Excavations at Barcın
NIT Research Project Early
Farming Communities in the Eastern Marmara Region
How did the first farming communities
develop in northwest Anatolia, more than 8000 years ago? How did these people
make a living, in what kinds of settlements did they live, how did they treat
their dead, and with which communities nearby and far away did they interact?
And, at a broader temporal and regional scale, what was the role of northwest
Anatolia in the spread of farming from the Near East to Europe in the Neolithic
These are some of the central
questions of the long-term research project Early Farming Communities in the
Eastern Marmara Region launched by the Netherlands Institute for the Near East
(NINO) and the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT) some 25 years ago. For a
better understanding of the westward spread of agriculture, the study of the
Marmara region, located on the geographical boundaries of Asia and Europe, is
of key importance. Yet, this region has long remained a blank on the map of
At the beginning of the Early Farming
project stood the excavations at Ilıpınar, launched in 1987 by Jacob
Roodenberg. This was the first systematic attempt to find out when and how the
alluvial valleys of this region were colonized by early farming communities. It
was discovered that the site, which could be dated back 8,000 years, had a
full-fledged farming economy. The mound of Menteşe was studied as a second step
in the Early Farming project in order to be able to evaluate the evidence from
Ilıpınar in its regional context. This site had begun to be occupied in the
second half of the seventh millennium, making its initial settlement several
centuries older than Ilıpınar. A third mound, Hacılartepe, was investigated
because of presumed links with nearby Ilıpınar. This site yielded only Early
Bronze Age material, however.
The NIT Excavations at
Barcın Höyük (2005-)
The third step in the Early Farming
project was the launch of excavations at Barcın Höyük in 2005. The site is
located 5 km west of the town of Yenişehir along the road between İznik and Bursa.
This mound, with evidence for occupation in Byzantine, Hellenistic/Roman, Early
Bronze, Late Chalcolithic, and Late Neolithic periods, promised finds perhaps
even predating the oldest phases excavated at Menteşe and Ilıpınar. As the
research continues, it is hoped that a thorough study of the Neolithic layers
will provide significant information on the earliest phases of settled life in
the area. This in turn will help elucidate the role of the Marmara region in
the processes of Neolithization of northwest Anatolia and southeastern Europe.
As with so many prehistoric sites in
Anatolia, Barcın Höyük first entered the literature through the work of James
Mellaart and David French. The site was included in the surveys of Mehmet
Özdoğan in the 1980s. No further study was undertaken until 2005, when
excavations were begun by NIT/NINO under the direction of Jacob Roodenberg and
(in 2005 and 2006) under the auspices of the İznik Museum. The site, hitherto
known as Yenişehir II was renamed Barcın Höyük after the village in the
vicinity. Excavations continued annually since then, since 2007 under the
direction of Fokke Gerritsen of the NIT.
For preliminary reports
on the excavations seasons from 2007 onwards, please follow the links in the Publications section below.
Barcın Höyük Excavations Team
Project Director: Fokke Gerritsen (Netherlands Institute in Turkey, Istanbul)
Assistant Director: Mücella Erdalkıran (Ege University, Izmir)
Director: Rana Özbal (Koç University, Istanbul)
Laurens Thissen (Thissen Archaeological Ceramics Bureau, Amsterdam)
Ivan Gatsov and Petranka Nedelcheva (New Bulgarian University, Sofia)
Worked Bone: Mücella Erdalkıran (Ege University, Izmir)
Emma Baysal (British Institute in Ankara), Ellen Belcher
remains: Alfred Galik (University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna)
Botanical remains: René Cappers (Groningen University)
Human remains: Songül Roodenberg Alpaslan
Sjoerd Kluiving (VU University Amsterdam)
Archaeometry: Hadi Özbal and Ayla Türkekul Bıyık (Boğaziçi University,
and soil chemistry analyses: Rana Özbal (Koç University, Istanbul)
Information Systems: Maurice de Kleijn (VU University Amsterdam)
Cennet Pişkin, Mücella Erdalkıran, Gülşah Günata
addition, the Barcın Höyük Excavations
collaborate with individual researchers, research groups and consortia,
Universitys Archaeometry Research Center Lipid
Residue Analysis of Neolithic ceramics
PhD research Living Neolithization.
Micro-histories and grand narrative in Neolithic Anatolia and Southeast Europe
(c. 7000-5000 BC), by Elisha van den Bos, VU University Amsterdam [link]
· Marie Curie Project BEAN Bridging the European
and Anatolian Neolithic [link]
ERC Project From
the earliest modern humans to the onset of farming (45,000-4,500 BP) [link]
The Barcın Höyük Excavations are
carried out with permission from the Culture and Tourism Ministry of the
Republic of Turkey.
Institutional support is provided by
the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (Istanbul), Koç University (Istanbul),
Research Institute CLUE (VU University Amsterdam), Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), Ege University (Izmir).
The Barcın Höyük Excavations gratefully
acknowledge the financial support from the Netherlands Organization for
Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands Institute for the Near East
Alpaslan Roodenberg, S.,
F. A. Gerritsen, R. Özbal, 2013: Neolithic Burials from Barcın Höyük: The 2007-2012
Anatolica 39, 93-111.
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal,
2013: NIT Excavations at Barcın Höyük, 2012, NINO-NIT
Annual Report 2012, 13-20. [link]
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal,
L. Thissen, 2013: Barcın Höyük. The Beginnings of Farming in the Marmara
Region, in M. Özdoğan, N. Başgelen, P. Kuniholm (eds), The Neolithic in Turkey. New Excavations and New Research. Vol. 5
Northwestern Turkey and Istanbul, Istanbul: Archaeology and Art
Gerritsen, F.A., Özbal,
R., L. Thissen, 2013: The Earliest Neolithic Levels at Barcın Höyük,
Anatolica 39, 53-92.
Gerritsen, F.A., Özbal,
R., L. Thissen, 2013: Barcın Höyük ve Marmara Bölgesinde Tarımının
Başlangıcı, Arkeoloji ve Sanat/Journal of
Archaeology and Art 143, 51-66.
Özbal, H., L. Thissen, T.
Doğan, F. Gerritsen, R. Özbal, A. Türkekul Bıyık, 2013:
Neolitik Batı Anadolu ve Marmara Yerleşimleri Çanak Çömleklerinde Organik
Kalıntı Analizleri, 28. Arkeometri
Sonuçları Toplantısı, 105-114. [download here]
Özbal, R., F.A. Gerritsen,
2013: 2011 Yılı Barcın Höyük Kazıları, 33. Kazı
Sonuçları Toplantısı, vol. 1, 159-168. [download here]
Gatsov, I., P.
Nedelcheva, M. Kaye, 2012: Lithic assemblages from the prehistoric settlement
at Barcın Höyük, Northwestern Anatolia. New Results, Eurasian Prehistory 9, 125-133.
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal,
2012: The NIT excavations
at Barcın Höyük, 2011, NINO-NIT Annual
Report 2011, 3-9. [link]
F.A., R. Özbal, 2012: 2010 Yılı Barcın Höyük Kazıları, 33. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı, vol. 4,
155-166. [download here]
Lillie, M., C. Budd, S. Alpaslan-Roodenberg, N. Karul, R.
Pinhasi, 2012: Musings on Early Farming
Communities in Northwest Anatolia; and other Flights of Fancy, Interdisciplinaria
Archaeologica, Natural Sciences in Archaeology 3(1), 11-22. [link]
Özbal, R., F.A. Gerritsen, H.
Özbal, 2012: Barcın Höyük. Neolitik Dönemde Yemeklerde ve Aşçılıkta Yenilikler,
Aktüel Arkeoloji Dergisi 27, 28-31. [download here]
Özbal, H., A. Türkekul
Bıyık, L. Thissen, T. Doğan, F. Gerritsen, R. Özbal, 2012: M. Ö. 7. Binyılda
Barcın Höyük Süt Tüketimi Üzerine Yeni Araştırmalar, 27. Arkeometri Sonuçları Toplantısı, 15-32. [download here]
Gatsov, I., P. Nedelcheva, 2011: Lithic artifacts
from the Neolithic period in northwest Anatolia. Latest results, in N. Bilgen,
R. von den Hoff, S. Sandalcı, S. Silek (eds), Archaeological Research in Western Central Anatolia (The IIIrd International
Symposium of Archaeology, Kütahya) 8th-9th March 2010, Kütahya, 1-8.
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal, 2011: Barcın Höyük
Excavations 2011, NIT Newsletter 2011/2, [link]
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal, 2011: Anadoluda sütün
tarihöncesi. Neolitik Barcın Höyük, Aktüel
Arkeoloji Dergisi 24, 40-41. [download here]
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal, 2011: The NIT excavations
at Barcın Höyük, 2010, NINO-NIT Annual
Report 2010, 13-17. [link]
Jacobi, M., 2011: Chemistry unlocks ancient
secrets. Cutting edge analytical methods decipher molecular clues buried in
age-old artifacts, C&EN, Chemical and
Engineering News, March 7, 2011, 44-47.
Özbal, H., A. Türkekul Bıyık, L. Thissen, T.
Doğan, F. Gerritsen and R. Özbal, 2011: Sütçülerin Öncüleri: Barcın Höyük
Keramiklerinde Süt Kalıntıları, 26.
