A National Science Foundation grant will support archaeological work at the site of Çadýr Höyük in central Turkey (Anatolia). Dr. Sharon Steadman and an international team will conduct three years of fieldwork including excavation and the conservation of both artifacts and architecture. The international team, consisting of scholars from the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Turkey, will investigate three important periods during the 6,000 years of nearly unbroken occupation at the Çadýr Höyük site (ca. 5200 B.C.E. - 1170 C.E.). Previous research has demonstrated that the settlements at Çadýr Höyük experienced three significant transitional periods in which comfortable, stable, and well-stocked communities located either at the heart or the frontier of contemporary empires became far more unstable and residents coped with considerably more meager circumstances. The first transition occurred in the later prehistory in the Late Chalcolithic/Early Bronze I (ca. 3300-2800 BCE), the second when the Hittite Empire collapsed around 1200 BCE, and the last during the Byzantine empire's fading control of central Anatolia (ca. 600-1100 CE). The Çadýr team will examine the experiences of these settlements' residents as their surrounding worlds collapsed. Particular areas of focus include subsistence practices, craft production, trade relations, and domestic and public buildings and spaces; results will reveal how residents experienced and reacted to changes and challenges in their day-to-day living circumstances.

The research at Çadýr will yield data on two major research areas of interest to scholars beyond Anatolia, namely those interested in frontier studies, and those investigating imperial collapse. Additionally work will contribute to anthropological and archaeological literature on subsistence strategies in stable or stressful circumstances; craft production management in crisis periods; and sociopolitical reorganization in the context of collapsing external imperial/centralized systems.

An additional element to the research is Çadýr's geographical position within each of these empires; as noted, in each of the three transitional cases, Çadýr was situated either at the heart of an empire, or in the frontier of one. The Late Chalcolithic Çadýr settlement rested in, or just beyond, Uruk's churning system at the turn of the 4th-to-3rd millennia; Çadýr was near the nerve center of the Hittite heartland in the second millennium; and it was a rural frontier settlement within the Byzantine Empire two thousand years later. Micro-level investigations at the village level will be a lens through which both the impact a collapsing empire had on local populations, and the role that changes in these local/rural settlements played in the dissolution of these powerful imperial systems can be viewed.

Broader impacts include the elucidation of multiple periods in a little known region of Anatolia (particularly the Chalcolithic and Byzantine periods). The team will continue to provide original material and data to students for B.A. and Master's theses and Ph.D. dissertations; the project will also continue to serve as a training excavation for U.S., European, and Turkish students who wish to gain expertise in excavation and laboratory techniques while learning, first hand, about the livelihoods of 6000 years of northern Anatolian residents.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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Suny College at Cortland
United States
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