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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1996-97 Annual Report

The Joint Prehistoric Project


Robert J. Braidwood and Linda S. Braidwood

Unfortunately there has still been no resolution of the situation in southeastern Turkey that would allow excavation to resume at Çayönü. But we are happy to report that work on the publication front is proceeding slowly but surely. Oddly enough, when Çayönü was first selected for excavation by the fledgling Joint Prehistoric Project of the Universities of Istanbul and Chicago - way back in 1963 - it was one of two sites we thought to test. First, we would taste what Çayönü held for us, then proceed to test Ayngerm (S 63/7), a bit further to the east in the province of Siirt. Amazingly, in all of the years since 1963/64 through 1991, we and our colleagues have never found the time to test the second site.

One may well ask why, after some fifteen seasons of excavation at Çayönü with more area exposed than any other early site of this time range, we feel that it is essential to resume excavations when it becomes possible. If we had stopped excavations after two or three seasons, we and our "Joint" colleagues would have been convinced that we had all of the answers as to what went on at Çayönü. But by the last season (1991, when Mehmet Özdogan was the director and the University of Rome colleagues became involved) it became clear that the views we had formed of Çayönü were entirely too simplistic. Now we are not really sure of what went on and feel that it is important in understanding this early range of time to be able to answer these questions.

As to publication, we are pleased that the largest categories of materials in the Çayönü assemblages are all being coped with. In the 1995/96 Annual Report, we mentioned that Richard Meadow of Harvard had received his National Science Foundation grant for work on the animal bones of Çayönü with his assistant, Dr. Hitomi Hongo, supervising the work. Two of the Istanbul Prehistory graduate students who had been working with and under Berrin Kusatman before her death and hope to be zooarchaeologists, are working full time on sorting the material. Hitomi also has a research grant from her Japanese institution, the Kyoto Research Center, and the study of the Çayönü animal bones is her project. She makes four or five round trips a year to Istanbul to check up on Gülçin and Banu and guide the work. Richard Meadow stops regularly in Istanbul to give aid and advice. The study is right on schedule.

One very sad note is the recent loss of our good animal bone field companion, Barbara Lawrence Schevill, of Harvard. We are grateful to her for having convinced Richard Meadow to take on the supervision of the Çayönü material after the sudden death of Berrin in 1993.

The study of the great mass of chipped stone artifacts continues in the competent hands of Dr. Isabella Caneva of Rome and Venice. She and her team are able to make only two short trips out to Istanbul each year to work on the material. They have been training two Istanbul Prehistory Department graduate students, Güner and Çiler, to whom the Prehistoric Project is now paying a modest stipend so they can work on the project full time. We are most happy with Isabella's approach to the study of the chipped stone and grateful to her for taking it on despite her busy schedule.

Dr. Metin Özbek has finished a manuscript on the human bone material of Çayönü - extremely important material since the collection is very large for such an early site. Robin Lillie, an osteologist at the University of Iowa, is working on the editing of the manuscript but finds she lacks some information which will have to wait until Asli Özdogan can spend time in Metin's lab in Ankara to check the material. Asl1 is the person with the greatest knowledge of the materials excavated at Çayönü.

We are happy to report that two of the graduate students from Istanbul Prehistory Department have received their doctorates this year: Erhan B1çakç1 in Architecture under Professor Wolf Schirmer of Karlsrühe University and Füsun Ertug in Ethnoarchaeology under Professor Patty Jo Watson at Washington University in St. Louis.

We wish the unrest in southeastern Turkey would quiet down, but doubt that this will be soon. We do, however, have a new deep wish to return to Turkey, as we are full of enthusiasm and joy over Aslihan Yener's new goals in the Plain of Antioch (see separate report). It was there that Bob spent much of the 1930s for the Oriental Institute and that Linda first cut her teeth in field archaeology.

Revised: February 7, 2007

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