The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Çatalhöyük visualisation project

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The University of Southampton’s archaeological visualisation team, led by Professor Stephanie Moser, has been conducting research at the internationally renowned site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey, since 2009.

Project Overview

This pioneering project is the first of its kind to examine the long-term visual corpus of an archaeological excavation and develop engaging new visuals for the site’s key audiences. A formal partnership has been established between the University of Southampton and Stanford University, under the direction of Professor Ian Hodder, who has been excavating at Çatalhöyük since 1991.

A key component of the project involves the historical analysis of almost a half century of archaeological imagery generated at Çatalhöyük. This research is being led by Sara Perry of the University of Southampton, whose area of specialisation involves the visual economies of archaeological sites and institutions. Of particular interest is the role that imagery has played in Çatalhöyük’s iconic status within, and beyond, the archaeological community.

The visualisation team will also be experimenting with new visualisation strategies directed at local, international, public and academic audiences. These visualisations include a rethinking of traditional 2-D archaeological presentations (ie maps, diagrams, isometric illustrations, etc) as well as 3-D and moving graphics. Digital reconstructions of the site have been initiated by Dr Graeme Earl of the University’s Archaeological Computing Research Group in collaboration with experts from the University of Southampton and other institutions. The Southampton team will also be significantly remodelling Çatalhöyük’s Visitor Centre and on-site signage as a means of rethinking traditional heritage display.

Over the upcoming years, masters and undergraduate students at the University of Southampton will have the opportunity to join the team during the field season (typically during July/August). Southampton’s Museums and Archaeology, MA in Social Archaeology, and MSc in Archaeological Computing courses already incorporate Çatalhöyük-related units, focusing on past and present visual approaches. An online teaching resource, the Çatalhöyük Visual Assemblage, has been created to help students learn about the site and its graphic production.

More information about Çatalhöyük, including its ancient history, its present excavations, and related academic projects, can be found on the Çatalhöyük Project website.

Related research groups

Archaeological Computing
Theory, representation and cultural politics
Çatalhöyük visualisation

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