Arkeometri Sonuçları Toplantısı 307-317. [download here]
Özbal, R., F.A. Gerritsen, 2011: 2009 Yıllı Barcın Höyük
Kazıları, 32. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı,
vol. 2, 198-208. [download here]
Vayısoğlu, Ö., 2011: Neolitik Çağda üretim ekonomisine
geçiş. Barcın Höyük Kazıları, Toplumsal
Tarih 213 (eylül 2011), 14-18.
Gatsov, I., P. Nedelcheva, R. Özbal and F.
Gerritsen, 2010: Prehistoric Barcin Höyük: 2007 Excavations and Chipped Stone
Artifact Analysis, in F. Drasovean (ed.), Ten
Years After: The Neolithic of the Balkans as Uncovered by the Last Decade of
Research, Timisoara, Museum of Banat Publications.
Gerritsen, F.A., 2010: The NIT excavations at
Barcın Höyük, 2009, NINO-NIT Annual
Report 2009, 11-16. [link]
Gerritsen, F.A., 2010: Excavation campaign Barcın
Höyük 2010, NIT Newsletter 2010/2, [link].
Gerritsen, F.A., 2010: Barcın Höyük Excavations,
2008, 31. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı,
vol. 1, 411-420. [download here]
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal, 2010: Geç Neolitik
Tarımcılar / Barcın Höyük, Aktüel
Arkeoloji Dergisi 13 (Ocak 2010), 51. [download here]
Gerritsen, F.A., R. Özbal, L. Thissen, H. Özbal,
A. Galik, 2010: The Late Chalcolithic Levels at Barcın Höyük, Anatolica 36, 197-225. [download here]
Roodenberg, J., 2010: Byzantine encounters, NINO-NIT Annual Report 2010, 17-21. [link]
Thissen, L., H. Özbal, A. Türkekul Bıyık, F.
Gerritsen, R. Özbal, 2010: The land of milk? Approaching dietary preferences of
Late Neolithic communities in NW Anatolia, Leiden
Journal of Pottery Studies 26, 157-171. [download here]
Alpaslan Roodenberg, S., 2009: Demographic data
from the Byzantine graveyard of Barcın, in T. Vorderstrasse & J. Roodenberg
(eds), Archaeology of the countryside in
Medieval Anatolia, Leiden (PIHANS 113), 169-175.
Gerritsen, F.A., 2009: Opgravingen Barcın Höyük
zomer 2009, NIT Nieuwsbrief najaar 2009,
F., R. Özbal, 2009: Barcın Höyük Excavations, 2007, 30. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı, vol. 3, 457-464. [download here]
Künzel, M., 2009: Geoarcheologisch onderzoek in
Barcın, Turkije, Geo.brief 7,9-11.
Roodenberg, J.J., 2009: The Byzantine graveyards
from Ilıpınar and Barcın in Northwest Anatolia, in T. Vorderstrasse &
J.Roodenberg (eds), Archaeology of the
countryside in Medieval Anatolia, Leiden (PIHANS 113), 154-167.
Schwarzberg, H., 2009: Neolithic Cult Tables
from Barcın Höyük, Anatolica 35,
Gerritsen, F.A., 2008: Barcın Höyük Campagne 2008,
NIT Nieuwsbrief najaar 2008 [link].
Korsvoll, N., 2008: Protection in This World and
the Next. The Function of Byzantine Grave Goods, unpublished Honours Thesis,
University College Utrecht.
Roodenberg, J.J., A. van As and S. Alpaslan
Roodenberg, 2008: Barcın Hüyük in the Plain of Yenişehir (2005-2006). A
Preliminary Note on the Fieldwork, Pottery and Human Remains of the Prehistoric
Levels, Anatolica 34, 53-66.
Türkekul-Bıyık, A., H. Özbal, 2008: Arkeolojik
Çanak ve Çömleklerde Organik Kalıntıların Belirenmesi: Anadoludan Bazı
Örnekler, 23. Arkeometri Sonuçları
Toplantısı, 249-264. [download here]
Gerritsen, F.A., 2007: Opgravingen te Barcın
Höyük, NIT Nieuwsbrief najaar 2007 [link].
Mellaart, J., 1955: Some Prehistoric Sites in
North-Western Anatolia, Istanbuler Mitteilungen 6, 53-88.
French, D., 1967: Prehistoric Sites in Northwest
Anatolia: I. The İznik Area, Anatolian Studies 17, 49-100.
Özdoğan, M., 1986: 1984 Yılı Trakya ve Doğu
Marmara Araştırmaları, Araştırma Sonuçları Toplantısı 3, 409-420. [download here]