Hollanda Araştırma Enstitüsü  -  Nederlands Instituut in Turkije

Anatolian Chalcolithic Workshop

The Anatolian Chalcolithic Workshop is a new initiative that aims to offer a platform for dialogue and exchange for all those interested in scientific research on the Chalcolithic Period in Anatolia.

The Chalcolithic Period covers a substantial stretch of time during the prehistory of Anatolia but has still received relatively little scholarly attention compared to the preceding Neolithic Period and the subsequent Bronze Age. Possibly, this is due to the multiple, variegated and often regionalized social, economic, and cultural trajectories that make this period still difficult to define.

This is why we see a need for a better understanding of the manifold developments that took place during the Chalcolithic, not only with regards to changes in material culture, settlements organization, and landscapes, but also with regards to our views on changes in society, culture, subsistence, economy and technology.

It is our impression that ongoing projects that currently produce new datasets, be they excavations, surveys or museum and laboratory-based studies, frequently operate in relative isolation from other relevant work being conducted on the Period and region. This hampers the spread of information and limits the potential of collaborative research that we believe essential in order to deal with the complexities of this Period.

The Anatolian Chalcolithic Workshop (ACW) intends to change this situation by offering a platform for dialogue and exchange for all those interested in scientific research on the Chalcolithic Period in Anatolia. With a frequency of once a year, we plan to meet with other colleagues working on the Anatolian Chalcolithic to present ongoing research and to discuss topics, perspectives, and theories. Meetings can take place at a host institution, at conferences such as ICAANE, or online. In the future, we can also explore the possibilities of meeting at an ongoing fieldwork project. We envision that meetings will consist of a combination of presentations of in progress work and one or more sessions dedicated to specific topics. At least initially, we imagine that the focus will be on new and underway research, and therefore that meetings will not aim to result in edited volumes. Most likely, ACW will operate on no or minimal budget, and in principle speakers and attendees will be responsible for their own costs to attend the meetings. Where there will be financial possibilities, funding will be used to enable junior researchers to cover the costs.

Definition and temporal scope
The Chalcolithic Period is inconsistently defined according to criteria revolving around technological (appearance of metals), social (complexity, emergence of hierarchies) or economic (productive specialization) criteria that often lack the general applicability to make them fully usable/useful. Furthermore, the Chalcolithic is also unclearly defined according to chronological criteria. It is often considered to cover the sixth, fifth and fourth millennia BCE, but in several regions of Anatolia the earlier sixth millennium shares more features with the previous neolithic trajectories, while in other regions the late fourth millennium is often considered as already marking the Early Bronze Age developments.

Rather than defining at the outset what the Chalcolithic is and is not, we propose to question issues of chronology as well as of social/cultural/economic trajectories as topics of ongoing discussion of the ACW to better define and understand this Period.

Geographical scope
Anatolia covers a wide and varied geography arising from significant variability in adaptation to different environments and ways of exploiting natural resources, as well as divergent inter-regional cultural developments during the Chalcolithic. Moreover, many parts of Anatolia demonstrate varying degrees of cultural affinity with neighboring regions, indicative of substantial interregional interaction. The choice of Anatolia as the geographical area of our focus is mainly based on pragmatic considerations. It doesn’t exclude addressing topics that are relevant only to certain regions (one can think of the use of caves during the Middle Chalcolithic in Western Anatolia, or the development of complex administrative technologies during the Late Chalcolithic in Southeastern Anatolia), and it does not exclude addressing topics extending beyond the geographical boundaries of Anatolia such as relations with Mesopotamia, the Levant, Cyprus, the Aegean, South-Eastern Europe and the Black Sea as well as the Caucasus and Iran.


First Meeting of the Anatolian Chalcolithic Workshop

We plan to organize the first meeting of the Anatolian Chalcolithic Workshop as a one-day online event on January 10, 2025. Please go here for the call for papers announcement. 

Organizing committee (in alphabetical order):
Aysel Arslan, Netherlands Institute in Turkey
Fokke Gerritsen, Netherlands Institute in Turkey
Rana Özbal, Koç University
Giulio Palumbi, Laboratoire CEPAM (UMR 7264 CNRS), Bari University