WORTHY IS THE LAMB : A DOUBLE BURIAL

AT NEOLITHIC ÇATALHÖYÜK (TURKEY)
N. RUSSELL and B.S. DÜRING

Abstract : Neolithic Çatalhöyük (central Anatolia) is well known for its elaborate animal symbolism. However, while sheep are the most
abundant animal in the faunal assemblage at the site, they are virtually absent in the art and among the animal parts incorporated into
the architecture. Thus it is striking that the first and so far only animal burial found at Çatalhöyük is a lamb placed with a human body,
a sharp departure from usual human burial practice at the site. We set this find in the context of other animal burials in the Neolithic
Near East, and note that animals included in burials are usually domestic, non-threatening, or young. We explore possible reasons for
including this animal and conclude that the relationship between this man and sheep must have been especially strong, but that “pet” is
probably an inadequate description.
Résumé : Le gisement Néolithique de Çatalhöyük (Anatolie centrale) est connu pour son symbolisme animal élaboré. Alors que parmi
les restes fauniques les moutons constituent l'espèce la mieux représentée, ceux-ci sont presque totalement absents des représentations
artistiques et des parties d'animaux incorporées dans l'architecture. Il est frappant de constater que jusqu'ici la seule inhumation d'un
animal mise au jour à Çatalhöyük est celle d'un agneau enterré avec un corps humain, ce qui change nettement des pratiques funéraires
habituelles pratiquées sur ce site. Cette découverte est replacée dans le contexte des inhumations animales connues dans le ProcheOrient au Néolithique : les animaux enterrés sont en général domestiques, inoffensifs et jeunes. En cherchant les raisons de la présence
de cet animal, nous concluons que le rapport entre cet homme et ce mouton dût être particulièrement fort ; l'interprétation comme « animal de compagnie » ne suffit pas toutefois à expliquer la nature de cette relation, la position du corps de l'agneau laissant planer une
certaine ambivalence : importance d'enterrer la bête avec l'homme mais nécessité de maintenir une séparation entre les deux.
Key-Words : Central Anatolia, Near East, Neolithic, Burial Practices, Animal burials, Human-Animal Relations, Çatalhöyük.
Mots Clefs : Anatolie centrale, Proche-Orient, Çatalhöyük, Néolithique, Pratiques funéraires, Inhumation d’animaux, Relations
humains - animaux.

ANIMALS AND PEOPLE AT ÇATALHÖYÜK
Much of the fame of Neolithic Çatalhöyük is based on the
dramatic animal symbolism at the site, including paintings,
reliefs, and the incorporation of animal parts into architecture.
It is striking that while sheep are by far the most common species in the animal bone remains at the site, they are nearly
absent in these representations1, a pattern familiar from other
1. RUSSELL and MEECE, 2006.

Paléorient, vol. 32/1, p. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006

contexts, such as Upper Palaeolithic animal depictions2. In
this context, the recent find of a sheep in a human burial at the
site adds a new dimension to our understanding of human-animal relations at Çatalhöyük and in the contemporary Near
East.
Çatalhöyük is a large tell site (13 hectares) in Central Anatolia (fig. 1). The Neolithic East Mound dates roughly to
7 400-6 200 cal. BC3. In four seasons in the 1960s, James
2. E.g. DAVIDSON, 1999.
3. CESSFORD, 2001.

Manuscrit reçu le 06 décembre 2005, accepté le 21 juin 2006

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32_1.book Page 73 Mardi, 28. novembre 2006 5:10 17

