Getting to the Bottom of It All: A Bayesian Approach to Dating the Start of Çatalhöyük



Bayliss A, Brock F, Farid S, Hodder I, Southon JR & Taylor RE (2015) Getting to the Bottom of It All: A Bayesian Approach to Dating the Start of Çatalhöyük. Journal of World Prehistory, 28 (1), pp. 1-26.

A new radiocarbon dating program, conceived at the outset within a Bayesian statistical framework, has recently been applied to the earliest levels of occupation on the Neolithic East Mound at Çatalhöyük in central Turkey. Çatalhöyük was excavated by James Mellaart from 1961 to 1965 and new excavations directed by Ian Hodder started in 1993. In 2012 the site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, the precise dating of the site has remained insecure, bracketed somewhere between the late eighth and the early sixth millennium BC calibrated. In a new dating program reported on here, dates previously obtained from the site have been allied with new dates to produce a series of models that could be evaluated statistically and in relation to taphonomic considerations. The preferred model puts the earliest excavated layers at Çatalhöyük 200years later than previously thought. The implications of this later dating for local continuity and for the spread of pottery are discussed.

Radiocarbon dating; Bayesian statistics; Neolithic; Pottery; Çatalhöyük

Journal of World Prehistory: Volume 28, Issue 1

Publication date31/03/2015
Date accepted by journal11/02/2015

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Professor Alexandra Bayliss

Professor Alexandra Bayliss

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences