well known from Anatolia and Southeast Europe (see further below) are missing in Northwest Anatolia but belong to the neolithic inventory of Thracian sites. Together these observations seem to suggest that the Sea of Marmara connecting the Aegean and the Black Sea and situated between Anatolia and the Balkan peninsula had occasionally acted more as a barrier than a bridge; that is to say it did not fulfil the bridge function taken for granted due to its distinctive location in earlier assessments concerning the neolithization of Europe. Hand-in-hand with this conclusion comes the observation that the chronology of Early Neolithic sites within Bulgaria suggests a spread from west to east rather than from east to west (Thissen 2000a). Furthermore, the fact that the earliest neolithic traces in Europe are found in Thessaly (Greece) around the mid of the 7th millennium BC2 can hardly be disregarded. Northwest Turkey seems to have been situated only on the periphery of the main dissemination route of the Neolithic to Europe.

Western Anatolia
The Western Anatolian rivers flowing into the Aegean, namely Bakr ay, Gediz ay, Kk and Byk Menderes, are more or less E-W oriented, and give natural access to the highlands of Anatolia, where they have their source. Also these rivers connect and formed the many fertile plains favourable for farming communities. In general, these environmental advantages (accessibility of the hinterland and broad fertile plains) clearly distinguish Western Anatolia from the Black Sea- or Southern Anatolian coastal regions, where the E-W oriented chains of high mountains impeded the formation of broad plains and presented a natural barrier for access to the interior of the country. Concerning the environmental conditions of Western Anatolia it has often been shown that due to the rise and fall of the sea level and the accumulation of river sediments the coastline must have altered enormous since the end of the last Ice age (i.e. Brckner 2003; Erol 1976; Kayan 1988; 1997; Kraft et al. 1980). This phenomenon may completely change the relation and distance of any prehistoric site to the sea. Furthermore one might also expect a large number of prehistoric settlements to be buried underneath huge alluvial deposits. It is a well-known fact, that the Aegean due to the short distance between the islands and the visibility of one another was a favourable area for ancient seafaring (Broodbank 2000, 101ff). In spite of a long history of research for instance on the Cyclades, until now no Early Neolithic site (Greek terminology) has been found on the Aegean islands. At first sight there is no reason to believe that any contacts had been established via the Aegean in the Early Neolithic period. On the other hand, the restricted resources of these islands, restrained

1 Schwarzberg this volume, Fig. 6; Type 2 distributed in Anatolia and the Balkans is missing in Thrace, whereas Type

1, familiar in Thrace is unknown in Anatolia.


2 See Alram-Stern 1996, 189-195; Bloedow 1991; 1993, 56 (6600 cal BC); Perls 2001, 94 (6500 cal BC); Thissen 2000a,

143; 2000c, 192 (6300 cal BC).

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Early Neolithic farmers from permanently settling there and could be inferred as the reason for this absence. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe, that the islands in the Aegean might have been visited and were used as stopping places (Broodbank 2000, 111). It has become evident from several avenues of research that the Aegean was being navigated long before the introduction of agriculture. An irrefutable indication of seafaring on the Aegean in a pre-Neolithic period are the Melian obsidian finds from as early as Late Palaeolithic strata at the site of Franchthi in Greece (Perls 1987, 142-145; Perls 1990, 30; Renfrew/Aspinall 1990, 257-270) and in the Mesolithic layers of the Cyclops Cave on the island of Youra (Sampson this volume). In the case of Anatolia, pieces of obsidian of Melian origin found in Western Anatolian sites like Moral (French 1965; 1969), Altnkum Plaj (Gebel 1984; Mosheim/Althaus 1984) and Dedecik-Heybelitepe (Lichter/Meri in prep.) demonstrate contact with the Aegean3. The colonization of islands like Cyprus, Corsica or Sardinia (Cherry 1981; 1990; Peltenburg et al. 2000) from the 8th millennium BC (or even earlier) or the neolithisation of Crete (Broodbank/Strasser 1991) provides further evidence for this assumption. Taking into consideration all these observations, Western Anatolia can be termed as a favourable area with respect to the natural environment and its connection with the surrounding environs (Thissen 2000b).

The archaeological evidence


Concerning the Neolithic and the Early Chalcolithic, Western Anatolia was for a long time viewed as a region devoid of settlements. It is only relatively recently that archaeological research of the pre-bronze age period in Western Anatolia began in earnest. D. French discovered a few sites in the zmir region and published some material (French 1965). Since the eighties many new sites have been discovered, more or less intensively surveyed and published4. Concerning the location of these sites one can distinguish settlements not far from the coastline or probable ancient coastline (i.e. Araptepe, Cokuntepe, Killiktepe) and sites at the edge or within fertile alluvial plains (i.e. Dedecik-Heybelitepe, Moral, Ulucak), a differentiation within the ceramic finds has not been outlined thus far. Besides flat settlements with only thin layers of cultural deposit (i.e. Araptepe, Cokuntepe) several multi-layered tell settlements have been noticed (i.e. Ulucak). The sites presently known (Fig. 1) are distributed along the coast from Thrace and the Gelibolu peninsula to the mouth of the Byk Menderes. The easternmost sites were discovered on the western fringes of Ktahya, Uak and Afyon provinces (Efe 1995; 1996). An

3 In contrast, the provenance of the Obsidian used in Ulucak was probably Central Anatolia (ilingirolu et al. 2004,

52).
4 Altnkum Plaj (Gebel 1984); Araptepe (Lichter 2002); Cokuntepe (Seeher 1990); Hamayltarla and other sites

arround Gelibolu peninsula (Erdou 2000); Killiktepe (Voigtlnder 1983); Moral (Din 1997; Takaolu 2004); Tavan / apl adas (Akdeniz 1997a; 1997b); Aydn Province (Gnel 2003a/b; 2004); Gelibolu peninsula (zdoan 1986); Torbal plain (Meri 1993).

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Fig. 1 Map of Western Anatolia with sites mentioned in the text 1. Akmaka (Efe 1995) 2. Alibeyli (French 1965) 3. Altnkum Plaj (Gebel 1984) 4. Aphrodisias-Pekmez (Joukowsky 1986) 5. Araptepe-Bekirlertepe (Lichter 2002) 6. Aa Pnar (Karul et al. 2003) 7. Ayio Gala (Hood 1981) 8. Bademaac (Duru 1999) 9. Bergama-Paaky (Erdou 2000, 158) 10. Buruneren 11. Cokuntepe (Seeher 1990) 12. alca (zdoan/Gatsov 1998) 13. Demircihyk (Seeher 1987) 14. Fikirtepe (Bittel 1970) 15. Haclar (Mellaart 1970) 16. Hamayltarla (Erdou 2000, 158) 17. Hoca eme (zdoan 1999) 18. Hycek (Duru 1995) 19. Ilpnar (Roodenberg 1995) 20. Karaaatepe (Demangel 1926) 21. Kaynarca Mevkii (zdoan 1986) 22. Keiayr (Efe 1996) 23. Killiktepe (Voigtlnder 1983) 24. Kk Yamanlar (Meri 1993) 25. Kuruay (Duru 1994) 26. Kyme Ege Gbre (Erdou 2000, 158) 27. Mentee (Roodenberg 2002) 28. Mersinli (Meri 1993) 29. Moral (French 1965; Din 1997) 30. Muslueme (zdoan/Gatsov 1998) 31. Nemrut (Meri 1993) 32. Pendik (Pasinli et al. 1994) 33. Sapladas (Akdeniz 1997) 34. Tavan adas (Akdeniz 1997) 35. Tepeky (Meri 1993) 36. Tepest-Barbaros (Erdou 2000, 158) 37. Toptepe 38. Uurlu (Erdou this volume) 39. Ulucak (Abay this volume) 40. Yarmburgaz 41. Yenmi (Meri 1993)

