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Assembling Çatalhöyük

Session at the European Association of Archaeologists 20th Annual Meeting

Organized by Ian Hodder and Arek Marciniak

September 10–14, 2014
Istanbul, Turkey

For 20 years, large amounts of data have been collected by the Çatalhöyük Research Project in Turkey. The wide range of types of data from this 9,000-year-old site have allowed interdisciplinary collaboration and the assembling of strong arguments on the basis of multiple lines of evidence. Project members seek lines of connection between different data sets in a process that builds on archaeological and social theoretical notions of ‘assemblage.’ The conjunctive approach of Walter Taylor, contextual archaeology and hermeneutic spirals, Wylie’s ‘cables and tacking’ and Latour’s Actor Networks all seem relevant. The process of assembling data into arguments is exemplified in the interactions between the 160 researchers in the 34 different specialisms within the project. Different types of data seem to produce different types of knowledge. When three to four different sets of data align, unexpectedly robust arguments can be built, but the different forms of data can also create dissonance that has to be resolved. The papers assemble data from cultural, social, biological, and environmental realms in order to deal with key issues in the growth of the large agricultural village at Çatalhöyük and its transformation over time.

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