Bengi Selvi-Lamb

Bengi Selvi-Lamb (PhD in Classics & Archaeology, 2021) ‘Kura-Araxes Obsidian: A Case Study from Sos Höyük

The Kura-Araxes complex has a distinctive material assemblage that stretched across a wide geographical area from the Transcaucasus, through Lake Urmia basin in Northern Iran to Eastern Turkey and the Upper Euphrates region over at least 1000 years (3500–2400 BCE); in certain locations it lasted even longer. Similar assemblages became apparent in the Amuq Plain and further south in the Levant later in the Early Bronze Age. This phenomenon is characterised by small village-type settlements, an agro-pastoralist lifestyle and handmade red-black burnished pottery. However, in most of the studies dealing with this culture, lithics have been overlooked.
This thesis examines the technological aspects of stone tool making in the highlands of Turkey during the Early Bronze Age. My research discusses the limits of urbanisation from the lithics perspective and examines the tool types and stone tool making techniques in the ancient site of Sos Höyük. Stratigraphic analysis of stone tools provides insights to daily activities of the inhabitants. Two techniques were employed in different places in the settlement: flake technology used in domestic production and blade technology as a specialised activity producing a regionally exchanged commodity. Percussion and bipolar techniques were present in the assemblage, which mostly consisted of retouched blades and flakes, scrapers, notched and nosed tools. Micro-lithics and bifacial technology is almost absent in contrast to other sites in the region.
From the results of fieldwork conducted for this research, I was able to identify raw material procurement strategies concerning obsidian artefacts from the settlement. The obsidian used to make artefacts in Sos Höyük seems to have been locally sourced from nearby deposits. In addition, a regional exchange system developed across the Erzurum Plain. Furthermore, the absence of caches and significant artefact density throughout the stratigraphic deposits indicates that obsidian was always available to the inhabitants. Recent research in the region concerning obsidian quarries, support the possibility that Sos Höyük played an important role in obsidian distribution networks the highlands.
Bengi’s thesis is dedicated to her late supervisor, Emeritus Professor Tony Sagona.
Supervisors: Dr Gijs Tol, Dr Claudia Sagona, Professor Richard Cosgrove, Emeritus Professor Tony Sagona