Social zooarchaeology of marine remains from Marmaray-Yenikapi excavation: Examining the aquatic resources exploitation in Constantinople

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Located between Marmara Sea and Black Sea, Constantinople was the centre of international trade during its reign. Byzantines developed one of the strongest navies in that time exploiting these water bodies. Testimonies of both Byzantium and foreign visitors show that marine resources had a great significance in Byzantine life. Fishing constituted one of the most important sources of income in the capital with the blessing of Bosporus Strait and Golden-Horn. Byzantines also developed various fishing methods. They were also well aware about the high nutritional value of fish and other aquatic resources. A large number of evidences related to aquatic activities have been unearthed by Yenikapı and Marmaray excavation. Profound amount of artefacts, more than 30 shipwrecks and faunal remains of various marine species are notable of them. Marine species from this site includes tuna fish (Thunnus thynnus L.), swordfish (Xiphias gladius L.), catfish (Clarias sp.), sharks (Carcharhinidae sp.), sea breams (Sparidae sp.), dolphins (Delphinidae sp.), sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.), gilthead breams (Sparusaurata L.), mackerels (Scomber sp.), bonitos (Sarda sp.), crabs (Crustacea sp.), sea turtles (Cheloniidae sp.) and a great number of shells (Mollusc sp.) etc. Some marine species found in Yenikapı were seldom affordable to common citizens in Constantinople. Drilling, chopping and slaughter marks strongly suggest their use for gastronomic treats by elites. Besides, many of them were also used in decorative accessories, luxury materials and exotic shows. Known as “Langa Bostanlari” in Ottoman period, Yenikapı was the ‘Theodosius harbour’ in Byzantine capital. Being a very significant international trade centre and one of the major ports in Empire, remains of different aquatic activities, especially the marine species from this site examines previous Byzantine testimonies as well as shows new aspects about the marine food consumption and social utilization of aquatic resources in Constantinople.


Anahtar Kelimeler

Anthrozoology, Zooarchaeology, Yenikapı-Marmaray excavation, Marine species, Aquatic fauna, Turkey, Constantinople, Theodosius harbour, Social zooarchaeology


9th Conferences of Young in Archaeological Investigation (JIA)

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Siddiq Abu Bakar (2016). Social archaeozoology of marine remains from Marmaray-Yenikapi excavation: Examining the aquatic resources exploitation in Constantinople. 9th Conferences of Young in Archaeological Investigation (JIA), 1(1), 83