The Origins of Sedentism in Anatolia and Göbeklitepe
Discussions on the onset of sedentism, agriculture and animal husbandry, and thus on a production-based way-of-life, is a topic never outdated since the last 150 years. Answers to these questions, which have been the focus of numerous prehistoric research expeditions conducted in the Near East, have always been important for the geographies where this way-of-life has spread, especially in Europe.
Excavations in Anatolia in recent years revealed remarkable results regarding the early stages of the Neolithic period, and therefore of the production-based, settled life. The impressive monumental ruins of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Göbeklitepe not only show the complex social structure of the period and the level reached in architectural technology but also demonstrate the existence of a rich symbolic world and thought-system dominated by animal symbols.
These excavations also shed light on how societies that have acquired knowledge of how to utilize the natural environment, and learned to reproduce it, have contributed to the emergence of the basic dynamics of social organization, division of labor, resourcefulness, and similar subjects that govern us in modern societies. The site of Göbeklitepe, which is one of the first permanent settlements in world-history, not only shows us the place of Anatolian geography in this process but also brings us closer than ever before to the world of Neolithic people.
Professor Necmi Karul currently manages the Göbeklitepe Culture and Karahantepe Research Project and is a member of the Göbeklitepe Scientific Coordination Committee.
After having received his BA and MA degrees from the Department of Prehistory at Istanbul University, Turkey, Karul won a DAAD scholarship and completed his Ph.D. at the Freie University Berlin in Germany in 2000. He started to work in 2002 as an assistant in his home Prehistory Department where he subsequently became Associate Professor in 2006 and (full) Professor in 2017.
Nationally, Karul is archaeology editor of Atlas (since 2000) and Magma (since 2014) magazines; member of Editorial Boards of Turkish Academy of Sciences – Journal of Archaeology (TUBA-AR; 2009-2012), of Colloquium Anatolicum, Studia Praehistorica and the Journal of the Turkish Institute of Prehistoric Sciences; is correspondent member of the Turkish Archaeological Institute; member of the National Committee of ICOMOS Turkey; and served as the President of the Istanbul Branch of the Association of Archaeologists (2007-2015). Internationally, he was the recipient of a research scholarship from Harvard University (USA; 2005); member of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Archaeology (2013-2016); and is a member of the German and Austrian Archaeological Institute.
Karul has taken part in many prehistoric excavations and surveys in different parts of Anatolia since 1989. Currently, he is the principal scientific advisor to the excavations of Bursa Aktopraklık Höyük (since 2004) and also leads the Siirt Gusir Höyük excavations (since 2010).