P200 Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology
Site D: Dees Ko Ba site
When a farmer was digging a ditch across fertile farm land on the floodplain of the river, he found quantities of pottery, stone tools, charcoal and broken animal bones in a layer about 1 meter under the modern landsurface. Three 10 meter square test excavations in the area revealed signs of structures at the site, illustrated in the sketches from the excavator's notebook. In addition to squared blocks of limestone, postholes were found at the site, and some chunks of burnt clay earth with impressions of poles were recovered near these features.
Charcoal from two features was dated with the C-14 method:
- charcoal from trash pit: 7100 + 100 years bp (before present)
- charcoal from shallow hearth lined in limestone inside structure: 7,800 + 150 years bp
Artifacts found included:
- numerous small chips of obsidian, plus a few finished obsidian blades and endscrapers
- stemmed arrowheads and scrapers made from local flints were common
- several flint bladelets with shiny, polished-looking edges
- grindstone slabs and milling stones
- polished stone celts/axes and hoe-liek forms made from basalt
- tens of thousands of ceramic fragments
- terracotta figurines
Flotation samples yielded large quantities of charred wheat and barley grains with brittle rachis and loose husks, as well as some morphologically wild peas and lentils. Some carbonized pistachio nut shells were also found.
A few marine shells were found in the refuse pits, and the growth ring pattterns showed these to have been collected during both warm and cold seasons.
Bone refuse at the site was dominated by abundant bones of domestic goats (or perhaps sheep -- it is difficult to distinguish their bones), and some domestic cattle remains. (These bones were identified as domesticated breeds because of their size and morphology, compared to wild local breeds.) Wild boar bones and deer bones also made up about 10% of the bone remains recovered.
Numerous jaws and teeth of the cattle and sheep were analyzed to determine their age at death.
Age-at-death of domestic stock
Study hint: The sections on Paleoethnobotany and Archaeozoology pp 190-195 in your textbook will help you interpret aspects of the plant and animal remains from this site. Note the different ages-at-death of the domestic stock -- both much younger than you would expect to be caused by natural death rates -- but can you think of a possible explanation for the difference between goats and cattle?