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Publication - Professor Richard Evershed

    Evidence for the impact of the 8.2 kyr BP climate event on Near Eastern early farmers


    Roffet-Salque, M, Marciniak, A, Valdes, P, Pawłowska, K, Pyzel, J, Czerniak, L, Kruger, M, Roberts, NC, Pitter, S & Evershed, R, 2018, ‘Evidence for the impact of the 8.2 kyr BP climate event on Near Eastern early farmers’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.


    The 8.2 kyr BP event is evident in multiple proxy records across the globe showing generally dry and cold conditions for ca. 160 years. Environmental changes around the event are mainly detected using geochemical or palynological analyses of ice cores, lacustrine, marine and other sediments often distant from human settlements. The late Neolithic excavated area of the archaeological site of Çatalhöyük East (TP area) was occupied for four centuries in the 9th and 8th millennia BP, thus encompassing the 8.2 kyr BP climatic event. A Bayesian analysis of 56 radiocarbon dates yielded a high-resolution chronological model comprising six building phases, with dates ranging from before 8325-8205 cal BP to 7925-7815 cal BP. Here we correlate a novel on-site palaeoclimate record constructed from δ2H values of lipid biomarkers preserved in pottery vessels recovered from these buildings, with changes in architectural, archaeozoological, and consumption records from well-documented archaeological contexts. The overall sequence shows major changes in husbandry and consumption practices at ca. 8.2 kyr BP, synchronous with variations in the δ2H values of the animal fat residues. Changes in paleoclimate and archaeological records appear connected with the patterns of atmospheric precipitation during the occupation of the TP area predicted by climate modelling. Our new multi-proxy approach uses records derived directly from documented archaeological contexts. Through this we provide compelling evidence for the specific impacts of the 8.2 kyr BP climatic event on the economic and domestic activities of pioneer Neolithic farmers, influencing decisions relating to settlement planning and food procurement strategies.

    Full details in the University publications repository