12. DÜRING. wild animals. 5. MELLAART. 9. 1969. MELLAART. but analysis of the animal bones from the recent excavations shows that the cattle are in fact wild7. 2003. were placed in the foundation fills that preceded house construction. sheep are altogether absent from paintings at Çatalhöyük. RUSSELL and B. The new investigations at Çatalhöyük show that single primary interments are the norm. and are present but severely under-represented in feasting deposits and special treatments of animal remains. The vast majority of these sheep and goats are domestic. but there is no standard orientation or arrangement of the body. appear to hold much greater symbolic significance. but sheep bones do occasionally appear in feasting and commemorative deposits. 2003. These on-site burials probably represent only a selection of the deceased13. BURIAL PRACTICES AT ÇATALHÖYÜK Most burials at Çatalhöyük are found inside houses. 6. Paléorient. as previously thought8. a few burials have evidence for secondary burial or of intentional retrieval of skeletal parts14. in pits dug through the floors. directed by Ian Hodder. novembre 2006 5:10 17 N. The ratio of sheep to goats among the specimens determined to species is 7:1. Çatalhöyük has long been known as a centre of cattle domestication6. A few. and their body parts are much more likely to be incorporated into the houses in the form of horns set in walls. with wool (these early 4. In the 1995-1999 excavation seasons. pillars.32_1. DÜRING Fig. Moreover. 1 : Eastern Mediterranean with sites mentioned in text. Most burials are contracted and lie on the right or left side. MARTIN and BUITENHUIS. 14. vol. renewed work at the site. RICHARDS et al. 1969.. 2005. 94 additional skeletons were found5. 1967. PERKINS. p. mostly infants.S. Mellaart reports a few cases of modelled clay heads with sheep horns12. 13. 2003. but by sheep and goat. In 1993 the Çatalhöyük Research Project. The only other domestic animal present is dog10. 2006. 2005. 10. 2005. particularly cattle. RUSSELL and MARTIN. PERKINS. Sheep are notably absent in the paintings. While sheep provide the staple meat source. initially focusing on careful documentation of the life history of a smaller number of houses. 28. Finally. and commemorative deposits in pits in the house floors. A smaller number of burials consists of double or triple inhumations. many more burials have been excavated. In the post-1999 seasons. 2005. DÜRING. 7. benches or modelled heads . and these burials include all age categories and both sexes in equal measure. Most or all of the animals in the paintings are wild11. ANDREWS et al. Cattle and other wild animals are more often consumed at feasts.. with systematic sieving and flotation we find that the animal bones are numerically dominated not by cattle. In sum. indicates that they were raised primarily for meat. ANDREWS et al.book Page 74 Mardi. but these remain to be analyzed. with most animals slaughtered as juveniles or subadults.. RUSSELL and MEECE. 11. although we do not know whether the horns derive from wild or domestic sheep. 1967 . 32/1. The culling pattern. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • 74 . and their meat supplied most of the protein in the diet9. and very occasionally people were buried in outdoor areas. Mellaart excavated more than 200 houses and at least 462 burials4. RUSSELL. scapulae placed in abandoned houses or built into walls . sheep are unlikely to have been woolly in any case) and dairy products of little importance. 8. making sheep the main herd animal at the site.

