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Dining with the Assyrians

Posted on 2018-01-05 in Events
Jan 18, 2018

CMRS Colloquium

18 January 2018

4:30 pm

STM room 200

Dining with the Assyrians: cuisine, consumption, and sacrifice at Ziyaret Tepe

Tina Greenfield, STM Archaeology and CMRS Fellow

Excavations in the peripheries of the Assyrian empires have brought to light a large number of archaeological remains directly linked with the Neo-Assyrian (c. 900-611 BCE) presence in these areas. However, to read societal change and transformation, and individual customs and habits becomes even more speculative, when written records are missing. To help shed light on this issue, this paper will focus on the faunal remains from cremation burials and various rooms excavated from the Neo-Assyrian palace at Ziyaret (anc. Tušhan), a provincial capital city located in southeastern Turkey. Cremated human remains were deposited in rectangular pits in the open palace’s courtyard while the palace was still in use. Equipped with a rich inventory of Assyrian luxury goods, the deposition of these animal bones is a direct reflection of ritual behaviour in connection to funerary rites, rituals and sacrifice. Additionally, several rooms in the Palace revealed faunal remains that highlight elite dietary preferences. Unsurprisingly, the faunal assemblage from the graves stands apart from the assemblage throughout the rest of the Assyrian building, however new insights were made from both analyses that were unexpected. This lecture will examine the nature of the faunal remains from these different contexts and highlights consumption patterns, sacrifices, and overall cuisine within an Assyrian Imperial palace.

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