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intensification of research in the whole area is necessary and desirable, since most of the sites are known only by surface finds. The first excavation of a multi layer site began in 1995 at Ulucak near Kemalpaa, east of zmir (Derin/ilingirolu 2003; Derin/ner 1997; ilingirolu et al. 2004; Abay, Derin this volume). Since 2003 another excavation at Dedecik-Heybelitepe on the Torbal plain, south of zmir has started (Lichter/Meri in prep.). This site a flat settlement is situated at the western edge of the Torbal Plain and was discovered by R. Meri. Since quite a lot of sites have recently been discovered, the above mentioned assumption of a region devoid of settlements is no longer maintainable. Western Anatolia seems to have been densely populated, as one would expect taking in consideration the favourable conditions there. Concerning the pottery, the best and most comprehensive sample, tentatively, is from Ulucak (see Abay this volume; ilingirolu et al. 2004, 38ff). Additionally ceramics from the surfaces of other sites complete the picture (Fig. 2). In general the pottery can be characterized as red, reddish brown and slightly burnished, sometimes slipped. The surface is sometimes mottled or smoked. Coarse wares are missing. The repertoire of forms consists of hole-mouth and S-shaped pots. Deep bowls have a straight vertical or slight S-shape profile. A characteristic feature is a large hole-mouth pot with an interior thickened rim. Dishes or angle neck pots occur as well. Bases are either flat or provided with a low pedestal. The most characteristic feature is the vertically pierced tubular lug, which occurs in different sizes and forms. At some sites a very few sherds showed impresso decoration5. Painted pottery seems to be rare, only very few pieces have appeared6. The pottery finds from the lower layers of Hoca eme near the mouth of the river Meri show similar elements (Bertram/Karul this volume), the dominance of burnished red wares, deep S-profiled bowls, vertically placed tubular lugs, flat bases and the absence of coarse wares. (zdoan 1999, Fig. 41; zdoan 1998b, Fig. 4-8). Missing are elements like the inner thickened rims, long tubular lugs or ring bases, typical for some sites in Western Anatolia (Fig. 2). The geographical position of Hoca eme at the mouth of the river Meric, a river linking the centre of Thrace with the Aegean, as well as the observed cultural relations with Thrace in the later phases (zdoan 1999, 218; Nikolov 2002; Stefanova 1998) suggest that Hoca eme can not be seen as representative for the cultural development of the Western Anatolian coast.

5 Besides the examples from Ulucak Level IV (Derin/ilingirolu 2003, 194; ilingirolu et al. 2004, Fig. 21,27-30;

Fig. 23,12-13 and 21-22; Fig. 25,18-21; Fig. 26,34-36; Fig. 28,17-18; Fig. 29,19-30; Abay this volume: Fig. 3,19 and 21) and V (Abay this volume, Fig. 4,3; Fig. 5,14 and 19) see for example Araptepe (Lichter 2002, 161 fig. 1).
6 Besides the pieces from Ulucak Level IV (ilingirolu et al. 2004, Fig. 25,23 and 32; Fig. 29,21-22; Abay this volume,

Fig. 3,16 and 23) and V (Abay this volume, Fig. 4,8; Fig. 5,12-13 and 18) further examples from Moral (Takaolu 2004, 751 Fig. 3,26-28) and Tavan Adas (Akdeniz 1997b, 13 No. 28).

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Another site next to Western Anatolia is Ayio Gala Lower cave at the island of Chios (Hood 1981). Although these finds are not stratified and their value for chronology is limited, some observations can be made. In common with the survey finds of Western Anatolia are the red polished surfaces, the slight S-profiles and the vertical pierced tubular lugs. On the other hand, there are also differences such as white paint and specific Ayio Gala tubular lugs (Hood 1981, fig. 5,11; 6,17-18) that so far have not been found in Western Anatolia. Footed vessels or low pedestals as well as inner thickened rims well known in Western Anatolia, do not occur at Ayio Gala. Strong similarities with the better known Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic ceramics from sites like Haclar (Mellaart 1970), Hycek (Duru 1995), Kuruay (Duru 1994) and Bademaac (Duru 2000) in the Lake district7 can be noted with respect to the ceramic shapes (holemouth pots and S-profiles) and the tubular, vertically pierced lugs. Conversely certain striking contrasts deserve attention (French 1965): ring bases are unknown among the ceramics of the Lake District and the dark interior surfaces of vessels at Haclar occur rarely in the west. Also strikingly absent in Western Anatolia are the Early Chalcolithic painted wares, frequent found at Haclar8, aside from some very rare examples mentioned above. In comparison to the Northwest Anatolian ceramic assemblages of the Fikirtepe culture (Bittel 1970; zdoan 1983; Thissen 2001) the pottery from Western Anatolia shows different features concerning nearly all aspects including form, handles and the decoration. Nevertheless the above mentioned impresso decorated sherds from Western Anatolia and some very few examples with incisions point to the Northwest, where they have been found in larger quantities (i.e. impresso decorated sherds from Ilpnar VIII (Thissen 2001, Fig. 2627). Contrarily it has to be kept in mind, that the early levels XXXII-XXVI of Yumuktepe/ Mersin dating at least to the second half of the 7th millennium BC did also contain impresso decorated pottery (Garstang 1953, 18-26). Closer parallels, from about 200 km southeast of zmir, at the site of Aphrodisias-Pekmez level VIIIc which is estimated to be contemporary with Haclar VII yielded some impresso decorated sherds (Joukowsky 1986, 521, Fig. 375). If this association is correct (the sample from Aphrodisias-Pekmez is rather small) it would at least prove the existence of this decoration at least at the very end of the 7th millennium, whereas the examples from Ilpnar belong to the 58th/57th century BC.

