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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

I will be examining the possibility that objects with animate functions, and images with agency operated at the Neolitic site of CatalHoyuk. This theoretical basis of this study will depend largely on the theory of Alfred Gell, and the discussion of Irene Winter of animate objects in a Mesopotamian context. In the context of CatalHoyuk, Lynn Meskell and Carolyn Nakamura have begun to discuss alternative interpretations for the use and meaning of figurines from the site, and it is my aim to apply some of their discussion and methodology to the anthropomorphic figures which appear in domestic contexts. Particularly in her paper, “Figurine Worlds at CatalHoyuk, materiality, mobility, and process” Meskell begins to address these issues. I will look specifically at the practice (performance?) of removing the head and hands of the figures on the walls of houses when they are put out of use. Similarly, the people at CatalHoyuk produced figurines with removable heads, and also removed the heads of the deceased. It is my aim to draw a connection to all these practices in an effort to suggest that the head was viewed as making an object animate, and having some efficacy (of what kind, we may not be able to identify) within a social context.

Select Bibliography

Connerton, Paul; 1989. “Bodily practices,” in How societies remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 72-104.

During, B. S., 2003. "Burials in context, The 1960s inhumations of Çatalhöyük East." Anatolian Studies 53, 1-15.

Hodder, Ian; 2006. “The spectacle of daily performance at Çatalhöyük,” in Archaeology of performance: theaters of power, community, and politics. Takeshi Inomata and Lawrenbce S. Cohen (eds.). Lanham: Altamira Press., 81-102.

Hodder, Ian and C. Cessford; 2004. “Daily practice and social memory at Çatalhöyük,” American Antiquity 69: 17-40.

Hodder, Ian (ed.); 2000. Towards reflexive method in archaeology : the example at Çatalhöyük. Cambridge : McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, read 3-14, skim 19-36.

Knappett, Carl. 2005. Thinking through material culture : an interdisciplinary perspective Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press

Voigt, M.M. (2000) Çatal Höyük in Context: Ritual at Early Neolithic Sites in Central and Eastern Turkey. In Kujit, I. (ed) (2000). Life in Neolithic Farming Communities. Social Organisation, Identity, and Differentiation. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. London. pp. 253-293.

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