Our cultural partner: Çatalhöyük

Image of researchers testing the effects of smoke from a burning oven fire in a replica house at Çatalhöyük.
In a replica house at Çatalhöyük used for experiments about past human behaviour, researchers test the effects of smoke from a burning oven fire. (c) Jason Quinlan https://jasonquinlan.com

One of the most important archaeological sites in the world, Çatalhöyük (pronounced cha-tal-hoy-yuk) is a densely packed Neolithic (New Stone Age) settlement in central Turkey which dates back 9000 years.

The site is a cultural partner of the Emotive project and, over the next three years, we’ll be working closely with the team there to develop and test new storytelling tools.

Why was Çatalhöyük chosen for a project on emotional storytelling? 

Rising 21 metres in height, Çatalhöyük’s East Mound – the site’s oldest occupied area – was created through more than 1000 years of continuous inhabitation by people who repeatedly built and rebuilt their homes on the same spot.

Remarkably, at its peak, between 3500 to 8000 people resided here, living in apparent equality – with little evidence of social hierarchy – throughout Çatalhöyük’s history.

Residents buried their dead beneath the floors of their homes, constructed incredible sculptural art and wall paintings, and lived in street-less neighborhoods, moving around on roofs and accessing buildings via openings in their ceilings. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012, Çatalhöyük now sees more than 20,000 visitors annually, and has been the subject of scientific investigation for nearly 60 years.

Today, researchers from around the globe study its vast landscape of buildings, remarkable ways of life, and its many exquisite works of art and craft. Together, visitors and researchers are working to pioneer new archaeological, conservation and curatorial methods in order to advance our understandings of human beings in the past.

Çatalhöyük boasts many inspiring and unusual stories of birth, life, death and afterlife. The site was chosen as a cultural partner for Emotive because it offers such a rich canvas for the creation of personal, engaging, emotionally resonant stories.

As we begin our working relationship together, the teams at Emotive and Çatalhöyük look forward to collaborating in order to share these with an even broader audience.

(Image: In a replica house at Çatalhöyük used for experiments about past human behaviour, researchers test the effects of smoke from a burning oven fire. (c) Jason Quinlan)