and in 1997 the Çatalhöyük Research Project renewed excavations here. 2 : Çatalhöyük Building 50 floor plan. it was in fact buried with a human body. Since burials were often repeatedly placed in relatively small areas in buildings.. stone maces. 15. Mellaart did not completely remove this building. 16. Mellaart reconstructed a number of moulded cattle heads (on the basis of scars in the wall plaster) with what he believed to be wavy plaster horns along the east and the west walls. 21. Paléorient. 19 and 20. 2005. 28. 1964 : 52. MELLAART. 2003 . The main room contained four posts : two on the east wall and two on the west. and designated the building as a shrine on that basis.32_1. • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Worthy is the Lamb : a Double Burial at Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey) . these burial goods do not seem to be related to the gender of the deceased18. 20. no animal burials had been found at Çatalhöyük. The edge of the trench coincided approximately with the southern Fig. and as a consequence in many cases only the latest burials in a building are fully articulated and undisturbed16. there is no direct connection between the two bodies20. 2005. fig. pl. articulated animal skeletons have been recovered. although some may be gifts from the mourners19. DÜRING. possibly natural deaths that were left where they expired. The building has a large southern room (space 112) and a narrow room (space 231) on the north (fig. 2004. removing the southern two-thirds of space 112. let alone in pits inside houses in the manner of human burials. rings. and obsidian projectile points. careful taphonomic studies of burials from the new excavations indicate that almost all bodies were buried intact. 18. wooden containers. 1967 : 207-208. MELLAART. but since the platform was replastered at least twice subsequent to this burial. none were placed in pits. many burials contain none. 17. Most are ornaments or components of clothing such as beads. Some are perinatal sheep found in penning areas. it is common for earlier burials to be disturbed by subsequent ones. and belt hooks. However. This building was first excavated by Mellaart in 1963 as Shrine 9 in Level VII21. 1967 : 105106. Perhaps the closest thing to an animal burial previously encountered is a puppy skeleton lying on top of the northeast platform of Building 3 (Level VI). and stone bowls. HAMILTON. mussel shells containing pigment. An adult male human was buried beneath this platform. whereas others contain rich assemblages. The lamb skeleton reported here is thus the first deliberate animal interment at Çatalhöyük. MELLAART. Mellaart proposed a burial rite that involved exposing bodies for excarnation by vultures prior to burying the cleaned bones in the houses15. 11-13. MELLAART. STEVANOVIC and TRINGHAM. All of these burial goods could be construed as personal possessions of the deceased. Grave goods are not ubiquitous . 2000. vol. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 75 THE BURIAL AND ITS CONTEXT This double burial occurred in the main room (space 112) of Building 50 in the South Area. 10. Occasionally burials include tools and weapons such as bone points and spatulas. pendants. Others are dogs found in midden deposits with no sign of special treatment. p. A plastered ledge running between the two northernmost posts demarcated a large platform extending across the northern part of the room. Other items include obsidian mirrors. 1967. tables 13 and 16. ANDREWS et al. flint daggers. Until 2004. While a few complete. Va . 2). novembre 2006 5:10 17 Inspired by paintings of vultures swooping at headless human figures at the site. 1996 . HAMILTON. Not only was this lamb buried like a human (in a pit dug through a house floor). 32/1. fig. HODDER. 19. Contrary to earlier suggestions17.book Page 75 Mardi.

