The Early Farming Communities in the Eastern Marmara Region Project focuses on the early agricultural history of the Eastern Marmara region of northwestern Anatolia.
The roots of the project go back to 1986, when Dr. J.J. Roodenberg, at the time director of the Netherlands Historical-Archaeological Institute in Istanbul (now called NIT), started excavations at Ilipinar. This was followed by investigations at Hacilartepe and Menteşe. The current Barcın Höyük Excavations are also part of this long term research project. The Early Farming Communities project is a collaborative project of NINO and NIT.
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 Early Bronze Age material, and was considered to be outside the scope of the Early Farming Communities research project.
Netherlands Institute for the Near East
Netherlands Institute in Turkey