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28 July 2012
Turkish village holds clues to end of nomadic lifestyle

Boncuklu Hoyuk, a 10,000-year-old early village site in central Turkey, is one of the earliest village sites found from the period when hunter-gatherer societies began to leave their nomadic lifestyle and take up farming.
     "It's come to be one of the key transformations in human history," says Dr Andrew Fairbairn, team leader from the University of Queensland, Australia, "So Boncuklu is one of those very rare sites that allows us to investigate that time period."
     Boncuklu Hoyuk, which means "beady mound" - named after the high number of stone and clay notched beads found - was discovered about a decade ago by the head of the British excavation team, Dr Douglas Baird, who had worked on the nearby, famous village site of Catalhoyuk.
     Over the past year the team has discovered the skulls of wild cattle embedded into the wall plaster of huts, a tradition also carried out at Catalhoyuk. The remains of plants foreign to the area that were used as crops have also been found on land near the site, Dr Fairbairn says.
     "What we have is, basically, a hunter-gatherer society there that is settling down, using some crops - importing them or trading them with other settlements. And what you tend to find in Boncuklu is a picture that we're finding all the way across Europe now for this period, which is that all the men are the same and all the women are actually different." Dr Fairbairn says it appears men may have inherited land or were fixed in one place while women moved to different settlements.

Edited from ABC News (18 July 2912)

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