During the summers of 1997-2005, Ruth Tringham led a team from the University of California at Berkeley (BACH team) in an archaeological project of excavation and analysis at the site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, a 9000-year old Early Ceramic Neolithic settlement mound, as part of the overall Çatalhöyük Research Project. The printed monograph report of the BACH project, published in 2012 and entitled Last House on the Hill is mirrored by a CoDiFi database and this CodifiConnect Web edition, both of which are also entitled the Last House on the Hill (LHotH).
Why Last House on the Hill?
The BACH project focused on the life-history of a single house (Building 3). Building 3, unlike many buildings at the settlement mound of Çatalhöyük, was never used as the foundation of a subsequent Neolithic house; it was never built over at all, so that after scraping away the first 10cm of the modern surface deposits in 1993, the stubs of its walls were revealed and could be mapped. Thus it is in effect the last house on the hill, since it is at the top of the northern eminence of the two peaked East Mound of Çatalhöyük. It is not, however, the last house in terms of time. Building 3 has been dated to the middle of the life-history of the stratified Neolithic East Mound or “tell” mound. This mound spans 1400 years of history starting ca. 9400 years ago, during which ceramics increased from virtually absent to commonplace gradually replacing baskets as containers for storage and cooking. Throughout its history, however, the configuration of the houses remained remarkably consistent, with plastered platforms around the perimeter of the main room providing the predominant location of burials.
History & Editions
In this Edition
This Web edition of the Last House on the Hill is a product of the Center for Digital Archaeology using their creative Codifi Workflow. All of its content is drawn out of the Codifi-Collect LHotH database, but the collections here represent only a sample of what is in the database, but it is meaningful sample from which many interpretations may emerge. Each item (Digital Heritage or DH item) in the Web edition of the Last House on the Hill contains all the metadata that its mirror contains in the database. Items are related to each other through Collections and Categories, as well as keywords.
The primary organizing mechanisms for browsing the LHotH are Collections that mirror the database: People, Places (Features), and Events (Day-by-Day and Phases). Items are brought together in Collections so that they can be browsed as a grid or a list. Categories are also useful for browsing but are more thematic or interpretive (burials, ceremonies, fieldworking etc.)
The BAÇH Project at Çatalhöyük
As part of the renewed research at the early Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in the 1990s (led by Ian Hodder of Stanford University), archaeologists from the University of California at Berkeley, USA (the BACH team) excavated a group of buildings on the East Mound from 1997 to 2003. The BACH Area lies at the northern end of the East Mound of Çatalhöyük, whose archaeological remains date predominantly to the late Aceramic and early Ceramic Neolithic of Central Anatolia, ca. 7000 BC. The BACH Project was directed by Ruth Tringham. In the field, Ruth Tringham and Mirjana Stevanovic acted as co-directors. The project was funded by a senior grant from the National Science Foundation and a private donor, Mr. John Coker.
For more information, read this chapter that introduces the BAÇH Project.
The results of the BACH project research were published as a monograph - the printed edition of the Last House on the Hill - in November 2012 by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology (UCLA) Press. This volume is the final report on the excavations of Building 3, and Spaces 87, 88, and 89 carried out by the team from the University of California at Berkeley (BACH team) during the summers of 1997-2003. The research of the BACH team in this volume focuses on the lives and life-histories of houses and people, the use of digital technologies in documenting and sharing the archaeological process, the senses of place, and the nature of cultural heritage and our public responsibilities. Its final chapter looks forward to the project’s digital future, as witnessed in this Web edition.
Read more about the volume in the Book collection.
The Digital Multigraph
The digital edition of Last House on the Hill is a product of the Center for Digital Archaeology using their creative Codifi Workflow. This Codifi-Connect Web edition does much more than provide a digital presentation framework for publishing an archaeological monograph. It embeds, interweaves, entangles, and otherwise relates the complete project Codifi-Collect database (including all media formats such as photographs, videos, maps, line drawings as well as data analysis and interpretation) with the final synthetic contents held in the printed edition in an open access, sharable platform.
Çatalhöyük is a World Heritage site in Central Anatolia, Turkey, whose late Aceramic and early Ceramic Neolithic East Mound - a 9000-year old settlement mound or “tell” - was first made famous in the 1960s by James Mellaart for its painted and sculpted mud-brick house walls and dense pattern of houses that gave the impression of an urban landscape.
In the archaeological excavations at Çatalhöyük, the excavation and recording system is based primarily on a nested hierarchy of unit, feature, space, building, area and mound. Such a nested hierarchy is used by all single-context excavations that make use of the Harris Matrix system of recording and displaying stratigraphic relationships. At Çatalhöyük, there are two Mounds: West Mound (later Neolithic) and East Mound (Early Neolithic). The BACH (Berkeley Archaeologists @ Çatalhöyük) Area is one of several Areas on the East Mound. Others include SOUTH (the original area excavated by James Mellaart in the 1960s), NORTH - the area neighboring the BACH Area on the northern eminence of the East Mound, and TP - the area excavated by a Polish team from Poznan. Each area might contain several Spaces. A space (e.g., in the BACH Area Space 87 or S.87) is a spatially bounded entity of some kind, generally defined by walls, so it might be interpreted as a room. All units and features must belong to a single space. A Building (e.g Building 3 or B.3) is a group of spaces that can be shown to form a single structural unit. Not all spaces need belong to buildings.