ABSTRACT

Bronze Age Anatolia is characterized by the emergence of an elite class situated at the apex of society, where they controlled enormous resources; wielded great authority; and sought, conspicuously displayed, and consumed distinctive high-status material culture. In this article, I explore the use of domesticated cattle as a material and symbolic source of power for these elites. I address the central economic role of cattle and their “secondary products” in supporting Bronze Age agricultural systems and as sources of elite wealth. I also discuss the symbolic role of cattle in gift exchange, iconography, ritual, and display for creating narratives of power in which elites are situated in an elevated place within in a hierarchical cosmos.

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