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    Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and EarlyChalcolithic: the actual state of research

    by Clemens LICHTER


    On the basis of river catchments, the lowlands west and northwest of the Central AnatolianPlateau can be subdivided into two distinct areas. The northwest encompasses the catchmentof rivers emerging into the Sea of Marmara and the rivers flowing to the Aegean define

    Western Anatolia.

    In the last two decades, intensive field research in Northwest Turkey in both Thrace andthe Marmara Region extending onto the Anatolian peninsula has been carried out by Istan-bul University under the supervision of M. zdoan (survey in Turkish Thrace and excava-tions at Toptepe, Yarmburgaz, Hoca eflme; comprehensive: zdoan 1989; 1999), by theDutch team excavating at Ilpnar (Roodenberg 1995; 1999; Roodenberg/Thissen 2001) andMentefle (Roodenberg et al. 2003), and by a German-Turkish team working at the site of

    Afla Pnar (zdoan/Parzinger 1995; Karul et al. 2003) in Turkish Thrace. This fieldworkhas now established the foundations of a chronological sequence, a basis for future investi-gation so that the present day cultural sequences of Northwest Anatolia can be correlated

    with those of the Balkans. This research has demonstrated a significant phenomenon: theThracian characteristics obviously display features different from those of the Northwest

    Anatolian regions. First of all the chronological aspect must be mentioned. Regarding the14C data (Reingruber/Thissen this volume) no site in Thrace belongs to the 7th millennium,

    whereas neolithic sites in Northwest Anatolia can be dated at least to the 63rd century BC.The Fikirtepe culture known through many sites in Northwest Anatolia seems to be ab-sent in Thrace. One may object for good reasons, that the state of research in Turkish Thracemay be responsible for the lack of neolithic sites dating to the 7 th millennium BC and thatolder sites in Thrace are waiting to be discovered and excavated. On the other hand furtherobservations can hardly be neglected. Examinations of the lithic industries (Gatsov 2001;

    2003) highlight the differences between the lithic industries of Neolithic Thrace on the oneside and Ilpnar on the other. Similar observations can be made concerning a number of

    C. Lichter (ed.), How did farming reach Europe? BYZAS 2 (2005) 5974

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    bone tools (Sidra 1998). Polypod vessel types (Schwarzberg this volume) in Thrace differfrom those found in Anatolia1. Stamp seals, well known from Anatolia and SoutheastEurope (see further below) are missing in Northwest Anatolia but belong to the neolithic

    inventory of Thracian sites.

    Together these observations seem to suggest that the Sea of Marmara connecting theAegean and the Black Sea and situated between Anatolia and the Balkan peninsula hadoccasionally acted more as a barrier than a bridge; that is to say it did not fulfil the bridgefunction taken for granted due to its distinctive location in earlier assessments concerningthe neolithization of Europe. Hand-in-hand with this conclusion comes the observation thatthe chronology of Early Neolithic sites within Bulgaria suggests a spread from west to eastrather than from east to west (Thissen 2000a). Furthermore, the fact that the earliest neo-lithic traces in Europe are found in Thessaly (Greece) around the mid of the 7th millennium


    can hardly be disregarded. Northwest Turkey seems to have been situated only on theperiphery of the main dissemination route of the Neolithic to Europe.

    Western Anatolia

    The Western Anatolian rivers flowing into the Aegean, namely Bakr ay, Gediz ay, Kkand Byk Menderes, are more or less E-W oriented, and give natural access to the highlandsof Anatolia, where they have their source. Also these rivers connect and formed the manyfertile plains favourable for farming communities. In general, these environmental advanta-ges (accessibility of the hinterland and broad fertile plains) clearly distinguish Western

    Anatolia from the Black Sea- or Southern Anatolian coastal regions, where the E-W orientedchains of high mountains impeded the formation of broad plains and presented a naturalbarrier for access to the interior of the country.

    Concerning the environmental conditions of Western Anatolia it has often been shown thatdue to the rise and fall of the sea level and the accumulation of river sediments the coastlinemust have altered enormous since the end of the last Ice age (i.e. Brckner 2003; Erol 1976;Kayan 1988; 1997; Kraft et al. 1980). This phenomenon may completely change the relationand distance of any prehistoric site to the sea. Furthermore one might also expect a largenumber of prehistoric settlements to be buried underneath huge alluvial deposits.

