Lara Carretero Gonzalez
On the origins of bread cultures in the Near East: a new archaeobotanical perspective on changing cuisine and cooking practices at Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey)
My doctoral research integrates a new social and multidisciplinary approach to Neolithic Çatalhöyük (cal 7400-6200 BC), a UNESCO site which provides the most complete record of Neolithic households in the Near East and has been a key site for the understanding of Prehistory for decades. My main aim is to assess the extent to which Çatalhöyük can be characterised as a bread culture (e.g. Fuller & Rowlands 2011) near the origins of European bread cultures, and how much diversity of cereal preparation techniques were employed in the past and how these diversified over time. The methods developed in this research will provide a new means of characterising archaeobotanical assemblages with charred food fragments as representative of Neolithic “recipes,” the chaîne opératoire, which links harvested cereals to cooked products for consumption. The key aim is to characterise how these recipes changed over time and might have varied across the Çatalhöyük community, shedding light on social differences.