Sold Out

Consciousness and Creativity at the Dawn of Settled Life

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

University of Cambridge

Downing Street

Cambridge

CB2 3ER

United Kingdom

View Map

Friends Who Are Going
Event description

Description

Despite the evidence for cognitive change in the Neolithic Near East, there has been little specific testing of the claims made. Scholars have assumed that the cognitive changes they describe are loosely linked to sedentism, changes in technology, trade and exchange, increases in amounts of material culture in the Neolithic as a whole, without exploring or testing any specific correlations. The dating of sites and events in the Neolithic of the Middle East remains imprecise, and many of the processes involved took place over millennia (e.g. sedentism, cultivation and domestication) and varied in nature and speed in different parts of the Middle East: the process of Neolithization has come to be understood as a complex poly-centric process. It has proved much easier to talk about cognitive change in broad-brush terms than to test specific hypotheses against the data from the Middle East as a whole.

The Templeton Foundation-funded project Consciousness and creativity at the dawn of settled life thus takes a different strategy to formulating and testing the above claims for cognitive change and the causes of them. First, a single excavated site, Çatalhöyük (http://www.catalhoyuk.com), with large amounts of data that cover part of the Neolithic sequence will be used as a laboratory for testing hypotheses about the causes of cognitive change. Second, specific measures of the cognitive changes are proposed. Third, the data will be examined to test alternative causal accounts of cognitive change.

To set this project in motion, a conference in Cambridge will bring together members of the Çatalhöyük Research Project and other Neolithic Near Eastern researchers, as well as leading experts in neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, cognition and material culture in order to discuss and debate these issues.

Provisional schedule

Thursday 27 July

2.00 pm – 5.00 pm. Ian Hodder and team members – detailed introduction to Çatalhöyük and to the ‘Consciousness and Creativity’ research questions

5.00 – 6.00. Discussion

Friday 28 July

9.30 – 10.15. Lucy Bennison-Chapman – Small, geometric clay objects: symbolic, record keeping tools (“tokens”) or multifunctional, utilitarian, tools?

10.15 – 11.00. Lucy Bennison-Chapman and Orkan Umurhan – A method to test regularity of size and shape of Çatalhöyük’s large clay balls

11.00 – 11.30. Break.

11.30 – 12.15. Sean Doyle – Signatures in stone - symbols of ownership and signs of innovation

12.15 – 1.00. Marek Baranski – Brick size and architectural regularities

1.00 – 2.30. Break

2.30 – 3.15. Christopher Knüsel – From parts to a whole? Exploring the meaning of human remains at Çatalhöyük

3.15 – 4.00. Scott Haddow – From parts to a whole? Exploring the meaning of human remains at Çatalhöyük (continued)

4.00 – 4.15. Break

4.15 – 5.00. Milena Vasić – Adorning the self

5.00 – 6.00. Discussion

Saturday 29 July

9.30 – 10.15. Güneş Duru – Aşıklı Höyük

10.15 – 11.00. Douglas Baird – Boncuklu Höyük

11.00 – 11.30. Break

11.30 – 12.15. Hans Gebel - The Southern LPPNB's territories of consciousness: their fabric in the Ba‘ja/ Basta region

12.15 – 1.00. Colin Renfrew - TBA

1.00 – 2.30. Break

2.30 – 3.15. Fiona Coward - The rise of the ‘familiar stranger’: material culture, social cognition and the conscious creation of self in the early Neolithic of the Near East

3.15 – 4.00. Marion Benz - When time becomes a matter

4.00 – 4.15. Break

4.15 – 5.00. Lisa Maher - Hunter-gatherer home-making? Building landscape and community in the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic

5.00 – 6.00. Discussion

Sunday 30 July

9.30 – 10.15. Lambros Malafouris - TBA

10.15 – 11.00. Trevor Watkins - The pivotal transformation of the human cultural niche

11.00 – 11.30. Break

11.30 – 12.15. Olivier Nieuwenhuijse - TBA

12.15 – 1.00. John Sutton - Forms of remembering: Neolithic changes in memory and material culture

1.00 – 2.30. Break

2.30 – 3.15. Paul Howard-Jones – Cognitive function and the cultural “ratchet”

3.15 – 4.00. Michael Wheeler - Cognitive change and material culture: a distributed perspective

4.00 – 4.15. Break

4.15 – 5.00. Chris Thornton – The headed meronomy as a ladder to complex thought

5.00 - 6.00. Final discussion

All papers will be 30 minutes in length followed by 15 minutes discussion.

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

University of Cambridge

Downing Street

Cambridge

CB2 3ER

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved