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Turkey-Bonucklu: Investigating the Spread of Farming in the Near East

Location: Turkey

July 6, 2014 to August 9, 2014

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 6, 2013

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



University of Liverpool, and Harvard University, Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Prof. Douglas Baird, University of Liverpool; Dr. Andrew Fairbairn, University of Queensland; and Prof. Ofer Bar Yosef, Harvard University

Project Description

Turkey has evidence of one of the earliest transitions from hunting and gathering to village farming in the world, but the early Neolithic of central Turkey is poorly understood. The Boncuklu project is investigating the appearance of the first villages and farmers in central Turkey. At Boncuklu we are also exploring the origins of the remarkable symbolism seen in paintings and reliefs at the nearby famous Neolithic town of Çatalhöyük. Well preserved decorated Neolithic houses and artifacts are notable features of Boncuklu, apparently representing ritual practices that are direct predecessors to those seen at Çatalhöyük. Working alongside experts in the analysis of evidence from early farming communities and professional excavators, students will learn a range of archaeological research techniques and methods and about the wider context of Anatolian archaeology.

Period(s) of Occupation: Neolithic

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full session

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No prior experiance required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will spend 5 weeks at the Boncuklu Project excavation centre.  The first week there will involve five days of lectures, and laboratory training.  The last four weeks will be spent in the field in survey and excavation at Boncuklu.  The dig house has good communal facilities with kitchen, several showers and toilets, washing machine, and laboratories. There is outdoor covered dining and social space. Field school students will be housed in shared dorm rooms on bunk beds. There is also the option of large well insulated project tents that offer more space.
All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious but basic food in the tradition of local cuisine. The daily diet in Turkey is heavily based on pasta, rice, legumes bread other vegetables, with some meat.  Vegetarian are catered for. Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain in this location.

All inclusive

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
1855 Industrial St. #106
Los Angeles
(424) 226-6130
Recommended Bibliography: 

Baird D 2002 ‘Early holocene settlement in central Anatolia: problems and prospects as seen from the Konya Plain’ in  F Gerard and L Thissen eds. The Neolithic of central Anatolia, 139-159.

Baird D 2006 The history of settlement and social landscapes in the Early Holocene in the Çatalhöyük area in Hodder I ed. Çatalhöyük perspectives. Çatalhöyük Project  Volume 6, 55-74. McDonald Institute/British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara Monographs

Baird, D 2007 The Boncuklu Project; the origins of sedentism, cultivation and herding in central Anatolia. Anatolian Archaeology Vol 13,14-17

Baird D 2008 The Boncuklu project; investigating the origins of sedentism, cultivation and herding in central Anatolia. Anatolian Archaeology Vol 14, 11-13

Baird D 2009 The Boncuklu project; investigating the origins of sedentism, cultivation and herding in central Anatolia. Anatolian Archaeology Vol 15, 9-11

Baird D 2010 The Boncuklu Project: investigating the beginnings of agriculture, sedentism and herding in central Anatolia. Anatolian Archaeology vol 16 11-13

Baird D 2010 ‘Was Çatalhöyük a centre; the implications of a late Aceramic Neolithic assemblage from the neighbourhood of Çatalhöyük’ in Bolger and Maguire eds in The Development of Pre-state Communities in the Ancient Near East. Oxbow books

Baird D, Carruthers D, Fairbairn A, and Pearson 2011 Ritual in the Landscape; evidence from Pınarbaşı in the 7th millennium BC cal Konya Plain. Antiquity 85, 1-16.

Baird D et al 2013 Juniper smoke, skulls and wolves tails. Levant

Hodder I and Meskell, L  ‘A “Curious and sometimes trifle macabre artistry”’ Current Anthropology 52/2, 251-2

Lichter C 2007 ed. Die ältesten Monumente der Menschheit, 123. Badishce Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe. (Some sections in English and good images of Neolithic sites)