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Archaeology in Anatolia

SOAS, 10th February 2020

The Royal Anthropological Institute, SOAS, Anglo-Turkish Society and the British Institute at Ankara are delighted to announce a one-day symposium: Archaeology in Anatolia Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG 10th February 2020, 9.30am-4.30pm.

The aim of this symposium is to explore outstanding recent work in the archaeology and prehistory in Anatolia. Speakers include Douglas Baird, Maxime Brami, Lee Clare, Işılay Gürsu, Ian Hodder, John MacGinnis, Artemis Papatheodorou, and Scott Redford.

Conference fee: Adult: £80, Student: £40.
Concessionary rates: RAI Fellow, Members of the British Institute at Ankara, Anglo-Turkish Society members £40.
Staff and students of SOAS: no charge (up to first fifty registrations)
Booking is via Eventbrite: https://anatolian-archaeology-symposium.eventbrite.co.uk
Please address any queries to: contact@angloturkishsociety.org.uk

The opening, key-note address will be given by Professor Ian Hodder (Stanford)

Provisional Programme

Key-note address Professor Ian Hodder (Stanford)
The joys and blunders of working at Çatalhöyük, Turkey: a 25 year report
Abstract: The aim of this lecture is to summarize the results of 25 years of work at the 9000 year old ‘town’ of Çatalhöyük in central Turkey. The project was characterized by using the latest scientific techniques and engaging in community based methods. The results were at times impressive but there were also mistakes that were made, and difficult moments. This talk discusses some of the main archaeological results and also reflects on the challenges posed by community-based archaeology.


Dr Lee Clare (Research Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology German Archaeological Institute, Istanbul Dept.): Göbekli Tepe: Archaeological Research at the “Zero Point in Time”
Abstract: The 1st July 2018 saw the inscription of the archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe on the UNESCO World Heritage List during the 42nd Session of the World Heritage Committee in Manama, Bahrain. The application process and the 18 months since inscription have resulted in many new insights and brought forth a series of expected (and sometimes unexpected) challenges relating to heritage management, conservation and site presentation issues. At the same time, new insights from archaeological research have culminated in a new understanding not only of site function but also its stratigraphy, chronology and the biographies of its special buildings. This paper will review this most recent chapter in the history of the archaeological site, also highlight the changing role of the archaeologist within these different processes.

Dr Artemis Papatheodorou (Athens): Ottoman policies on archaeology and a Republican post-scriptum
Abstract: In the 19th century, the Ottoman state gradually developed a concrete interest in antiquities found in its lands. This interest was translated into specific activities to manage archaeological heritage in the empire and was codified in a sequence of regulations between 1869 and 1906. This paper looks at these regulations and discusses the goals that they served, and the way that they were implemented. It also looks at the 1912 regulation on the protection of monuments and at how it affected archaeological heritage management in the empire. Given that the last Ottoman regulation on antiquities survived the transition into the Turkish Republic, this paper also aims to shed light on continuity and discontinuity between the two periods. Analysis largely relies on a critical reading of Ottoman archaeology-related legislation, and administrative documents that survive at the Ottoman Archive at the Office of the President in Istanbul.

Dr Işılay Gürsu (BIAA): Understanding the ‘Public’ in Public Archaeology: Insights from Turkey
Abstract: Since 2013, the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) has been actively involved in a series of projects in Turkey dedicated to understanding the public perception of archaeology, a topic often neglected by archaeologists and others working in and around the field. Archaeological assets in Turkey, and elsewhere, are increasingly under threat and their future is largely dependent on mobilising the public’s opinion regarding their safeguard. Despite its clear importance, deconstructing this insight is a challenging task as it requires the use of different methodologies to investigate public opinion, as well as to define which aspects of the public and whose opinion is being asked and analysed. This talk will concentrate on two projects undertaken under the auspices of the BIAA, “Living Amid the Ruins: archaeological sites as hubs of sustainable development in Southwest Turkey” (LAR), and “Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey” (SARAT). Examining Turkish archaeological assets at two different scales, these projects have explored different methodologies to engage with the public; to assess their perception of archaeology, identify the possible tangible and intangible benefits the public could gain from archaeology, and suggest ways which could help make archaeology more relevant to modern society.

Dr John MacGinnis (BM): Operating in the Northern Marches: The Neo-Assyrian Province of Tušhan
Abstract: This paper will examine the operation and administration of the Neo-Assyrian province of Tušhan through its long period of Assyrian occupation. The province was situated along the southern bank of the upper Tigris in what is now southeastern Turkey, its autonomous capital corresponding to the site of Ziyaret Tepe, some 60 km east of modern Diyarbakir. The sources available for the study of ancient Tušhan are rich and varied. The abundant archaeological evidence from the excavations undertaken at Ziyaret Tepe are complemented by a range of textual sources including royal inscriptions, letters from the royal correspondence, and texts from the site itself. Putting these all together allows for a balanced evaluation of the many systems – agricultural, administrative, religious, military and others – used to implement imperial control, allowing in the process the possibility of studying their development over time, their impact on the environment and the degree of interaction with the indigenous population groups.

Dr Maxime Brami (Mainz): Early farming expansion beyond the Anatolian plateau
Abstract: The adoption of agriculture and settled village life is one of the most important transitions in prehistory, long viewed as one of the most essential ‘revolutions’ in human history. This contribution will focus on early agricultural dispersals beyond the Central Anatolian Plateau 8,500 years ago – summarizing what we know and what we don’t know about this expansion, based on the results of recent biomolecular (ancient DNA, stable isotope) research and more traditional archaeological approaches in the western half of the Anatolian Peninsula, consisting here of the Eastern Marmara region, the Lakes District and the Aegean Basin. An intriguing phenomenon is the diffusion of houses and house-related practices, which alongside other cultural markers show distant links with Çatalhöyük and the Central Anatolian Plateau, highlighting the complexity and multi-dimensionality of the process of neolithic expansion.

Professor Douglas Baird (Liverpool/Pınarbaşı): Skulls and animate houses – Boncuklu, the Neolithic of central Anatolia and the antecedents of Çatalhöyük
Abstract: There has been much debate about the transformations in social arrangements attendant upon the development of sedentary agricultural communities. This presentation explores the nature of the early Neolithic households at Boncuklu in the context of the development of the Neolithic of central Anatolia.

Professor Scott Redford (SOAS): What can Archaeology Tell us About Medieval Anatolia?
Historical sources tell us of the momentous cultural and economic changes that occurred during the medieval (roughly 11-14th cs) period in the territories of today’s Turkey. The slow decline of the Byzantine Empire, the establishment of Turco-Islamic principalities in former Byzantine lands, the Crusades, and the rise and fall of an independent Armenian Kingdom are among these. Based on, but not limited to, the speaker’s participation in excavations and surveys in southern, southeastern, and central Turkey, this talk will address archaeology’s contribution to understanding some of the shifting social and economic developments of the time.