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Title: The diffusion of Neolithic practices from Anatolia to Europe : a contextual study of residential and construction practices 8,500-5,500 BC cal.
Author: Brami, Maxime
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 1186
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2014
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Ever since Vere Gordon Childe’s seminal work on The Dawn of European Civilization (Childe 1925), it has been widely accepted that European agriculture originated in Southwest Asia. Exactly how farming spread to Europe from its origins in Southwest Asia remains, however, a matter of debate. Much of the argument has revolved around the manners of spreading of the Neolithic, whether through colonisation, acculturation or a combination of both. Far less attention has been given to the actual content of the Neolithic pattern of existence that spread into Europe. In my thesis, I review one particular type of content, practices, defined by reference to the theories of social action as normative acts or ways of doing. Practices are marked out by repetitive patterns in the material record, such as burnt houses for the practice of house-burning. Accordingly, practices are inferred, rather than instantiated, from their material expression, using information about the context and the sequence of stratigraphic events. Beyond farming practices, the Neolithic witnessed the inception of a new set of residential and construction practices, pertaining to the way in which houses were built, lived in and discarded at the end of their use-lives. This research tracks each of five main areas of practices from their origins in the Near East: house ‘closure’, house replacement, residential burial, spatial organisation in the rectangular house and agglutination. The aim is to examine whether some of the more distinctive Near Eastern practices, such as the deliberate infilling of houses at ‘closure’, the vertical superimposition of houses, the burial of the dead under active households, the spatial division of the main room into two flooring areas and the agglutination of houses in cellular house patterns, spread into Europe. I find that this older habitus of practices, which was involved in upholding a static repetition, house upon house, of the same pattern of existence, did not spread or only marginally into Europe. Over the course of the 7th millennium BC cal., however, it was superseded by another habitus of practices with a focus on collective action, which had wider relevance and appeal. The sequence of Çatalhöyük East, which spans both horizons of practices, serves as a guide to examine the broader dynamics of change in this period. My thesis claims, on the basis of inference drawn from compiling together a database of 848 radiocarbon dates from 59 sites, uniformly re-calibrated and displayed with the same confidence interval in an interactive interface, the 14C Backbone, that there was a two-thousand year lag, plus or minus a few hundred years, between the advent of Neolithic economy on the Central Anatolian Plateau and in the Aegean Basin. As it stands, the Western Anatolian Neolithic, which starts at or shortly before 6,500 BC cal., matches the Southeast European sequence more than it does the Southwest Asian one. New research in Western Anatolia suggests that there is ground to link up Thessaly and Macedonia with the Lake District and the Aegean coast of Anatolia, and Thrace with the Eastern Marmara region, regarding the advent of Neolithic practices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology