Çatalhöyük 2010

On the road to Çatalhöyük. Photo by me in August 2009.

Along with the rest of the Southampton team, I’m preparing to depart for the incredible site of Çatalhöyük where we’ll be working for the next few weeks on various visualisation-related projects.

Çatalhöyük is awe-inspiring—both in terms of the archaeology itself and the logistics of the massive fieldwork operation—and, with its 50-year excavation history, it stands as a perfect forum for exploring the construction and evolution of disciplinary visual traditions.  Such exploration has long been nurtured at the site, meaning that we have the advantage of c. 15 years of critical thinking about the subject to draw upon.  This is quite unique, I believe, in the discipline, especially as it has often been pushed forward (or otherwise enabled) by site illustrators themselves (e.g. Swogger 2000).

Tessa Leibhammer (2000, 2001) and, more recently, Colleen Morgan have begun to probe the historical trajectories of illustrative and photographic work at the site, and Colleen has assembled some great databases of Çatalhöyük visual materials to allow others to do the same.  These projects are complemented by a series of other digital, multi-sensory and museological experiments at/on the site (e.g., Ashley 2004, Morgan 2009, Tringham n.d.), and by the current graphic outputs of artists like Kathryn Killackey and Çatalhöyük’s photographer Jason Quinlan.  In tandem with the local communities of the region, and the site’s long-standing community archaeology team, Southampton is now building upon such work.  You can learn more about us on our university website, here, and read about our previous field season in the Çatalhöyük 2009 Archive Report, here.

Immediately following our return from the field, I’ll be off to the EAAs.  I’ll post again in September when I’ll be preparing for the 3rd Visualisation in Archaeology workshop (21-22 Oct), and the start of my work on the Sorrell archive at the Society of Antiquaries.  Bye for now!



Ashley, Michael (2004) An archaeology of vision: Seeing past and present at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Leibhammer, Nessa (2000) Rendering realities. In Towards Reflexive Method in Archaeology: The Example at Çatalhöyük. I. Hodder, ed. Pp. 129-142. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Leibhammer, Nessa (2001) Rendering ‘realities’: Towards a reflexive understanding of pictographic images from the archaeology site at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Unpublished MA thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Morgan, Colleen L. (2009) (Re)Building Çatalhöyük: Changing virtual reality in archaeology. Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 5(3):468-487.

Swogger, John-Gordon (2000) Image and interpretation: The tyranny of representation? In Towards Reflexive Method in Archaeology: The Example at Çatalhöyük. I. Hodder, ed. Pp. 143-152. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Tringham, Ruth (n.d.) Forgetting and remembering the digital experience and digital data: http://diva.berkeley.edu/projects/tringham/RET_DigPub/RET_ColMemory_0506.pdf

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