    It is a well-known fact, that the Aegean due to the short distance between the islands and thevisibility of one another was a favourable area for ancient seafaring (Broodbank 2000, 101ff).In spite of a long history of research for instance on the Cyclades, until now no Early Neo-lithic site (Greek terminology) has been found on the Aegean islands. At first sight there isno reason to believe that any contacts had been established via the Aegean in the EarlyNeolithic period. On the other hand, the restricted resources of these islands, restrained

    Clemens Lichter60

    1 Schwarzberg this volume, Fig. 6; Type 2 distributed in Anatolia and the Balkans is missing in Thrace, whereas Type1, familiar in Thrace is unknown in Anatolia.

    2 See Alram-Stern 1996, 189-195; Bloedow 1991; 1993, 56 (6600 cal BC); Perls 2001, 94 (6500 cal BC); Thissen 2000a,143; 2000c, 192 (6300 cal BC).

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    Early Neolithic farmers from permanently settling there and could be inferred as the reasonfor this absence. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe, that the islands in the Aegean mighthave been visited and were used as stopping places (Broodbank 2000, 111).

    It has become evident from several avenues of research that the Aegean was being navigatedlong before the introduction of agriculture. An irrefutable indication of seafaring on the

    Aegean in a pre-Neolithic period are the Melian obsidian finds from as early as Late Palaeo-lithic strata at the site of Franchthi in Greece (Perls 1987, 142-145; Perls 1990, 30; Ren-frew/Aspinall 1990, 257-270) and in the Mesolithic layers of the Cyclops Cave on the islandof Youra (Sampson this volume). In the case of Anatolia, pieces of obsidian of Melian originfound in Western Anatolian sites like Moral (French 1965; 1969), Altnkum Plaj (Gebel1984; Mosheim/Althaus 1984) and Dedecik-Heybelitepe (Lichter/Meri in prep.) demon-strate contact with the Aegean3. The colonization of islands like Cyprus, Corsica or Sardinia

    (Cherry 1981; 1990; Peltenburg et al. 2000) from the 8th

    millennium BC (or even earlier)or the neolithisation of Crete (Broodbank/Strasser 1991) provides further evidence for thisassumption.

    Taking into consideration all these observations, Western Anatolia can be termed as a favour-able area with respect to the natural environment and its connection with the surroundingenvirons (Thissen 2000b).

    The archaeological evidence

    Concerning the Neolithic and the Early Chalcolithic, Western Anatolia was for a long timeviewed as a region devoid of settlements. It is only relatively recently that archaeologicalresearch of the pre-bronze age period in Western Anatolia began in earnest. D. Frenchdiscovered a few sites in the zmir region and published some material (French 1965). Sincethe eighties many new sites have been discovered, more or less intensively surveyed and pub-lished4. Concerning the location of these sites one can distinguish settlements not far fromthe coastline or probable ancient coastline (i.e. Araptepe, Coflkuntepe, Killiktepe) and sitesat the edge or within fertile alluvial plains (i.e. Dedecik-Heybelitepe, Moral, Ulucak), a dif-ferentiation within the ceramic finds has not been outlined thus far. Besides flat settlements

    with only thin layers of cultural deposit (i.e. Araptepe, Coflkuntepe) several multi-layered tell

    settlements have been noticed (i.e. Ulucak).The sites presently known (Fig. 1) are distributed along the coast from Thrace and theGelibolu peninsula to the mouth of the Byk Menderes. The easternmost sites were discov-ered on the western fringes of Ktahya, Uflak and Afyon provinces (Efe 1995; 1996). An

    Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic: the actual state of research 61

    3 In contrast, the provenance of the Obsidian used in Ulucak was probably Central Anatolia (ilingirolu et al. 2004,52).

    4 Altnkum Plaj (Gebel 1984); Araptepe (Lichter 2002); Coflkuntepe (Seeher 1990); Hamayltarla and other sitesarround Gelibolu peninsula (Erdou 2000); Killiktepe (Voigtlnder 1983); Moral (Din 1997; Takaolu 2004);

    Tavflan / fiapl adas (Akdeniz 1997a; 1997b); Aydn Province (Gnel 2003a/b; 2004); Gelibolu peninsula (zdoan1986); Torbal plain (Meri 1993).

