Within this doctoral project the relationship between environment and settlement strategies in the hinterland of Göbekli Tepe in prehistoric and historic times is investigated.


Aerial view of the Göbekli Tepe excavations | Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Erhan Kücük

Aerial view of the Göbekli Tepe excavations | Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Erhan Kücük

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic site Göbekli Tepe is one of the earliest known cultic places and is considered as the oldest example of monumental architecture in the arc of the Hilly Flanks of the Fertile Crescent. Under the responsibility of the Orient Department of the German Archaeological Institute and the Museum of Șanlıurfa archaeological investigations are conducted since 1995. In this context, the hypothesis will be examined that the community structure at Göbekli Tepe enabled the distribution of new technologies in the wider region and can be considered as driving force behind the transition from a foraging way of life to productive farming in Upper Mesopotamia. To approach this central issue it is crucial to understand the choice of location at Göbekli Tepe. Therefore, within this doctoral project the given affordances of the site are examined, drawing on methods of visibility studies and landscape characterization, among others. Furthermore, a diachronic analysis of archaeological sites in the surroundings is conducted in order to analyze whether the change of economic behavior at the transition from foraging to sedentary societies influenced the modes of interaction. Using spatial point pattern analyses, the influence of environmental conditions on the distribution of sites as well as the potential interactions between them are assessed. The results of the study will not only reveal new insights into the function of Göbekli Tepe in relation to its regional framework, but also into changing network structures in the hitherto less investigated environs of this site.

This thesis is being written within the doctoral program Landscape Archaeology and Architecture at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).

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News and Notes from the Göbekli Tepe research staff are available on the blog “The Tepe Telegrams” https://tepetelegrams.wordpress.com/