Living with Animals Human–Animal Relations and Society at Çatalhöyük
Analyses of animal iconography in the ancient Near East have typically revolved around questions of symbolism and religion. Fewer efforts have considered what the iconography can tell us about the role of animals in socialities. This study examines the full corpus of wild animal materializations, including the animal bones themselves, at Neolithic Çatalhöyük in order to reveal insights into the complexity of human-animal relations and ontological geographies. It integrates both qualitative and quantitative datasets on the figurines, plastered faunal installations, moulded reliefs, and wall paintings. The temporal and spatial patterning of these animal materializations indicate that animals were deeply embedded within the social bonds at the site and that the increasing management of cattle brought about a fundamental shift in human-animal relations and peoples’ engagement with the world.