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    Clemens Lichter62

    Fig. 1 Map of Western Anatolia with sites mentioned in the text

    1. Akmaka (Efe 1995) 2. Alibeyli (French 1965) 3. Altnkum Plaj (Gebel 1984) 4. Aphrodisias-Pekmez (Joukowsky 1986) 5. Araptepe-Bekirlertepe (Lichter 2002) 6. Afla Pnar(Karul et al. 2003) 7. Ayio Gala (Hood 1981) 8. Bademaac (Duru 1999) 9. Bergama-Paflaky(Erdou 2000, 158) 10. Buruneren 11. Coflkuntepe (Seeher 1990) 12. alca (zdoan/Gatsov

    1998) 13. Demircihyk (Seeher 1987) 14. Fikirtepe (Bittel 1970) 15. Haclar (Mellaart 1970) 16. Hamayltarla (Erdou 2000, 158) 17. Hoca eflme (zdoan 1999) 18. Hycek (Duru 1995) 19. Ilpnar (Roodenberg 1995) 20. Karaaatepe (Demangel 1926) 21. Kaynarca Mevkii (zdoan

    1986) 22. Keiayr (Efe 1996) 23. Killiktepe (Voigtlnder 1983) 24. Kk Yamanlar (Meri1993) 25. Kuruay (Duru 1994) 26. Kyme Ege Gbre (Erdou 2000, 158) 27. Mentefle(Roodenberg 2002) 28. Mersinli (Meri 1993) 29. Moral (French 1965; Din 1997)

    30. Muslueflme (zdoan/Gatsov 1998) 31. Nemrut (Meri 1993) 32. Pendik (Pasinli et al. 1994) 33. Sapladas (Akdeniz 1997) 34. Tavflan adas (Akdeniz 1997) 35. Tepeky (Meri 1993)

    36. Tepest-Barbaros (Erdou 2000, 158) 37. Toptepe 38. Uurlu (Erdou this volume) 39. Ulucak (Abay this volume) 40. Yarmburgaz 41. Yenmifl (Meri 1993)

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    intensification of research in the whole area is necessary and desirable, since most of the sitesare known only by surface finds.

    The first excavation of a multi layer site began in 1995 at Ulucak near Kemalpafla, east ofzmir (Derin/ilingirolu 2003; Derin/ner 1997; ilingirolu et al. 2004; Abay, Derin thisvolume). Since 2003 another excavation at Dedecik-Heybelitepe on the Torbal plain, southof zmir has started (Lichter/Meri in prep.). This site a flat settlement is situated at the

    western edge of the Torbal Plain and was discovered by R. Meri.

    Since quite a lot of sites have recently been discovered, the above mentioned assumption ofa region devoid of settlements is no longer maintainable. Western Anatolia seems to havebeen densely populated, as one would expect taking in consideration the favourable condi-tions there.

    Concerning the pottery, the best and most comprehensive sample, tentatively, is from Ulucak(see Abay this volume; ilingirolu et al. 2004, 38ff). Additionally ceramics from the surfacesof other sites complete the picture (Fig. 2). In general the pottery can be characterized asred, reddish brown and slightly burnished, sometimes slipped. The surface is sometimes mot-tled or smoked. Coarse wares are missing.

    The repertoire of forms consists of hole-mouth and S-shaped pots. Deep bowls have a straightvertical or slight S-shape profile. A characteristic feature is a large hole-mouth pot with aninterior thickened rim. Dishes or angle neck pots occur as well. Bases are either flat or pro-

    vided with a low pedestal. The most characteristic feature is the vertically pierced tubular lug,

    which occurs in different sizes and forms. At some sites a very few sherds showed impressodecoration5. Painted pottery seems to be rare, only very few pieces have appeared6.

    The pottery finds from the lower layers of Hoca eflme near the mouth of the river Merishow similar elements (Bertram/Karul this volume), the dominance of burnished red wares,deep S-profiled bowls, vertically placed tubular lugs, flat bases and the absence of coarse

    wares. (zdoan 1999, Fig. 41; zdoan 1998b, Fig. 4-8). Missing are elements like the innerthickened rims, long tubular lugs or ring bases, typical for some sites in Western Anatolia(Fig. 2). The geographical position of Hoca eflme at the mouth of the river Meric, a riverlinking the centre of Thrace with the Aegean, as well as the observed cultural relations withThrace in the later phases (zdoan 1999, 218; Nikolov 2002; Stefanova 1998) suggest thatHoca eflme can not be seen as representative for the cultural development of the Western

    Anatolian coast.

    Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic: the actual state of research 63

    5 Besides the examples from Ulucak Level IV (Derin/ilingirolu 2003, 194; ilingirolu et al. 2004, Fig. 21,27-30;Fig. 23,12-13 and 21-22; Fig. 25,18-21; Fig. 26,34-36; Fig. 28,17-18; Fig. 29,19-30; Abay this volume: Fig. 3,19 and 21)and V (Abay this volume, Fig. 4,3; Fig. 5,14 and 19) see for example Araptepe (Lichter 2002, 161 fig. 1).

    6 Besides the pieces from Ulucak Level IV (ilingirolu et al. 2004, Fig. 25,23 and 32; Fig. 29,21-22; Abay this volume,

    Fig. 3,16 and 23) and V (Abay this volume, Fig. 4,8; Fig. 5,12-13 and 18) further examples from Moral (Takaolu2004, 751 Fig. 3,26-28) and Tavflan Adas (Akdeniz 1997b, 13 No. 28).

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    Another site next to Western Anatolia is Ayio Gala Lower cave at the island of Chios (Hood1981). Although these finds are not stratified and their value for chronology is limited, someobservations can be made. In common with the survey finds of Western Anatolia are the red

    polished surfaces, the slight S-profiles and the vertical pierced tubular lugs. On the otherhand, there are also differences such as white paint and specific Ayio Gala tubular lugs(Hood 1981, fig. 5,11; 6,17-18) that so far have not been found in Western Anatolia. Footed

    vessels or low pedestals as well as inner thickened rims well known in Western Anatolia, donot occur at Ayio Gala.

    Strong similarities with the better known Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic ceramics fromsites like Haclar (Mellaart 1970), Hycek (Duru 1995), Kuruay (Duru 1994) and Badema-ac (Duru 2000) in the Lake district7 can be noted with respect to the ceramic shapes (hole-mouth pots and S-profiles) and the tubular, vertically pierced lugs. Conversely certain strik-

    ing contrasts deserve attention (French 1965): ring bases are unknown among the ceramicsof the Lake District and the dark interior surfaces of vessels at Haclar occur rarely in thewest. Also strikingly absent in Western Anatolia are the Early Chalcolithic painted wares,frequent found at Haclar8, aside from some very rare examples mentioned above.

    In comparison to the Northwest Anatolian ceramic assemblages of the Fikirtepe culture(Bittel 1970; zdoan 1983; Thissen 2001) the pottery from Western Anatolia shows differ-ent features concerning nearly all aspects including form, handles and the decoration.Nevertheless the above mentioned impresso decorated sherds from Western Anatolia andsome very few examples with incisions point to the Northwest, where they have been foundin larger quantities (i.e. impresso decorated sherds from Ilpnar VIII (Thissen 2001, Fig. 26-27). Contrarily it has to be kept in mind, that the early levels XXXII-XXVI of Yumuktepe/Mersin dating at least to the second half of the 7 th millennium BC did also containimpresso decorated pottery (Garstang 1953, 18-26). Closer parallels, from about 200 kmsoutheast of zmir, at the site of Aphrodisias-Pekmez level VIIIc which is estimated to becontemporary with Haclar VII yielded some impresso decorated sherds (Joukowsky 1986,521, Fig. 375). If this association is correct (the sample from Aphrodisias-Pekmez is rathersmall) it would at least prove the existence of this decoration at least at the very end of the7th millennium, whereas the examples from Ilpnar belong to the 58 th/57th century BC.

    ChronologyBecause of the rarity of painted wares, the findings of Western Anatolia have often beenlabelled as Late Neolithic since the distinction between Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithicin the Lake District has been defined via painted pottery. As a consequence, Western

    Anatolia would have to be empty of Early Chalcolithic findings an improbable assumption.Results from the excavations at Ulucak as well as differences within the surface findings of

    Clemens Lichter64

    7 Comprehensive: Duru 1999; 2002; see also Schoop 2002.

    8 Percentage of painted pottery in Haclar (after Mellaart 1970): increasing from IX-VI (less than 10 %), V (20 %), IV(35 %), III (45 %), II (55-60 %) to I (70 %).