DÜRING. 28. while the first phalanges are in early fusion. The head was badly crushed while the rest of the skeleton was in good condition and articulated. Fragments of truncated floors and features were found in both spaces. The diagnostic features of the deciduous premolars permitted the identification of this animal as a sheep26. 22. twisting the forequarters so that the legs were essentially at right angles to the body (fig. in press. 1990. since nearly all the sheep at the site are domestic. the locality of the double burial was repeatedly opened for a series of three further human burials placed above the human skeleton unit 26. SANTIAGO-MORENO et al. The surface condition of the sheep bones is very fresh. RUSSELL and B. 1982. northern part of Space 112 were excavated. 1969. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • 76 . Ibid. two single children burials. but the pelvis appears more female than male in morphology29. The sheep was oriented east-west (head to the east) with its head twisted back to the north. p. 32/1. and the second phalanges exhibit faint epiphyseal lines. but this age suggests a spring or summer burial. 29. The first permanent molars are just coming into active wear (Grant’s staged27). 5). while its front legs were close together and extended straight up vertically. A large pit (Feature 1 702) measuring about 1.32_1. otherwise they would have fallen next to the lamb and perhaps touched or lain across the human body. 3). this animal probably is. 1985. 2006. Clearly the sheep was buried intact and fully fleshed. tentatively aged 12-18 months28. sealed by a brown interface from which the matrix broke evenly and clearly. and toward the late end of her fusion Group C. The only bones out of place were a few of the smaller leg and foot bones such as sesamoids and patellae that had rolled down to the shoulders and hips during decomposition.2 m was cut through the centre of the north platform. The skeleton showed no sign of disturbance. with the legs flexed to the chest (fig. On the south was a complete. LINCOLN. 1998 . This interface is probably the remains of an organic substance such as a mat. The immaturity of the sheep prevents evaluation of its domestication status . The burials consist of two single neonate burials. and one double burial with two adults (a male and a female)23. An additional group of burials was located in the centre of the north platform. Paléorient. articulated skeleton of an adult male (Unit 10 840). one single adult burial (male). vol. DÜRING edge of the northern platform22. novembre 2006 5:10 17 N. 4)25. Thus the sheep falls into Zeder’s dental Group III. LATER BURIAL ACTIVITY Later in the occupation of Building 50. The skeleton awaits further investigation for a more detailed age. while the second molars and the permanent first incisors have not yet erupted. 31.book Page 76 Mardi. Some of the phalanges had also collapsed downward slightly. GRANT. one of them a sheep skeleton. 24. In the bottom lay a remarkable double burial (fig. PAYNE. BOZ and HAGER. too. the acetabulum of the pelvis. then. ZEDER. This mat therefore establishes the contemporaneity of the two burials. and there are hornless specimens from the Çatalhöyük assemblage as well. 23. BOESSNECK. consisting of five individuals. A shallow fill deposit surrounded this skeleton. Horn buds are apparent by four-six months of age in both mouflon (wild sheep)30 and Soay sheep (feral sheep probably descended from Bronze Age domesticates)31. A worked bird bone tube was placed on the chest and a large flint object and a bone point lay behind the left shoulder. This could only have been achieved by holding the legs up while the pit was filled . It is also too young for a reliable sex determination. and there are no signs of developing horns. The proximal radii are fused but too damaged to determine whether they retain an epiphyseal line. that the sheep is about a year old. This lamb is therefore more likely to be female.. FARID. one double burial with two children. Females are generally hornless in the modern wild sheep near Çatalhöyük.8 by 1. articulated skeleton of a young sheep (unit 10 839) lay directly on top of it. It is likely. Skeleton 10 840 was oriented west-east (head to the west) lying on its right side and leaning somewhat onto its back. In 2004. Space 231 and the remaining. two single infant burials. however. 2004. most of which could be matched with Mellaart’s published plan of this building24. stature. The season of birth for early domestic sheep is uncertain (early or late spring).S. 25. where a complete. Eleven humans were found interred below the level of the largely truncated floors of this southern part of the building.. CLUTTON-BROCK et al. tentatively aged 6-12 months. The distal humerus. It lay in a contorted posture on its left side : its hind legs extended straight behind it at roughly a 45° angle upward. 2000. 30. although they are delicate and friable. 2004. It sloped down to the north of the skeleton. 28. most of them single burials. and health assessment. 27.

10 840. • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Worthy is the Lamb : a Double Burial at Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey) . lying with legs flexed against the chest on its right side.book Page 77 Mardi. lying on their back with the legs flexed to the chest. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 above and to the east of 10 840. Paléorient. 1702. a mature female with a large number of grave goods (including four incised and perforated boar tusk plaques and a number of stone and boar incisor beads) was oriented south-north (head to the south). Fig.32_1. while skeletons 10 814 and 10 813 were placed directly above 10 840. thus with the same body posture as 10 840. 3 : Plan of burial F. novembre 2006 5:10 17 77 Fig. Both were oriented west-east (head to the west). 4 : Human skeleton 10 840. Skeleton 10 829. p. vol. 32/1. 28. with human skeleton 10 840 and sheep skeleton 10 839.

