Understanding Çatalhöyük and the Origins of Settled Life

Friday, 18 March, 7.00
Theatre B117, Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne (Parkville)

Professor Ian Hodder (Stanford)

This talk will summarise 22 years of excavation at the 9000 year-old Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Turkey. The site was first excavated by James Mellaart in the 1960s and recent research has led to many changes in the way the site is understood. The talk will focus on some aspects of this new understanding, particularly with regard to social and political organisation, burial practices and history making. An additional focus will be on how inter-personal violence was managed in a town that contained up to 8000 people. The new understanding of Çatalhöyük is also shown to be relevant for other sites in the Middle East and for the adoption of agriculture and settled life.

Ian Hodder is Professor of Anthropology and Dunlevie Family Professor at Stanford University, California, U.S.A. Awarded a PhD by the University of Cambridge for research on spatial analysis in archaeology in 1974, Professor Hodder went on to conduct excavations in the United Kingdom and Italy and ethnographic fieldwork in Sudan and Kenya. He was the Director-General of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit from 1990 to 2001, the Director of Training, Education, Management and Prehistory in the Eastern Mediterranean from 2002 to 2004 and is currently Co-Investigator of an Economic and Social Research Council funded project entitled ‘Ritual, Community and Conflict’. Professor Hodder has directed excavations and conservation at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Turkey from 1993. Consisting of an international team of archaeologists, the Çatalhöyük Research Project has shed light on the development of one of the world’s earliest societies and the transition of its people from hunting and gathering to agriculture and urbanism.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria and funded by the Anthony McNicoll Fellowship, hosted by the University of Sydney. It is also part of the public lecture program of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies (SHAPS) at The University of Melbourne.