Chronology
Because of the rarity of painted wares, the findings of Western Anatolia have often been labelled as Late Neolithic since the distinction between Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic in the Lake District has been defined via painted pottery. As a consequence, Western Anatolia would have to be empty of Early Chalcolithic findings an improbable assumption. Results from the excavations at Ulucak as well as differences within the surface findings of

7 Comprehensive: Duru 1999; 2002; see also Schoop 2002. 8 Percentage of painted pottery in Haclar (after Mellaart 1970): increasing from IX-VI (less than 10 %), V (20 %), IV

(35 %), III (45 %), II (55-60 %) to I (70 %).

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Fig. 2 Examples of pottery from Araptepe.

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Western Anatolia point to the following solution: the period of time behind all these findings is much longer than expected and holds the sequence of the Late Neolithic and the Early Chalcolithic in Western Anatolia. This assumption is sustained by the 14C dates from Ulucak and several other indications obtained by relative chronology. Calibrated radiocarbon dates place Ulucak layer IVb around the 59th or 58th century BC, the ones from level V cover a time span between 6200 and 6000 BC (Reingruber/Thissen this volume). These are the only reliable hints for an absolute chronology so far, and there are more deposits beneath Ulucak. The tempering of the pottery of Western Anatolia differs from site to site; some exclusively use mineral temper (i.e. Araptepe, Cokuntepe or Killiktepe) while at others (i.e. Moral) chaff temper is widely used9. Concerning the forms, the inner thickened rims seem to occur much more frequently at places like Araptepe, Moral and others, but were absent or under represented at Killiktepe or Ulucak IV. A similar observation can be made concerning the ring bases or low pedestals, numerous at Araptepe or Moral, but occur rarely at Ulucak or Killiktepe. Although these are surface finds and regional diversity cannot be excluded, some of these differences occur possibly for chronological reasons. Ulucak IV pottery has shown very close parallels to Early Chalcolithic Haclar (i.e. the anthropomorphic vessel; Abay this volume, Fig. 3,23 from Ulucak IV with pieces from Haclar IV and II). At Moral (Takaolu 2004, fig. 3,25) and Cokuntepe (Seeher 1990, Abb. 1,22), pieces of incised boxes, comparable to ones of the Fikirtepe culture, have been found (see Schwarzberg this volume). Presuming these imports are contemporary to the other finds of Moral and Cokuntepe and taking in consideration the new data for Classical Fikirtepe culture from Mentee (Roodenberg et al. 2003; Thissen 2002), Moral and Cokuntepe could be placed temporally somewhere around the 63rd century BC. In conclusion, within the second half of the 7th millennium and the beginning of the 6th millennium BC three different pottery complexes can be distinguished; Lake District, Western Anatolian polished red ware and the incised Fikirtepe culture ware of Northwest Anatolia. As there seems to be no painted pottery tradition in Western and Northwest Anatolia, the distinction between Late Neolithic, meaning contemporary to Bademaac or Haclar IX-VI and Early Chalcolithic, defined as contemporary to Haclar V-I, is rather difficult (if not impossible) in this area. It should be borne in mind, that the distinction of these complexes is based exclusively on pottery. Other cultural elements like subsistence strategy, lithic industry and burial customs have not been examined. Despite this, within the pottery complex labelled Fikirtepe-culture (Bittel 1970; zdoan 1983), a clear distinction between coastal (i.e. Fikirtepe, Pendik) and inland sites (i.e. Ilpnar, Mentee) concerning subsistence strategy (Buitenhuis 1994; 1995, 152), architecture (round huts and square buildings) and stone tool industry (Gatsov 2001; 2003) can be observed. These differences have been interpreted as a continuity of local autochthonous traditions from the Epipalaeolithic to the Neolithic by adopting neolithic elements from Inner Anatolia (Gatsov/zdoan 1994, 98).

9 See also difference in fabric between Ulucak IV and V, since in Ulucak V sand temper seems to be more common

(Abay this volume).