6). the odd position of the lamb’s body seems to express ambivalence toward its inclusion in the burial. none was put where the sheep had been buried. First. the orientation of the sheep in reverse to the human bodies. may be significant. vol. suggesting that this area might have been considered inappropriate for further burials. BOZ and HAGER. the sheep was Paléorient. Interestingly.book Page 78 Mardi. or perhaps it was inappropriate for human burials to occupy an area associated with an animal. with most of front legs removed. p. was located approximately 7 cm above skeleton 10 840 and was only partly found in situ. 28. an adult male. The subsequent burial 10 813. Third. with the head on the east rather than the west. The lamb was carefully placed with the human body (and the pit dug large enough to accommodate both). matches with loose incisors found with skeleton 10 814 and therefore derives from that burial32. Second. Skeleton 10 814. 2004 to a desire to avoid disturbing the upstanding front legs of the sheep (although they were not averse to disturbing human skeletons). while three later burials took place in the southern part of the north platform of space 112. but also carefully separated both by the mat and by holding its legs so they would not come in contact with the human body (fig. We believe the key point with respect to this burial group is that the positioning and orientation of the individual bodies seem to be structured by memories of earlier burials. Further. there are no standardised burial orientations at Çatalhöyük. DÜRING. RUSSELL and B. 2004. included a large bone belt hook that lay on the left side of the chest and a cluster of five flint tools and one antler implement that lay on the right side33.S. an adult female with no grave goods. and older burials were generally disturbed by more recent ones. if perhaps more flexed than would be comfortable in life. As we have already indicated. 32/1. This could be due 32. found in the north-eastern post-retrieval pit of the building. 5 : Sheep skeleton 10 839. 33. skull 10 834. DÜRING Fig.32_1. At Çatalhöyük it is often the case that only the latest burials beneath a platform remained in full articulation. whereas the humans were all placed in a position resembling a sleeping posture. due to later disturbance by the interment of skeleton unit 10 813. and thus the possible meaning of these orientations would be purely local. novembre 2006 5:10 17 N. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • 78 .

Likewise. vol. 37. it seems more than coincidental that both skeletons 10 814 and 10 813 are buried in the same body position and with the same orientation as earlier skeleton 10 840. p. Domestic animals predominate in burials of complete animals. but is likely to be domestic as well37. TCHERNOV and VALLA. 35. Dog burials. 2002. start in the Natufian34 and are also found in the Neolithic. The suid at Tell Ain el-Kerkh is too young to determine its domestication status. novembre 2006 5:10 17 79 Fig. but probably tamed35.32_1. DAVIS and VALLA. 6 : Reconstruction of the double burial by John Gordon Swogger. but Becker suggests cattle at the site may have been herded36. Most relevant to the Çatalhöyük lamb burial. VIGNE and GUILAINE. The Shillourokambos cat is morphologically wild. 28.book Page 79 Mardi. • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Worthy is the Lamb : a Double Burial at Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey) . 2002. the Basta cow falls within the range of Near Eastern wild female cattle. Given that such repetitions of burial postures in the same locations are rare at Çatalhöyük it could be suggested that these two later burials referred back to the first human burial. 1997. 32/1. BECKER. 1978 . which was associated with the sheep skeleton. two animal burials of sheep or goats were found beneath the floors of 34. but will only note some features that seem particularly relevant in relation to our lamb burial. 36. TSUNEKI. as this would seem to be a different kind of Paléorient. We leave aside here finds of animal parts in human graves. ANIMAL BURIALS IN THE NEAR EASTERN NEOLITHIC To put our sheep burial into the context of the Near Eastern Neolithic. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 practice. some with humans. we surveyed the available literature for other occurrences of complete animals in burials (see Table 1 and references therein). 2004. buried in a completely artificial position. as that is beyond the scope of this paper. Further. we will not extensively discuss the animal burials of the Near Eastern Neolithic. Fourth.

DISCUSSION Some have suggested that an association between death and wild and/or dangerous animals is a key theme of the Near Eastern Neolithic40. 2002. However. DIKAIOS. 1953 . 2004 Çayönü Dog Unknown Near male human burial PPNB SE Anatolia ÖZDO*AN. animals in burials. and there are certainly many examples that fit this idea41. vol. One burial contained an adult sheep or goat. partial remains of at least 5 individuals in same deposits PPNB Cyprus CROFT. 1953 : 67. and the Tell Ain el-Kerkh pig had been partially dismembered and stacked in a pile. Site Animal Age Human Association ? Period Area References Demirköy Höyük Dog Unknown None PPNA/ EPPNB SE Anatolia ROSENBERG and PEASNALL. 1990 . these animals are generally not buried in direct association with a human skeleton. Paléorient. Some of these animals were not buried as intact carcasses. The human specimens that accompany them suggest that this is a ritual deposit rather than disposal of diseased or otherwise inedible carcasses. 1998 lia Tell Ain el-Kerkh Pig 6 months Near human child. The only direct association in a burial occurs at Tell Ain el Kerkh where a human infant and an infant suid occur along with a pile of jumbled animal bones in the same stone-lined pit. Pakistan (Period I. 2003 Shillourokambos Cat 8 months Near human burial PPNB Cyprus VIGNE et al. head to tail below threshold Unknown None Ceramic Neolithic Central Anato. under threshold ‘PPNC’ Cyprus DIKAIOS. disarticulated bones nearby PPNB Levant HORWITZ and GORING-MORRIS. Unfortunately. DÜRING Table 1 : Animal Burials in the Neolithic Near East. In one case (the pregnant Basta cow) the animal burial was associated with new life. in sealed structure Ceramic Neolithic Northern Levant buildings at Khirokitia. 32/1. VERHOEVEN. 1998 Basta Pregnant cow Mature. E.. 2004 Khirokitia Sheep or goat Mature None . HODDER. The Basta cow was butchered and defleshed.book Page 80 Mardi.g. KING. 1999 : 51-52. ÖZDO*AN.32_1. 1953 . and the latter are located near a human adult burial38. we should also mention what is probably the closest parallel to the Çatalhöyük sheep burial : four adult human burials at Mehrgarh. In most cases where we have information about age. 2002 Kfar Hahoresh Headless gazelle Unknown Plastered skull immediately above it in plaster-lined pit . with the foetus in place. with foetus Near adult male burial PPNB Levant BECKER. 1 little owl in well 8 immature. 28. 14 goats. 1953 Canhasan I 2 dogs. E. 41. 1 mature goat Disarticulated. 2002 Kissonerga-Mylouthkia is not really a burial. 1982. including those associated with human remains. few details have been published about these caprine burials at Khirokitia. then the bones were carefully placed in roughly anatomical position to reconstruct the skeleton. the animals buried are relatively young. preceramic Neolithic) with infantile goats arrayed around their feet39. although several are buried near humans or found with a few disarticulated human bones. 1 mature sheep . 222 . 12 immature. KING.FRENCH. 40. but contains deliberately deposited intact animals. While geographically distant. The well at 38. 1999 KissonergaMylouthkia 9 sheep.S. TSUNEKI. In contrast to some of the Natufian dog burials. novembre 2006 5:10 17 N. LECHEVALLIER et al. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • 80 . RUSSELL and B. below floor XII of tholos X ‘PPNC’ Cyprus DIKAIOS.. the other includes four young sheep or goats. The Kfar HaHoresh gazelle is headless. 39. KING. 1953 : 435. are often domestic. below floor III of tholos VII. p. 77.g. 1953 Khirokitia 4 sheep or goats Immature Near adult burial.

