Open Context


Pınarbaşı Bird Remains

Bird bone data from Pınarbaşı, Konya, Turkey

Project Abstract


Pınarbaşı is located on the southern edge of the recently desiccated Hotamış wetlands at the base of Karadağ mountain in the Konya Plain, Turkey. The site was excavated in 1993-1994 by Trevor Watkins (University of Edinburgh) and in 2003-2004 by Douglas Baird (University of Liverpool), in collaboration with the Karaman Museum. The site includes a rock shelter with Epipaleolithic and Pottery Neolithic levels (Trench B), and an open settlement forming a small mound with Pre-Pottery Neolithic levels (Trenches A and D). Denise Carruthers analyzed the mammal remains from the 1993-1994 excavations, and Caroline Middleton analyzed those from the 2003-2004 excavations. This project aimed to study changing human-bird relations through the three periods, spanning the adoption of agriculture in central Anatolia.

Methodological Notes:

Sediment was dry-sieved through 4mm mesh while flotation samples aided in the recovery of bird remains. Bird remains were separated by Carruthers and Middleton, and were identified with the aid of published diagnostic characters and reference collections at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates and the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution). The recording system is largely the same as that used by the Çatalhöyük Research Project, and the conversion to this data set generally follows that applied to the Çatalhöyük mammal data for the Central and Western Anatolian Neolithic Fauna Working Group, prepared by David Orton.

Potential Applications of the Data:

The data set is suitable for regional comparisons of bird taxa, body parts, and metrics.


This research was supported by Cornell University faculty research funds.

Related Publications:

Russell, Nerissa (forthcoming) Changing use of birds across the agricultural transition at Pınarbaşı, Turkey. Quaternary International.

Tables and Fields:

These are modified slightly from the original database for clarity.


This table contains basic information about the context along with a summary of the bird remains. The following fields are included:

Locus: The unique identifier for each contextual unit recorded, assigned during the bird bone analysis.

Context: The three-letter designation of the excavation context, assigned by the excavators in a single-context recording system. One context may have more than one locus number if other information on the bag did not match.

Trench: Indicates the excavation trench (A-D).

Year: The year the unit was excavated.

Date Recorded: The date recording of the bird remains from that unit started. Final identifications were often made significantly later, during periodic visits to the Bird Division of the National Museum of Natural History to take advantage of their far more comprehensive collection of Old World bird skeletons.

Period: Chronological period assignment, information from Douglas Baird.

Description: Qualitative description and assessment of the bird assemblage from the locus and its interpretation.


This includes the data from the Basic Faunal Data, Postcranial, Cranial, and Modification tables in the original database. Most records correspond to a single specimen, but specimens such as long bone shaft fragments are grouped into a single record when the information is the same for all fields.

Locus: Key field to link to Unit table.

Find Number: Sequential numbers for each record within a Locus.

ID: Locus and Find Numbers separated by a dash, the unique identifier for each bone or set of bones in a record. Some specimens were also recorded by Denise Carruthers, in which case her ID number is recorded in the comment.

Sample: The flotation sample number, when known.

Recovery: The means by which this specimen was recovered: dry-sieved or flotation, screen size or hand-picked.

Articulation: Describes articulations within the Locus. Most will be ‘Separate’. Where articulated sets exist, the first record will be labeled ‘See succeeding’, and subsequent record(s) indicate whether the specimens are articulated, fused, or from the same bone (but with old breaks or missing connecting portion), and with what degree of certainty.

Element: Anatomical element.

Taxon: Species, higher taxonomic group, or size class. ‘Small bird’ is up to roughly 500 g live weight, ‘Medium bird’ is roughly 500-2000 g, and ‘Large bird’ greater than roughly 2000 g.

Certainty: Confidence of taxon identification (‘Certain’, ‘Probable’, ‘Possible’).

Symmetry: Body side of specimen.

Sex: Sex of individual, when determinable.

Age: Approximate age class based on fusion and texture. ‘Young’ indicates an indefinite stage of immaturity; no entry indicates the specimen appears mature.

Pathology: General category of pathology, further description in comments.

Burning: Degree of burning.

Gnawing: Type and degree of gnawing.

Digestion: If specimen shows signs of having been swallowed and digested.

Surface Condition: Degree of surface degradation from weathering, trampling, diagenetic processes, etc. ‘Pristine’ means strikingly fresh, no degradation; ‘Very slightly degraded’ means the bone is in good condition with sharp edges on breaks and a hard, slightly shiny surface; ‘Slightly degraded’ means the bone is in fairly good condition but somewhat worn, its surface dull and slightly soft; ‘Moderately degraded’ means the bone has surface cracks or flaking or powdery surface deterioration; ‘Heavily degraded’ means there is severe exfoliation or crumbling; ‘Very heavily degraded’ means the bone is crumbling away.

Origin of Fragmentation: Whether any breakage occurred before deposition, postdepositionally but prior to recovery, or in excavation.

Fragment Size: Postcranial only. Rough size of specimen as percentage of complete bone; indeterminate if modern breaks preclude estimate of size prior to excavation.

Proximal/Distal: Postcranial only. Indicates which portions of the bone are present.

Proximal Fusion: Postcranial only. Fusion state of proximal (or cranial) end.

Distal Fusion: Postcranial only. Fusion state of distal (or caudal) end.

Fragmentation: Long bones only. Rough indication of shape of fragment and parts of bone included. E.g., ‘Shaft splinter’, ‘One end plus shaft’.

Pieces: Number of pieces included in this record.

Weight: Weight in grams, rounding up for specimens less than 1 g.

Length: Maximum dimension of fragment to nearest centimeter where modern breaks do not interfere with estimating its state prior to excavation. Where modern breaks do interfere, length is recorded as 0.

Measurements: Anatomical measurements were taken for this specimen (see below).

Comments: Any additional information about the specimen.


All measurements follow the definitions in von den Driesch (1976) and are labeled with the measurement number (M#) in the original database combined with the von den Driesch abbreviation, separated by a colon, e.g., ‘M2:Lm’ for the medial length of the coracoid. Each measurement field is preceded by a measurement modifier field (Mod1 for M1, Mod2 for M2, etc.), which notes whether the measurement was estimated, or if the specimen was burnt or digested. ‘Standard’ is the default.

Annotations (4)

Property or Relation Value(s)
[Standard: Dublin Core Terms]
[Standard: Dublin Core Terms]
[Standard: GeoNames]
Temporal Coverage
[Standard: Dublin Core Terms]
Editorial Note

Open Context editors work with data contributors to annotate datasets to shared vocabularies, ontologies, and other standards using 'Linked Open Data' (LOD) methods.

The annotations presented above approximate some of the meaning in this contributed data record to concepts defined in shared standards. These annotations are provided to help make datasets easier to understand and use with other datasets.

Suggested Citation

Nerissa Russell. "Pınarbaşı Bird Remains". (2020) Nerissa Russell (Ed.) . Released: 2020-08-25. Open Context. <> DOI:

Editorial Status

Page created by Open Context editors. Not reviewed.

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