Published on May 6, 2015
The ritual origins of settled life in the Middle East: Göbekli and Çatalhöyük.
Recent archaeological discoveries have upturned our theories about the origins of agriculture and the dawn of settled life. While climate change and economic adaptation have long been seen as prime causes, recent work at Göbekli and Çatalhöyük in Turkey has shown that social gatherings at ritual centers played a key role. The remarkable finds at Göbekli include 6 meter stone monoliths carved with images of animals and birds and forming ritual enclosures. Recent research at Çatalhöyük shows a fully fledged town in which wild bulls, leopards and the severed heads of ancestors were important social foci.
Ian Hodder was trained at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and at Cambridge University where he obtained his PhD in 1975. After a brief period teaching at Leeds, he returned to Cambridge where he taught until 1999. During that time he became Professor of Archaeology and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. In 1999 he moved to teach at Stanford University as Dunlevie Family Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Stanford Archaeology Center. His main large-scale excavation projects have been at Haddenham in the east of England and at Çatalhöyük in Turkey where he has worked since 1993. He has been awarded the Oscar Montelius medal by the Swedish Society of Antiquaries, the Huxley Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute, has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has Honorary Doctorates from Bristol and Leiden Universities. His main books include Spatial analysis in archaeology (1976 CUP), Symbols in action (1982 CUP), Reading the past (1986 CUP), The domestication of Europe (1990 Blackwell), The archaeological process (1999 Blackwell), The leopard’s tale: revealing the mysteries of Çatalhöyük (2006 Thames and Hudson), Entangled. An archaeology of the relationships between humans and things (2012 Wiley Blackwell).
This Authors at Google talk was hosted by Boris Debic.