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Taking into account the radiocarbon data from Mentee in Northwest Anatolia and Bademaac or Hycek in the Southwest, it becomes evident, that the development of Neolithic cultures in the Marmara region and the Lakes district might have started around the same time, after the mid point of the 7th millennium BC. Beyond this, there is some evidence suggesting that the cultural sequence in Western Anatolia might be as long as that in the Lake District and the Marmara region. Gathering these observations, a chronological incline from the Lake District to Western Anatolia or to Northwest Anatolia is improbable and the Neolithic starts simultaneous in these three regions, at about 6500/6400 cal BC. The Neolithic in Thessaly emerged at about the same period. As it has been pointed out above, the favourable geographical conditions of Western Anatolia link it to the Aegean as well as to the inner parts of Anatolia. Western Anatolia may provide the missing link between the Lake District on the one side and Thessaly on the other side of the Aegean. It has already been mentioned that exact similarities concerning the pottery between Thessaly and Northwest Anatolia are missing, but with regard to certain typological or manufacture aspects a certain relationship between Western Anatolia and Thessaly (Wijnen 1993) or the Lakes district and Greece (Umurtak 1999) cannot be denied.

Stamp seals
Within the debate concerning the relations between Anatolia, Greece and Southeast Europe, the so called stamp seals have often been under discussion (Budja 2003; Makkay 1984; Perls 2001, 52ff; Umurtak 2000). The stamp seals are round, quadrangular or oval in form, carrying different motifs. As to the purpose of these artefacts, no agreement has been obtained (Budja 2003; Onassoglou 1996; Perls 2001; Trkcan online; Umurtak 2000). None of these objects shows traces of paint or colour on their surfaces, so the interpretation of stamp seal for decorating clothes, textiles or the body seems unlikely. Since imprints on pottery are missing, the use as a potters marker has to be refused. For the interpretation the moment of their appearance, that is to say after the end of the large communal buildings of the PPN, might be of some importance. It has been suggested that they were used for marking bread or different products in baskets, differentiating belongings of families/entities in communal store rooms/ovens. According to M. Budja (2003) these stamp seals should be described as tokens. It has been broadly accepted, that the stamp seals originated from Anatolia, since the stamp seals from atal Hyk or ayn are the oldest, dating in between 7500 and 6500 BC at the final stages or soon after the end of the PPN B. Whereas the oldest stamp seals in Greece, i.e. Nea Nikomedea, can be dated to around 6000 BC. It is remarkable that neither the Northwest Anatolian sites of Demircihyk (Seeher 1987), Ilpnar and Mentee, nor the sites by the Sea of Marmara of the Fikirtepe culture yielded any evidence of stamp seals. Regarding the motifs, the Anatolian examples comprise of meanders and fragments of curvilinear ornaments (Trkcan online), meanwhile the ones from Greece (Pilali-Papasteriou

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Fig. 3 Stamp seals from the Near East, Anatolia and Southeast Europe (different scales): 1 atal Hyk IV (Trkcan online, No.21) 2 atal Hyk VI (Trkcan online, No.22) 3 atal Hyk VII (Trkcan online, No.24) 4 Tell Halula (Molist Montana 1996, 131 Fig. 3) 5 Kgrdzali (Makkay 1984, Fig. XXIX,6; No.295) 6 Azmak (Makkay 1984, Fig. X,4; No.16) 7 Kovac evo (Lichardus-Itten et al. 2002, Pl. 21,20) 8 Kovac evo (Lichardus-Itten et al. 2002, Pl. 21,19) 9 Kovac evo (Lichardus-Itten et al. 2002, Pl.21,21) 10 Nea Nikomedia (Pini 1975, 570 No.696) 11 ayn (zdoan 1995, 97, Pl..7) 12 Hoca eme (zdoan 1999, Fig. 25c) 13 Nea Nikomedia (Pini 1975, 570 No.697) 14 Porodin (Winn 1973, 66, Fig.16b) 15 Sesklo (Pini 1975, 589 No.715) 16 Dedecik-Heybelitepe

