From Sedentism to Protourban 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 focuses 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 enables 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.
New excavations at Çukuriçi Höyük (fig. 1), 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 (fig. 2). To achieve an integrated picture and to concentrate the broad spectrum of studies the focus is set on the following three research topics:
- Archaeological Periods and Definitions of Cultures
- Societies in Changing Environments
- Communication, Exchange and Interregional Relationships