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ERC

PREHISTORIC ANATOLIA Report Summary

Project ID: 263339
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Austria

Final Report Summary - PREHISTORIC ANATOLIA (From Sedentism to Proto-Urban Societies in Western Anatolia)

Prehistoric archaeological research in western Anatolia has been poorly pursued since the beginning of archaeological excavations in this area more than one hundred years ago. Especially the central Aegean coast represents a terra incognita in most prehistoric periods of humankind. Consequently, basic research in prehistory remains crucial for enlarging our knowledge of central scientific questions, such as the transfer of early complex technologies (e.g. development of metallurgy), the dating of the initial stages of the first permanent settlements and their development into proto-urban complex societies.
The ERC project “Prehistoric Anatolia” focused mainly on two distinctive chronological and cultural horizons – the period of the first permanent settlements (sedentism) from Neolithic to Early Chalcolithic times, and the development of proto-urban centres from Late Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period. Combining both huge research topics in one project enabled a broad spectrum of cultural modeling, based upon multidisciplinary diachronic and comparative studies concerning changing societies in a changing environment from the 7th to 3rd millennium BC.
The excavations at Çukuriçi Höyük, archaeological and environmental surveys in Kaykos and Kaystros valleys (micro-regions of Pergamon and Ephesos) are the essential methods to produce modern documented data that are analyzed with a broad multidisciplinary and international team of scientists and students. Besides archaeology, those disciplines are geophysics, paleogeography, metallurgy, inorganic chemistry, petrography/mineralogy, geology, zoology and genetics, botany, anthracology, organic chemistry, physics and anthropology. To achieve an integrated picture and to concentrate the broad spectrum of studies the focus was set on the following three research topics:
• Archaeological Periods and Definitions of Cultures
• Societies in Changing Environments
• Communication, Exchange and Interregional Relationships
The achievements and outcomes of the project, due to the ERC funding, are as follows:
Exchange networks from the Neolithic to the EBA I have been identified between Western Anatolia, the Aegean and beyond. A model of Neolithisation of Western Anatolia with supposed routes of colonization and the importance of maritime networks has been attested.
The regional prehistory of Western Anatolia has been put into context with the neighboring regions.
The subsistence strategies of the inhabitants have been identified (through archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological investigations), showing a dependence on maritime resources beside agriculture and herd breeding.
The first larger series of radiocarbon dates from Çukuriçi Höyük yielded important absolute dates for the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age periods in Western Anatolia.
The regional and supraregional procurement of raw materials especially obsidian and exotic material like jadeite could be traced through different periods.
A craft specialization in the settlement has been attested as early as the Late Chalcolithic period concerning metallurgy and textile production.
The metallurgical investigations showed that in EBA I Çukuriçi Höyük was a metal producing centre.
Due to the first systematic large scale investigations of the settlement at Çukuriçi Höyük, including stratigraphic analysis, C14 dates and ceramic studies, it can be concluded that the Neolithisation of the central Western Anatolian region was maritime driven.

Reported by

OESTERREICHISCHE AKADEMIE DER WISSENSCHAFTEN
Austria
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