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Nov 4, 2022

Archaeologist Ian Hodder visits Google to discuss the origins of settled life in the Middle East.

Recent archaeological discoveries have upturned our theories about the origins of agriculture and the dawn of settled life. While climate change and economic adaptation have long been seen as prime causes, recent work at Göbekli (Guh-BEK-li) and Çatalhöyük (CHATAL-hoyuk) in what is now Turkey has shown that social gatherings at ritual centers played a key role. The remarkable finds at Göbekli include 6 meter high stone monoliths carved with images of animals and birds, forming ritual enclosures. Recent research at Çatalhöyük shows a fully fledged town in which wild bulls, leopards and the severed heads of ancestors were important social monuments.

Ian Hodder was trained at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and at Cambridge University where he obtained his PhD in 1975. His main large-scale excavation projects have been at Haddenham in the east of England and at Çatalhöyük in Turkey where he has worked since 1993.

Originally published in May of 2015.

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