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The Long Revolution: Becoming Neolithic in southwest Asia
Wann : 30.09.2016 - 02.10.2016
Art : Tagung

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The conference is the final stage in a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The project concerns the emergence of the first, large-scale, permanent communities of the early Neolithic of southwest Asia. These communities defined themselves in terms of their architecture and sculptured representations, as if to say ‘this is our place’. Göbekli Tepe in southeast Turkey is one of several 12,000-year-old sites that are producing monumentality and rich symbolism that challenge the archaeologists’ ability to interpret; we have suggested the hypothesis that they were defining themselves in relation to each other, and in a cosmos – ‘our place in the world’.

The central purpose of the conference is to initiate discussions between diverse archaeologists and bio-archaeologists who are working on the Epi-palaeolithic and early Neolithic of southeast Turkey, north Syria, the Levant, Cyprus and the Zagros, and a group of leading researchers in philosophy, cognitive psychology, cognitive anthropology, semiology and comparative religion. How did Palaeolithic mobile forager bands evolve to become the world’s first large-scale networked communities? What is the role of the monumental architecture, the imaginative sculptured representations, and the corpus of signs and symbols in the formation of the first Neolithic communities? We need new kinds of inter-disciplinary collaboration in order to tackle such questions. Rather than simply meeting together for a conference that leads to another multi-authored volume, we want to focus attention on developing an understanding of the complex whole by means of exploring the relationships among its different parts.

The John Templeton Foundation is concerned with ‘the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality’. It supports ‘research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will’, encourages ‘dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights’. Sir John Templeton himself was particularly interested in both evolution and spirituality.

Guest are welcome, but we would kindly ask you to register at the conference office in advance:


Excellence Cluster TOPOI - The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations

Hittorfstr. 18
14195 Berlin


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Göbekli Tepe - Projekt
Podbielskiallee 69-71
14195 Berlin

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