Before the Neolithic in the Aegean: The Pleistocene and the Early Holocene record of Bozburun-Southwest Turkey

ATAKUMAN Ç., ERDOĞU B., Gemici H. C., Baykara İ., KARAKOÇ M., Biagi P., ...More

JOURNAL OF ISLAND & COASTAL ARCHAEOLOGY, vol.17, no.3, pp.323-355, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15564894.2020.1803458
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, American History and Life, Anthropological Literature, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Geobase
  • Page Numbers: pp.323-355
  • Keywords: Aegean, Bozburun, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Paleolithic
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


The renewed Mesolithic research in the Greek mainland and the islands has been providing new insights into the lively maritime activity within the region; however, the southwest coast of Turkey has been virtually devoid of related investigations until the commencement of the Bozburun Prehistoric Survey project in 2017. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the prehistoric sites discovered at the Bozburun Peninsula during the 2017-2019 field seasons. Preliminary results indicate that the area is rich in prehistoric activity. While Middle Paleolithic chipped stone industries were identified at the sites of Kayabasi Cave, cakmak, and Sobalak, flake based microlithic chipped stone industries typical of the Aegean Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene were identified at the sites of Sarnic, Hurma, Sobalak, Zeytinlik, and cakmak. A variety of artifacts, suggestive of the Neolithic, were also recorded at the sites of Hurma, Zeytinlik, and possibly at Sobalak and Sarnic. In specific, the presence of carinated end-scrapers, burins and polyhedric cores at Sarnic, as well as some geometric microliths at Hurma, demonstrates that Bozburun was frequented during the Upper Paleolithic and the Epipaleolithic. The presence of a few geometric microliths made on Melos obsidian at Hurma also demonstrates that the region was connected to the Aegean obsidian network routes at least by the beginning of the Holocene. If our relative dating is correct, this constitutes the earliest known use of Melos obsidian in the Anatolian mainland.