Analyzing Ancient Animal Remains

Christine Mikeska and Ben Arbuckle in a lab with animal boes and teeth.From around the 14th century B.C., the steady buzz of everyday urban life reverberated within the city walls of ancient Hattusa, the Bronze Age capital of the Hittite Empire in modern-day Turkey. Craftspeople fashioned clothing and jewelry for elites, cattle moved goods through narrow streets, and worshippers visited temples for religious ceremonies.

Though not exactly like the hustle and bustle of modern-day cities, the flow of industry and commerce would be recognizable to residents of today’s world. So, too, would many of the challenges that come with city life.

“Urbanism has been around for 5,000 years, and people have been dealing with the same problems we are faced with,” said Benjamin Arbuckle, associate professor in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Anthropology. “Disease, crowds, conflict and policing, it’s not new. We can look at solutions from the past that have worked or not worked.”

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