Original Article

Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 467-479

First online:

Wild plant seed storage at Neolithic Çatalhöyük East, Turkey

  • Andrew FairbairnAffiliated withSchool of Social Science, University of Queensland Email author 
  • , Danièle MartinoliAffiliated withInstitute for Prehistory and Archaeological Science IPAS, Basel University
  • , Ann ButlerAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London
  • , Gordon HillmanAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London

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Full analysis of eight seed samples collected in the 1960's excavations at Neolithic Çatalhöyük East, Turkey, is presented. Detailed investigation of the composition and context of the samples suggests that the Neolithic population collected, processed and stored seeds from Capsella sp. and Descurainia sp. (wild crucifers) for food use. In addition seeds of Vicia/Lathyrus sp. (wild vetch), Helianthemum spp. and Taeniatherum caput-medusae mixed with Eremopyrum type (grasses) were also found, some of which may have been used for food or other purposes. The analysis demonstrates that wild seed exploitation was a regular part of subsistence practice alongside the economic staple of crop production, and again demonstrates how diverse plant use practices were at the site.


Archaeobotany Neolithic Çatal Hüyük Storage Wild plants