Çatalhöyük Research Project Announces Latest Conferences and Discoveries
Popular Archaeology, 01-04-2014
The Çatalhöyük Research Project, an effort that consists of an international team of archaeologists and other experts from a consortium of universities and research institutions, has announced upcoming conferences to showcase and discuss the latest thinking about the excavation results at the iconic Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey.
On location near the excavation site, the meetings will take place among two separate but adjoining conference sessions from August 2 through August 4, 2014. The first is part of a Templeton-funded project that is exploring the role of religion and ritual in the origin of settled life. Conference organizers are interested in addressing three foci related to this theme: The first concerning the repetitive building of houses or cult buildings in the same place; the second, the possible cosmological layout of settlements; and the third, the timing of the emergence of a concern with history-making in a place, and its cosmological layout. “At what point in regional sequences do such features emerge and with what does their appearance correlate?”, write the organizers. “Can such correlations be used to suggest the causal processes that produced such features; causal processes such as agricultural intensification, population increase, social competition and so on?” The second conference is part of a Polish National Science Center grant aimed at investigating the upper Late Neolithic strata of the East mound at Çatalhöyük and recognizing the demise of the previously vibrant mega-city. This conference aims to address three intertwined issues: The first concerns the character of changes in other parts of the Near East in the second half of the 7th millennium BCE in relation to the developments at Çatalhöyük in a broader regional context; the second issue comprises social and ideological changes taking place at the end of the Neolithic and the beginning of the Chalcolithic; and the third concerns the changes in lifeways, subsistence basis, environment exploitation, and the modes of procurement, consumption and distribution of different resources. “Did the Late Neolithic farmers,” added the organizers, “start to exploit a different set of resources originating from previously unexplored areas? Did the end of the 7th millennium BCE involve changes in farming strategies and shifts in the consumption patterns?”