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    Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic: the actual state of research 65

    Fig. 2 Examples of pottery from Araptepe.

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    Western Anatolia point to the following solution: the period of time behind all these findingsis much longer than expected and holds the sequence of the Late Neolithic and the EarlyChalcolithic in Western Anatolia. This assumption is sustained by the 14C dates from Ulucak

    and several other indications obtained by relative chronology. Calibrated radiocarbon datesplace Ulucak layer IVb around the 59th or 58th century BC, the ones from level V cover a timespan between 6200 and 6000 BC (Reingruber/Thissen this volume). These are the only reli-able hints for an absolute chronology so far, and there are more deposits beneath Ulucak.

    The tempering of the pottery of Western Anatolia differs from site to site; some exclusivelyuse mineral temper (i.e. Araptepe, Coflkuntepe or Killiktepe) while at others (i.e. Moral)chaff temper is widely used9. Concerning the forms, the inner thickened rims seem to occurmuch more frequently at places like Araptepe, Moral and others, but were absent or underrepresented at Killiktepe or Ulucak IV. A similar observation can be made concerning the

    ring bases or low pedestals, numerous at Araptepe or Moral, but occur rarely at Ulucak orKilliktepe. Although these are surface finds and regional diversity cannot be excluded, someof these differences occur possibly for chronological reasons. Ulucak IV pottery has shown

    very close parallels to Early Chalcolithic Haclar (i.e. the anthropomorphic vessel; Abay thisvolume, Fig. 3,23 from Ulucak IV with pieces from Haclar IV and II).

    At Moral (Takaolu 2004, fig. 3,25) and Coflkuntepe (Seeher 1990, Abb. 1,22), pieces of in-cised boxes, comparable to ones of the Fikirtepe culture, have been found (see Schwarzbergthis volume). Presuming these imports are contemporary to the other finds of Moral andCoflkuntepe and taking in consideration the new data for Classical Fikirtepe culture fromMentefle (Roodenberg et al. 2003; Thissen 2002), Moral and Coflkuntepe could be placedtemporally somewhere around the 63rd century BC.

    In conclusion, within the second half of the 7th millennium and the beginning of the 6th mil-lennium BC three different pottery complexes can be distinguished; Lake District, Western

    Anatolian polished red ware and the incised Fikirtepe culture ware of Northwest Anatolia.

    As there seems to be no painted pottery tradition in Western and Northwest Anatolia, thedistinction between Late Neolithic, meaning contemporary to Bademaac or Haclar IX-VIand Early Chalcolithic, defined as contemporary to Haclar V-I, is rather difficult (if notimpossible) in this area. It should be borne in mind, that the distinction of these complexes

    is based exclusively on pottery. Other cultural elements like subsistence strategy, lithic industryand burial customs have not been examined. Despite this, within the pottery complex la-belled Fikirtepe-culture (Bittel 1970; zdoan 1983), a clear distinction between coastal (i.e.Fikirtepe, Pendik) and inland sites (i.e. Ilpnar, Mentefle) concerning subsistence strategy(Buitenhuis 1994; 1995, 152), architecture (round huts and square buildings) and stone toolindustry (Gatsov 2001; 2003) can be observed. These differences have been interpreted as acontinuity of local autochthonous traditions from the Epipalaeolithic to the Neolithic byadopting neolithic elements from Inner Anatolia (Gatsov/zdoan 1994, 98).

    Clemens Lichter66

    9 See also difference in fabric between Ulucak IV and V, since in Ulucak V sand temper seems to be more common(Abay this volume).

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    Taking into account the radiocarbon data from Mentefle in Northwest Anatolia and Badema-ac or Hycek in the Southwest, it becomes evident, that the development of Neolithic cul-tures in the Marmara region and the Lakes district might have started around the same time,

    after the mid point of the 7th millennium BC. Beyond this, there is some evidence suggest-ing that the cultural sequence in Western Anatolia might be as long as that in the LakeDistrict and the Marmara region.

    Gathering these observations, a chronological incline from the Lake District to WesternAnatolia or to Northwest Anatolia is improbable and the Neolithic starts simultaneous inthese three regions, at about 6500/6400 cal BC. The Neolithic in Thessaly emerged at aboutthe same period.

