With National Science Foundation support Drs. Reinhard Bernbeck and Susan Pollock will conduct three seasons of archaeological fieldwork at the site of Kazane located in Southeastern Turkey. Occupied over a 4,000 year span, the earliest levels of the site date to the Halaf period, ca. 6th millennium B.C. and these lowest horizons will provide the focus for Dr. Bernbeck's and Pollock's research. Their goal is to delineate household groupings to determine the extent to which status differences among them are evident and to accomplish this they will conduct three seasons of field excavation. They will expose a relatively large horizontal area of Halaf occupation and map distributions of artifacts, features and architecture. This will provide evidence on the distribution of economic activities and thereby identify households. To examine changes over time in the distribution of activities they will open deeper stratigraphic soundings. Systematic recovery of artifacts, faunal and floral remains will be ensured through a rigorous program of screening sediments and floating them to obtain light seeds and other organic remains. The measurement of volumes of all excavated deposits will permit calculation of densities and this will allow comparison of activities in different contexts. Preliminary work by the investigators in 1996 has indicated that significant variation across units does exist. The Halaf period is important because it was during this time that the first indications of Near Eastern civilization become apparent. The period is best known for its elaborately painted and technically sophisticated pottery which suggest craft specialization. However interpretations of level of social organization vary widely. Traditional interpretations characterize the Halaf period as a fully sedentary, village based society which relied on the cultivation of crops and the raising of animals. The presence of some large sites has been interpreted as an indication of an emerging social and political hierarchy. However other evidence has pointed in the opposite direction suggesting that many sites were occupied for brief periods of time and that an egalitarian form of organization prevailed. By examining synchronic variation between households it is possible to address this question directly. This research is important because it will provide important information on the development of civilization in the Near East. It will yield data of interest to many archaeologists.

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