Sabrina C. Agarwal, Bonnie Glencross, and Patrick Beauchesne
Bioarchaeologists have long been interested in the health and the quality of life of early complex societies, particularly with increased sedentism in the context of the adoption of agriculture (Cohen and Armelagos 1984, Cohen and Crane-Kramer 2007, Larsen 1995, Roberts and Cox 2003, Steckel et al. 2002). While studies of health and disease patterns based on skeletal remains for the ancient Near East are numerous (e.g., Smith et al. 1984, Molleson 1994, Horwitz and Smith 2000, Smith and Horwitz 2005, Eshed et al. 2004, 2006, Schultz et al. 2007, Roberts and Buikstra 2007), few sites have yielded large collections of human skeletons in conjunction with detailed archaeological evidence of settlement, lifestyle, diet, and living conditions. The site of Çatalhöyük in the Konya Basin of south-central Turkey is a rare exception, with remarkable archaeological and paleoenvironmental context, revealing changes in community size and structure, shifts in mobility, and the use of plant and animal resources across time. Bioarchaeological evidence from Çatalhöyük provides a unique perspective on early population aggregation, resource use, and consequences of early farming and urbanization on health and lifestyle.