    As it has been pointed out above, the favourable geographical conditions of Western Anatolialink it to the Aegean as well as to the inner parts of Anatolia. Western Anatolia may providethe missing link between the Lake District on the one side and Thessaly on the other sideof the Aegean. It has already been mentioned that exact similarities concerning the potterybetween Thessaly and Northwest Anatolia are missing, but with regard to certain typologicalor manufacture aspects a certain relationship between Western Anatolia and Thessaly(Wijnen 1993) or the Lakes district and Greece (Umurtak 1999) cannot be denied.

    Stamp seals

    Within the debate concerning the relations between Anatolia, Greece and Southeast Europe,

    the so called stamp seals have often been under discussion (Budja 2003; Makkay 1984;Perls 2001, 52ff; Umurtak 2000). The stamp seals are round, quadrangular or oval inform, carrying different motifs. As to the purpose of these artefacts, no agreement has beenobtained (Budja 2003; Onassoglou 1996; Perls 2001; Trkcan online; Umurtak 2000). Noneof these objects shows traces of paint or colour on their surfaces, so the interpretation ofstamp seal for decorating clothes, textiles or the body seems unlikely. Since imprints onpottery are missing, the use as a potters marker has to be refused. For the interpretation themoment of their appearance, that is to say after the end of the large communal buildings ofthe PPN, might be of some importance. It has been suggested that they were used for mark-ing bread or different products in baskets, differentiating belongings of families/entities in

    communal store rooms/ovens. According to M. Budja (2003) these stamp seals should bedescribed as tokens.

    It has been broadly accepted, that the stamp seals originated from Anatolia, since the stampseals from atal Hyk or ayn are the oldest, dating in between 7500 and 6500 BC at thefinal stages or soon after the end of the PPN B. Whereas the oldest stamp seals in Greece,i.e. Nea Nikomedea, can be dated to around 6000 BC. It is remarkable that neither theNorthwest Anatolian sites of Demircihyk (Seeher 1987), Ilpnar and Mentefle, nor the sitesby the Sea of Marmara of the Fikirtepe culture yielded any evidence of stamp seals.

    Regarding the motifs, the Anatolian examples comprise of meanders and fragments of curvi-linear ornaments (Trkcan online), meanwhile the ones from Greece (Pilali-Papasteriou

    Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic: the actual state of research 67

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    Clemens Lichter68

    Fig. 3 Stamp seals from the Near East, Anatolia and Southeast Europe (different scales):1 atal Hyk IV (Trkcan online, No.21) 2 atal Hyk VI (Trkcan online, No.22)

    3 atal Hyk VII (Trkcan online, No.24) 4 Tell Halula (Molist Montana 1996, 131 Fig. 3) 5 Kgrdzali (Makkay 1984, Fig. XXIX,6; No.295) 6 Azmak (Makkay 1984, Fig. X,4; No.16)

    7 Kovacevo (Lichardus-Itten et al. 2002, Pl. 21,20) 8 Kovacevo (Lichardus-Itten et al. 2002, Pl. 21,19) 9 Kovacevo (Lichardus-Itten et al. 2002, Pl.21,21) 10 Nea Nikomedia (Pini 1975, 570 No.696)

    11 ayn (zdoan 1995, 97, Pl..7) 12 Hoca eflme (zdoan 1999, Fig. 25c) 13 Nea

    Nikomedia (Pini 1975, 570 No.697) 14 Porodin (Winn 1973, 66, Fig.16b) 15 Sesklo (Pini 1975, 589 No.715) 16 Dedecik-Heybelitepe

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    1992; Theocharis 1973, Pl. XX) and Southeast Europe (Dzhanfezova 2003; Makkay 1984)carry zigzags, dots and labyrinth patterns. Within the area of interest (see Fig. 4), there seemto be only two motifs used in both areas: concentric circles (Fig. 3,3-4.7-8.11-12.14-15) and a

    spiraloid motif (Fig. 3,1-2.5-6.9-10.13)10.

    During the 2003 campaign at Dedecik-Heybelitepe a conical stamp seal, made of clay,carrying concentric circles was found (Fig. 3,16), unfortunately not in a context that allowedit to be dated sufficiently. Nevertheless, within Anatolia, Greece and the Balkans, some par-allels can be quoted.

