Research ArticleANTHROPOLOGY

Urine salts elucidate Early Neolithic animal management at Aşıklı Höyük, Turkey

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Science Advances  17 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaaw0038
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw0038
  • Fig. 1 Map of Aşıklı Höyük excavation.

    Map showing excavation areas and sampling locations at Aşıklı Höyük. Three areas of sampling mentioned in the text (light gray areas) include area 4GH, area 2JK, or the west wall, and southern transect. Modified from Quade et al. (8).

  • Fig. 2 Secondary salts and mineral nodules in the micromorphology samples.

    (A) Photomicrograph of the contact between a layer of intact dung and the underlying sediment. The dung layer contains thin, undulating lenses of calcareous spherulites (S) interbedded with siliceous phytoliths (p). The sediment beneath contains fragments of volcanic glass (v), degraded organic material (om), and secondary nodules of apatite (a) in a matrix rich in wood ashes and clay minerals. A concentration of secondary mineral crystals—unidentified but likely soluble salts—formed within a void is indicated with an arrow. Plane-polarized light. (B) Same view as (A), cross-polarized light. Area scanned using micro–x-ray fluorescence indicated with the red box. (C) Elemental distribution map showing enrichment of sodium in the secondary mineral crystals, as well as phosphorus in the apatite and organic material, potassium in the volcanic glass, and aluminum in the clay-rich matrix. Note that although concentrations of suspected soluble salts (as well as other secondary minerals such as apatite and gypsum) have been observed in the micromorphology samples, further identification is limited because of highly variable crystal morphologies (58).

  • Fig. 3 Stratigraphic profile and soluble salt concentrations from area 4GH (see Fig. 1 for location) at Aşıklı Höyük.

    (Left) Depth profile of the archaeological material and basal sediments, with specific major archaeological Levels 5 to 3 indicated. Alternating silt and sand represented by patterns on stratigraphic column, while grain size is shown through relative width of each section. (Right) Concentrations of seven soluble salts (see key) versus depth. The black curve denotes the average (Avg.) of all salts.

  • Fig. 4 Comparison of soluble salt concentrations between archaeological and nonarchaeological sediments.

    (A) [Na+], (B) [Cl], and (C) [NO3] (in moles × 1000 kg−1) across major archaeological intervals (levels 5 to 2). Natural alluvium soluble salt concentrations from (i) all samples and (ii) samples directly beneath level 5 in area 2JK are provided only for comparison. Whisker lengths depict one-third of the interquartile range. The solid line within each box represents the median, while the dashed line shows the mean of the sample set. Data displayed here include general midden, dung-dominated midden, and alleyway samples combined.

  • Fig. 5 δ15N values (in per mil) of refuse samples from Aşıklı Höyük compared to a range of sources of nitrates.

    Whisker lengths denote one-third of the interquartile range. The solid line within each box represents the median, while the dashed line shows the mean of the sample set. Data not from Aşıklı Höyük are taken from (3943).

  • Fig. 6 Model-predicted densities (organisms per square meter) of organisms required to produce urine-related [Na+], [Cl], and [NO3] found at Aşıklı Höyük, averaged across specific time intervals (levels 5 to 2).

    (A) Assuming a constant sedimentation rate over the entire period of occupation and (B) using variable sedimentation rates based on carbon-14–dated level boundaries (8). Densities of ≤0 indicate that conservative estimates of other inherited, anthropogenic, and postdepositional sources of soluble salts account for total [Na+], [Cl], and [NO3] observed in the refuse. (C) Relative abundance [percentage of the total number of identified skeletal specimens (NISP)] of caprines in the vertebrate faunal assemblages averaged by level [updated from (7) from Aşıklı Höyük].

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/4/eaaw0038/DC1

    Section S1. Density and constituent fraction determination for midden and construction debris

    Section S2. Nitratine formation

    Section S3. Wood ash ion concentrations and density

    Section S4. Rainfall concentration and calculations

    Section S5. Runoff fraction for rain

    Section S6. Fraction of time spent on the site

    Section S7. Ion concentrations in human and caprine urine

    Section S8. Example calculation

    Section S9. Calculation of sedimentation rates

    Section S10. Heterogeneity of elemental concentrations across various samples

    Section S11. Sensitivity of the mass balance model

    Fig. S1. Infrared spectrum from a dung layer in midden (Level 3).

    Fig. S2. Comparison of salt concentrations in various archaeological and nonarchaeological materials.

    Fig. S3. Box and whisker plot of soluble salt concentrations (in moles × 1000 kg−1) across three sampling sections: area 4GH, area 2JK, and southern transect.

    Fig. S4. Four pie diagrams displaying soluble salt percentages.

    Table S1. Soluble salt chemistry and δ15Nsoluble of archaeological and nonarchaeological layers at Aşıklı Höyük.

    Table S2. Statistical information of soluble salts based on material, spatial, and temporal setting.

    Table S3. Mass balance and organism estimation model of sodium at Aşıklı Höyük.

    Table S4. Mass balance and organism estimation model of chlorine at Aşıklı Höyük.

    Table S5. Mass balance and organism estimation model of nitrate at Aşıklı Höyük.

    Table S6. Density data from midden, construction material, and alluvium samples at Aşıklı Höyük.

    References (5981)

  • Supplementary Materials

    The PDF file includes:

    • Section S1. Density and constituent fraction determination for midden and construction debris
    • Section S2. Nitratine formation
    • Section S3. Wood ash ion concentrations and density
    • Section S4. Rainfall concentration and calculations
    • Section S5. Runoff fraction for rain
    • Section S6. Fraction of time spent on the site
    • Section S7. Ion concentrations in human and caprine urine
    • Section S8. Example calculation
    • Section S9. Calculation of sedimentation rates
    • Section S10. Heterogeneity of elemental concentrations across various samples
    • Section S11. Sensitivity of the mass balance model
    • Fig. S1. Infrared spectrum from a dung layer in midden (Level 3).
    • Fig. S2. Comparison of salt concentrations in various archaeological and nonarchaeological materials.
    • Fig. S3. Box and whisker plot of soluble salt concentrations (in moles × 1000 kg −1) across three sampling sections: area 4GH, area 2JK, and southern transect.
    • Fig. S4. Four pie diagrams displaying soluble salt percentages.
    • Table S1. Soluble salt chemistry and δ 15Nsoluble of archaeological and nonarchaeological layers at Aşıklı Höyük.
    • Table S2. Statistical information of soluble salts based on material, spatial, and temporal setting.
    • Table S3. Mass balance and organism estimation model of sodium at Aşıklı Höyük.
    • Table S4. Mass balance and organism estimation model of chlorine at Aşıklı Höyük.
    • Table S5. Mass balance and organism estimation model of nitrate at Aşıklı Höyük.
    • Table S6. Density data from midden, construction material, and alluvium samples at Aşıklı Höyük.
    • References (5981)

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