Çatalhöyük excavations in London gallery
Upon the invitation of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the exhibition of Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), titled “The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük,” has recently opened in London.
ANAMED’s major exhibition from 2017, “The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük,” will be running at the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), in Russell Square, London through Dec. 15. The exhibition reveals the “behind the scenes” of a pioneer excavation and research project of one of the most complex societies of its time.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük is a Neolithic settlement located in the Konya plain of central Turkey. Since 1993, under the supervision of British archaeologist Professor Ian Hodder, the Çatalhöyük Research Project has been shedding light on how one of the world’s earliest societies made the transition from hunting to farming and how it was organized socio-economically.
“The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük” was developed to celebrate the 25th and final excavation season of the Çatalhöyük Research Project.
Known for its fascinating, cutting-edge archaeological research methods and laboratory collaborations, the exhibition presents the Çatalhöyük excavation through various experiment-based display features, including 3D prints of finds, laser-scanned overviews of excavation areas and immersive digital displays that bring the 9,000-year-old settlement back to life.
The exhibition narrates the reflexive methods of the excavation through all its phases, starting from the moment the trowel touches the soil to the documentation of findings, laboratory analysis, and sharing of information. Although traditional excavation remains the primary form of investigation at Çatalhöyük, digital, experimental and visual reconstruction methods are increasingly employed to aid research and interpretation. This experimental legacy is reflected in exhibition displays and is complemented by incorporative artistic interventions, which underline how the site has been subject to various artworks.
As part of the exhibition, an award-winning immersive digital sculpture has been commissioned to media artist Refik Anadol from Turkey. Anadol developed a digital installation using Çatalhöyük Research Project’s archive, which consists of 2.8 million data records tied to 250,000 finds. By employing machine learning algorithms to sort relations among these records, Anadol transforms this knowledge into an immersive media installation that transcends research, archaeology, art and technology.
This exhibition is organized by Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), managed by Şeyda Çetin and curated by Duygu Tarkan, with contributions from Ian Hodder and other team members of the Çatalhöyük Research Project.
It has been designed by PATTU Architecture with the support of Yapı Kredi Bank, one of the main sponsors of the Çatalhöyük excavations since 1997 and the technological sponsorship of Grundig.