    The easternmost parallel comes from ayn (Fig. 3,11) belonging to the latest cell build-ings or large room buildings subphase (late PPN B/PPN C). Another one is from Tell Halula,a site at the Middle Euphrates in Syria (Fig. 3,4) and belongs to the late PPN B period as well(Molist Montana 1996, 131)11. One from atal Hyk (Fig. 3,3) was found in Level VII, andcan be dated to around 6700/6600 BC (Trkcan online). The one from Tepecik-iftlik, can-not be dated thoroughly at the moment a date around 6000 BC seems to be probable ( E. Bicakc). The stamp seal from Bademaac (Duru 1999, 152 Fig. 39) comes from the

    Western Anatolia in the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic: the actual state of research 69

    10Another one with a spiraloid motive is from Balgarcevo, probably belonging to Karanovo I/II (Makkay 1984, No.290; Dzhanfezova 2003, 101, Type I. 7)

    11Another example from El-Kowm (Syria) also belongs to the late PPN B is made of limestone (von Wickede 1990,Abb. 14) and has an oval shape. This motive should be common at stamped plaster blocks. At both sites Tell Halula

    and El-Kowm the existence of obsidian of Central Anatolian origin has to be mentioned (Chataigner 1998; Cauvin1998, 266; Pernicka et al. 1997).

    Fig. 4 Sites with stamp seals with concentric circles or spiraloid motive1 Azmak 2 Bademaac 3 Balgarcevo 4 atal Hyk 5 Dedecik-Heybelitepe 6 Hoca eflme

    7 Kgrdzali 8 Kovacevo 9 Nea Nikomedeia 10 Porodin 11 Sesklo 12 Tell Halula 13 El Kowm 14 Tepecik iftlik 15 Ulucak (outside the map: ayn).

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    so called Early Neolithic layer 3 which means in calibrated radiocarbon dates around6300/6200 BC (Duru 1999). Another piece from Ulucak, belonging to level IV, is datedaround the 59th and 58th century BC (Abay this volume, Fig. 2). The pieces from Sesklo (Fig.

    3,15) belong to the early Middle Neolithic Period (Onassoglou 1996), which means about5900/5800 BC. A similar one is from Hoca eflme II (Fig. 3,12) seems to belong to the 58th

    century BC. The ones from Porodin (Fig. 3,14) and Kovacevo (Fig. 3,7-9) are dated with cer-tainty in the first half of the 6th millennium.

    To sum up: the seals carrying concentric circles distributed near and around the Aegeanbelong to the beginning of the 6th millennium, whereas those from Inner Anatolia likeBademaac, atal Hyk and the one from Syria are from the late 8th/7th millennium. Theonly stamp seal of this type from Central Anatolia that may be younger is the one fromTepecik-iftlik. On the basis of these observations, there seem to be two possibilities for the

    interpretation of this distribution:1. The stamp seal type with concentric circles is distributed in Central Anatolia for severalhundred years within the 7th and at least until the beginning of the 6th millennium BC. Thistype spread to Western Anatolia and the Aegean around 6000/5900 BC.

    2. The stamp seals in the Aegean/Southeast Europe and Anatolia developed independently/separately without any connection between them.

    Since the one from Bademaac belongs somewhere around the 63rd/62nd century BC andthe one from Tepecik might confirm an existence of this type in the early 6 th millennium in

    Central Anatolia, the second possibility of an independent development of the stamp sealsin Western Anatolia and the Aegean seems to be less probable.


    In conclusion, the observations that have been outlined and the explanations suggested arefar away from being beyond all doubt, since the actual database is inhomogeneous and small.Further details and examination of different categories of findings, other cultural elementslike burial customs, subsistence strategies etc. have to be detected and analyzed.

    Nevertheless it seems obvious, that Western Anatolia might have played an important rolewithin the transference of the Neolithic or Neolithic elements to Greece and SoutheastEurope, not only at the beginning of the Neolithic in Greece around 6500/6400, but also atthe beginning of the Neolithic in Southeast Europe at around 6000/5900 BC as it can bededucted by the distribution of the stamp seals. Since research on the Neolithic and EarlyChalcolithic period has been undertaken sparsely in Western Anatolia in the past, its impor-tance as the missing link between Anatolia and Europe has been overlooked for a long time.

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