Open PAGES Focus 4 Workshop Human-Climate-Ecosystem Interactions location:Leuven (Belgium) date:3 - 7 February 2014
The ancient city of Sagalassos is located on the southern slope of the Taurus mountains, about 100 km north of present-day Antalya (Turkey). The area was occupied from Classical-Hellenistic times to the mid-Byzantine period. Nowadays, the surroundings of Sagalassos are quite degraded due to intensive overgrazing, resulting in a short open vegetation. However, the past environment was more wooded, the climate was warmer and more humid and the main river of the nearby valley beneath probably held more water at least up to the late Roman period.
Throughout the occupation, the animal economy relied mainly on husbandry with cattle, sheep, goat, pig and chicken providing most of the animal proteins. The analysis of the carbon and nitrogen isotope composition in bone collagen from more than 400 animal bone samples from the nearby Classical/Hellenistic site of Düzen Tepe and from Sagalassos (Roman to mid-Byzantine periods) revealed diachronic and specific variations in the diet of cattle, ovicaprines and pigs, likely reflecting changes in husbandry practices and landscape use.
To investigate livestock diet at a seasonal scale, sequential δ18O and δ13C analyses are being performed on pig, cattle and ovicaprines teeth, targeting the Early Byzantine period, during which millet (a C4 plant) appears in the botanical records and could have been used as fodder. The results obtained can be used to better understand pastures management and to document another aspect of human-environment interactions in the past.