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1992; Theocharis 1973, Pl. XX) and Southeast Europe (Dzhanfezova 2003; Makkay 1984) carry zigzags, dots and labyrinth patterns. Within the area of interest (see Fig. 4), there seem to be only two motifs used in both areas: concentric circles (Fig. 3,3-4.7-8.11-12.14-15) and a spiraloid motif (Fig. 3,1-2.5-6.9-10.13)10. During the 2003 campaign at Dedecik-Heybelitepe a conical stamp seal, made of clay, carrying concentric circles was found (Fig. 3,16), unfortunately not in a context that allowed it to be dated sufficiently. Nevertheless, within Anatolia, Greece and the Balkans, some parallels can be quoted. The easternmost parallel comes from ayn (Fig. 3,11) belonging to the latest cell buildings or large room buildings subphase (late PPN B/PPN C). Another one is from Tell Halula, a site at the Middle Euphrates in Syria (Fig. 3,4) and belongs to the late PPN B period as well (Molist Montana 1996, 131)11. One from atal Hyk (Fig. 3,3) was found in Level VII, and can be dated to around 6700/6600 BC (Trkcan online). The one from Tepecik-iftlik, cannot be dated thoroughly at the moment a date around 6000 BC seems to be probable (pers. com. E. Bicakc). The stamp seal from Bademaac (Duru 1999, 152 Fig. 39) comes from the

Fig. 4 Sites with stamp seals with concentric circles or spiraloid motive 1 Azmak 2 Bademaac 3 Balgarc evo 4 atal Hyk 5 Dedecik-Heybelitepe 6 Hoca eme 7 Kgrdzali 8 Kovac evo 9 Nea Nikomedeia 10 Porodin 11 Sesklo 12 Tell Halula 13 El Kowm 14 Tepecik iftlik 15 Ulucak (outside the map: ayn).

10 Another one with a spiraloid motive is from Balgarc evo, probably belonging to Karanovo I/II (Makkay 1984, No.

290; Dzhanfezova 2003, 101, Type I. 7)


11 Another example from El-Kowm (Syria) also belongs to the late PPN B is made of limestone (von Wickede 1990,

Abb. 14) and has an oval shape. This motive should be common at stamped plaster blocks. At both sites Tell Halula and El-Kowm the existence of obsidian of Central Anatolian origin has to be mentioned (Chataigner 1998; Cauvin 1998, 266; Pernicka et al. 1997).

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so called Early Neolithic layer 3 which means in calibrated radiocarbon dates around 6300/6200 BC (Duru 1999). Another piece from Ulucak, belonging to level IV, is dated around the 59th and 58th century BC (Abay this volume, Fig. 2). The pieces from Sesklo (Fig. 3,15) belong to the early Middle Neolithic Period (Onassoglou 1996), which means about 5900/5800 BC. A similar one is from Hoca eme II (Fig. 3,12) seems to belong to the 58th century BC. The ones from Porodin (Fig. 3,14) and Kovac evo (Fig. 3,7-9) are dated with certh tainty in the first half of the 6 millennium. To sum up: the seals carrying concentric circles distributed near and around the Aegean belong to the beginning of the 6th millennium, whereas those from Inner Anatolia like Bademaac, atal Hyk and the one from Syria are from the late 8th/7th millennium. The only stamp seal of this type from Central Anatolia that may be younger is the one from Tepecik-iftlik. On the basis of these observations, there seem to be two possibilities for the interpretation of this distribution: 1. The stamp seal type with concentric circles is distributed in Central Anatolia for several hundred years within the 7th and at least until the beginning of the 6th millennium BC. This type spread to Western Anatolia and the Aegean around 6000/5900 BC. 2. The stamp seals in the Aegean/Southeast Europe and Anatolia developed independently /separately without any connection between them. Since the one from Bademaac belongs somewhere around the 63rd/62nd century BC and the one from Tepecik might confirm an existence of this type in the early 6th millennium in Central Anatolia, the second possibility of an independent development of the stamp seals in Western Anatolia and the Aegean seems to be less probable.

Conclusion
In conclusion, the observations that have been outlined and the explanations suggested are far away from being beyond all doubt, since the actual database is inhomogeneous and small. Further details and examination of different categories of findings, other cultural elements like burial customs, subsistence strategies etc. have to be detected and analyzed. Nevertheless it seems obvious, that Western Anatolia might have played an important role within the transference of the Neolithic or Neolithic elements to Greece and Southeast Europe, not only at the beginning of the Neolithic in Greece around 6500/6400, but also at the beginning of the Neolithic in Southeast Europe at around 6000/5900 BC as it can be deducted by the distribution of the stamp seals. Since research on the Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic period has been undertaken sparsely in Western Anatolia in the past, its importance as the missing link between Anatolia and Europe has been overlooked for a long time.

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