Ceremonial plant consumption at Middle Bronze Age Büklükale, Kırıkkale Province, central Turkey

  • Andrew S. FairbairnEmail author
  • Nathan J. Wright
  • Mark Weeden
  • Gojko Barjamovic
  • Kimiyoshi Matsumura
  • Ron Rasch
Original Article


A shaft-like room at the Middle Bronze Age site of Büklükale in central Turkey preserved a rich archaeobotanical assemblage of charred and mineralised plant remains, dominated by fruits, spices and nuts mixed with probable bread and wood charcoals. The remains were recovered in association with numerous ceramic vessels, jewellery and exotic artefacts. We combine identification and analysis of the seeds and wood charcoals contained in this deposit with studies of Old Assyrian and Hittite textual records to investigate the circumstances of the assemblage’s formation and its significance for further understanding trade and plant consumption in Bronze Age Anatolia. We present the earliest archaeobotanical example in the region of rare and exotic plant species being consumed in the context of one or more social gatherings, including those possibly linked to ceremonial or ritual events. This offers new insights into the role of plants in the economic and social life of the southwest Asian Bronze Age, as well as the role of commensality and feasting in early states.


Anatolia Archaeobotany Exchange networks Hittite texts Old Assyrian texts Feasting 



This paper is offered in honour of Naomi Miller, one of the most innovative and influential archaeobotanists of the Old World, whose wide ranging, cross-disciplinary studies continue to provide the exemplar of research practice in understanding the complex history of ancient plant use. Research was supported by the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology and Australian Research Council Grant FT130101702. Helmut Kroll, Ehud Weiss and Naomi Miller provided valuable discussion concerning the preservation of grape seeds and we thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Marianne Tames-Demauras provided assistance with the wood charcoal analysis.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social ScienceThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.McDonald Institute for Archaeological ResearchUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Department of Classics & ArchaeologyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  4. 4.Department of History, Religions and PhilosophiesSOAS, University of LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Near Eastern Languages and CivilizationsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  6. 6.Japanese Institute of Anatolian ArchaeologyKırşehirTurkey
  7. 7.Centre for Microscopy and MicroanalysisThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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