Female lineages and changing kinship patterns in Neolithic Catalhöyük

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Female lineages and changing kinship patterns in Neolithic Catalhöyük


Yuncu, E.; Kucukakdag Dogu, A.; Kaptan, D.; Kilic, M. S.; Mazzucato, C.; Guler, M. N.; Eker, E.; Katircioglu, B.; Chylenski, M.; Vural, K. B.; Sevkar, A.; Atag, G.; Altinisik, N. E.; Kucuk Baloglu, F.; Bozkurt, D.; Pearson, J.; Milella, M.; Karamurat, C.; Akturk, S.; Saglican, E.; Yildiz, N.; Koptekin, D.; Yorulmaz, S.; Kazanci, D. D.; Aydogan, A.; Karabulut, N. B.; Gurun, K.; Schotsmans, E. M. J.; Anvari, J.; Rosenstock, E.; Byrnes, J.; Biehl, P. F.; Orton, D.; Lagerholm, V. K.; Gemici, H. C.; Vasic, M.; Marciniak, A.; Atakuman, C.; Erdal, Y. S.; Kirdok, E.; Pilloud, M.; Larsen, C. S.; Haddow


Arguments have long suggested that the advent of early farming in the Near East and Anatolia was linked to a \"Goddess\" cult. However, evidence for a dominant female role in these societies has been scarce. We studied social organisation, mobility patterns and gendered practices in Neolithic Southwest Asia using 131 paleogenomes from Catalhoyuk East Mound (7100-5950 BCE), a major settlement in Central Anatolia with an uninterrupted occupation and an apparent egalitarian structure. In contrast to widespread genetic evidence for patrilocality in Neolithic Europe, the Catalhoyuk individuals revealed no indication of patrilocal mobility. Analysing genetic kin ties among individuals buried in the same house (co-burials) across 35 Catalhoyuk buildings, we identified close ties concentrated within buildings and among neighbours in Catalhoyuk\'s Early period, akin to those in the preceding Pre-Pottery Neolithic in Southwest Asia. This pattern weakened over time: by the late 7th millennium BCE, subadults buried in the same building were rarely closely genetically related, despite sharing similar diets. Still, throughout the site\'s occupation, genetic connections within Catalhoyuk buildings were much more frequently connected via the maternal than the paternal line. We also identified differential funerary treatment of female subadults compared to those of males, with a higher frequency of grave goods associated with females. Our results reveal how kinship practices changed while key female roles persisted over one thousand years in a large Neolithic community in western Eurasia.

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