but we will discuss possible explanations for the human-lamb co-burial at Çatalhöyük in the context of these broader practices. It seems unlikely that whole animals in human burials. sheep do not appear to have been of major symbolic significance at Çatalhöyük. 1978. Tani points out that creating domestic animal herds requires breaking ‘vertical’ bonds between mother and offspring and fostering ‘horizontal’ bonds among age-mates47. the same is true of the Çatalhöyük lamb. animals that have been taken into the family and granted a quasi-human status43. normally it is the young males that are culled. and in at least some cases it would be easy to interpret the animals as pets. DAVIS and VALLA. HELMER et al. 42. and the general pattern of young animals in burials found at various Neolithic sites. We suspect that there were multiple reasons for animal burials. However. there might be ambivalent feelings among the living about a dead shaman’s animal familiar. are intended to provide food for the afterlife. If it was domestic. since the difference between sacrifice and ordinary slaughter is the context in which it occurs. It has been suggested that the goats in the Mehrgarh burials mark the people with them as shepherds. MOREY. 46. 1991 .g. or young. On the other hand. 28. Paléorient. then it is unclear why only this particular person was so marked in death. A lamb would be an unusual spirit helper (carnivores and birds seem to be more typical). or spirit guides leading the dead to the afterworld45. 1996. where the person’s hand lies on the dog’s head44. This strand is less adversarial. There may be elements of several of these possibilities involved in this human-sheep relationship. and such a role has been suggested for canids and vultures in the Near Eastern Neolithic based on artistic representations46. Prototypically these are bell-wethers. While most sheep at Çatalhöyük were raised for meat. and was surely ritually consumed. slaughtering a pregnant female would be a true sacrifice of a highly valuable animal. if it was indeed female. Sacrifice is difficult to establish archaeologically. 2004. and each case needs to be analyzed in its own context. and one could interpret the Çatalhöyük burial in the same way. probably the norm. although other explanations are possible.. 1984. E. Intact animals found in human burials or buried like humans are often taken to be pets. 47. novembre 2006 5:10 17 non-threatening. 44. this seems an insufficient explanation for its burial. TANI. vol. The Çatalhöyük lamb was probably all three. or every member of certain age/gender categories. And we would expect that the intimate bond with an animal familiar would preclude the aversion to touch seen in this case. as noted above. E. shepherds commonly develop especially close relationships with one or a few animals. which then act as herd leaders. as it would have formed a part of the breeding stock. WING. p. given the great care taken to avoid contact between the human and sheep bodies. fit this model. this does not preclude one of them being a pet. It is possible that this burial represents a particularly intense relationship of this kind. Thus there is another strand to human-animal relations and their connection with death and the dead. at Çatalhöyük. VALLA. • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Worthy is the Lamb : a Double Burial at Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey) . it is inappropriate to apply present-day notions of pets or companion animals to the Neolithic42. As Vigne and Guilaine have observed. COLLINS. In fact there is little evidence for this practice anywhere in the Neolithic Near East. 32/1. as most get no special treatment in death and may have been skinned and eaten. in contrast to Period I at Mehrgarh. The dog and cat burials.g. If nearly everyone. that is. 2004.32_1. We have noted that most Çatalhöyük grave goods appear to be personal possessions. This contrasts with the famous Natufian Ain Mallaha burial. the inclusion of the sheep with a human in a burial does indicate some form of special relationship between the two. We will not attempt a caseby-case analysis of all Near Eastern Neolithic animal burials. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 81 which does not bespeak affection. Thus although the sheep may have been sacrificed. was a shepherd. while taming the lambs. Certainly not all dogs and cats (much less cattle and sheep) were treated as companion animals. but may also be intact males or females. However. and the awkward burial position of the sheep. To a lesser extent. sheep herding must have been very common. To control the herd. Another possibility is that the animal was sacrificed to honour the dead person or propitiate their or other spirits. 43. The general lack of animals in Çatalhöyük burials does not indicate a concept of the need for an animal guide to the afterworld. Animals in human burials have sometimes been interpreted as shamans’ animal familiars (a spirit helper in animal form).book Page 81 Mardi. On the other hand. burial of sacrificial animals was not part of the usual ritual. The Basta cow is a good candidate. this does not seem likely. 45. Perhaps he was especially wealthy in livestock. while sacrifice may well have been practiced at Çatalhöyük. 1996 : 660 . as opposed to joints of meat. VIGNE and GUILAINE. and. However. Shepherds accomplish this by removing lambs from their mothers for much of the time and grouping them together. 2006.

