Upscaling the Neolithic house.Trends in house size and function in Anatolia and the Balkans
Keywords:Neolithic, house size, public buildings, practices, Anatolia, Balkans
This study dwells upon a dataset of 325 rectangular and sub-rectangular buildings from ten sites in Central and Western Anatolia to offer a discussion of house size in the Neolithic and contextualize unusually large buildings in Anatolia and the Balkans. The article highlights: (1) a marked increase in residential floorspace from the 8th to the 6th millennium cal. BC; and (2) a tendency to scale up the house, without actually increasing the number of rooms. Further west than Cappadocia, not a single Neolithic building differed markedly in shape or elaboration from contemporary residential structures, and it is safe to assume that all were for domestic use only. A few outlier rooms from Nea Nikomedeia, Kovačevo and Sofia-Slatina (‘big house’) reached, however, dimensions of circa or slightly over 100 m². The paper addresses the function of these extra-large rooms: how did they fit into the residential landscape? Were they still used as domestic spaces? Parallels are drawn with an unusually large building at Çukuriçi Höyük, near Ephesus, to characterize a new category of Neolithic structures, referred to as ‘houses plus (+)’.