2001 A new dating sequence for Çatalhöyük. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 11. Anatolian Studies 53 : 1-15. Ethnographic.32_1. the echoing of the position and orientation of the man buried with it in the subsequent burials in this location suggest that he was regarded not as a pariah. and 6 respectively. 28. 1994.com). This paper has benefited from comments on an earlier version by Chiara Cavallo. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to thank our colleagues on the Çatalhöyük Project in general. 1978 Evidence for domestication of the dog 12. Khirokitia : final report on the excavation of a Neolithic settlement in Cyprus.L. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History 56. Perhaps this is the crux of the matter : the personal ties between the dead man and this particular lamb were so strong that it was felt necessary to include it. 1976-1996 : 49-58. 1990 Osteology of the Soay sheep. and JEWELL P. DENNIS-BRYAN K. It may be significant that the sheep is probably domestic.1. Çatalhöyük Archive Reports 2004. Bleda Düring worked on this paper in the course of a Ph.S. 2005 The human burials at Çatalhöyük. CLUTTON-BROCK J. funded by the Faculty of Archaeology. and HAGER L. Archaeozoology of the Near East V : 112-137. CHOYKE A. Nothing to do with indigenous domestication ? Cattle from Late PPNB Basta. p. In : BUITENHUIS H.com) Paléorient. Burial of intact animals in human graves is otherwise unknown in the Neolithic Near East. London : Oxford University Press.H. INGOLD. and AL-SHIYAB A. (ed. Leiden University. BIBLIOGRAPHY ANDREWS P. Journal of Ethnobiology 11/2 : 205-229. 1991 Interaction between island foxes (Urocyon littoralis) and Native Americans on islands off the coast of southern California II. the creators of Figures 1. but as a respected ancestor. ARMITAGE P.S. RUSSELL and B.R.catalhoyuk. 2001 . In : PELTENBURG E. BRADLEY. and VALLA F. it is clear that the context we have encountered is highly exceptional. DÜRING Institute of Archaeology University College London 31-34 Gordon Square London WC1 0PY United Kingdom bsduring@yahoo. Lori Hager. DÜRING In any case. 2001 Humans. Groningen : Center for Archaeological Research and Consultancy (ARC Publicatie 62). Rebecca Daly. Inhabiting Çatalhöyük : reports from the 1995-1999 seasons : 261-278. DAVIS S. The colonisation and settlement of Cyprus : investigations at Kissonerga-Mylouthkia.edu Bleda S. archaeological. NY 14853 United States nr29@cornell. London : Thames and Hudson. 1953 48. (http : //www. and Marin Pilloud in particular. Nerissa RUSSELL Department of Anthropology Cornell University Ithaca. Shahina Farid. and three anonymous reviewers. 32/1. We are grateful to Medy Oberendorff. DÜRING B. BOZ B. Çatalhöyük Archive Reports 2004. Katheryn Twiss. BECKER C.com CESSFORD C. 2003 Burials in context : the 1960s inhumations of Çatalhöyük East. In : HODDER I. (ed.290 : 717-725. Claire Christensen. Melinda Zeder. and Basak Boz. 2002 BOESSNECK J. 1969 Osteological differences between sheep (Ovis aries Linné) and goat (Capra hircus Linné). 5. 2. MASHKOUR M. Archaeology in Oceania 34 : 121-131.. Antiquity 75.catalhoyuk.).). 2004 Spaces 112 and 231. BRADLEY R. and John Swogger.M. Cambridge : McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.W. as well as the subsequent interments. vol.J.. and BOZ B. animals and the domestication of visual images.4).J. this is the only one containing an animal. Lori Hager. Ian Hodder. (http : //www. as the human-animal boundary tends to be drawn more sharply with domestic animals48. (eds). CROFT P. and HIGGS E. Göteborg : Paul Åströms (Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 70. (eds).A. COLLINS P.000 years ago in the Natufian of Israel.book Page 82 Mardi.S. MOLLESON T..R. 1999 Symbols by nature : animal frequencies in the Upper Palaeolithic of western Europe and the nature of symbolic representation. and historic evidence. 2003 The animal bones. DAVIDSON I. Nature 276 : 608-610. In : BROTHWELL D. 73-84 © CNRS ÉDITIONS 2006 • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • Tirés à part CNRS ÉDITIONS • 82 .. novembre 2006 5:10 17 N. 2004 Human remains. Despite the ambivalence about the lamb. Science in archaeology : a survey of progress and research : 331-358. DIKAIOS P.D. Although hundreds of burials have been excavated at Çatalhöyük. but concern over this transgression of human-animal boundaries was expressed by maintaining a certain separation between the two bodies.. Mark Roughley.M. Sophie Lamb.2 : 261-263.

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