History of Excavation

The creation of Poznañ archaeological mission in Anatolia in 2000 and works commenced at Çatalhöyük was the first research initiative of Faculty of Archaeology (formerly: Institute of Prehistory) in the Near East. For eight years it had been the only Insitutes' mission conducting archaeological excavation in the Mediterranean Sea zone.

Research of Institute of Archaeology AMU at Çatalhöyük started in 2001 and last until today, under the direction of prof. Arkadiusz Marciniak. In years 2001-2011 they were conducted in the TP (Team Poznañ) Area with cooperation with Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy od Sciences, and then Insitute of Archaeology at University of Gdansk, under the direction of prof. Lech Czerniak. Between 2012 and 2017 the research were conducted in the new area on the mound (TPC). In 2018 a new area, designated as East, was opened up. Since the very beginning, the Polish research team was fully autonomical in terms of organization and financial issues.

Polish research team was fully interdisciplinary in character, and it included, except archaeologists, representatives of other fields such as: zooarchaeology, paleobotanics, physical anthropology. The project at Çatalhöyük comprises an active participation of students leading to completion of numerous Bachelor, Master and Doctorate dissertations.

The results of the research are significant: they proved that in the latest phases of the mound occupation, significant, multiscalar transformation took place. The results of the research were published and presented at various conferences. The results of each excavation season were presented in archive reports accessible online at the Çatalhöyük Research Projects' website.

The participation in the research at Çatalhöyük resulted in establishing close cooperation with leading research centers in Turkey, including: British Institue of Archaeology in Ankara, American Research Institute (ARIT), Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) i RCAC (Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations) in Istanbul; and also Albright Institute in Jerusalem and Archaeological British Institute in Amman. 

Recently, collaboration between AMU and OREA (Institute for Oriental and European Archeology) in Vienna was established. The project Pathways to the Late Neolithic of Central and Western Anatolia. The case studies of Çukuriçi Höyük and Çatalhöyük between 6500 and 6000 cal BC will be conducted in small-scale workshops held in Vienna and Poznan to offer a discussion platform for the experts and students of both teams.

Close relations were established with other excavation teams in Turkey: Asikli Hoyuk (under the direction of Mihriban Ozbasaran, Istanbul University), Tepecik Ciftlik (Erhan Bicakci, Istanbul University) or Boncuklu Hoyuk (Douglas Baird, University of Liverpool).

History of the Excavations

The site was discovered in 1958 British archaeologist James Mellaart and excavated between 1961 and 1965. It became famous due to its large size and spectacular wall paintings inside the houses. Due to the richness of finds, some houses were termed 'shrines' and the anthropomorphic figurines unearthed at the sites were interpreted as representations of Mother Goddesses. 

The second phase of works was carried out in the years 1993-2017 as the Çatalhöyük Research Project. The international team of archaeologists and experts of different fields was directed by Ian Hodder of Stanford University. 

Melaart's first excavations, 1961-1965. 

..... The project operated with a permit provided by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and under the auspices of the British Institute at Ankara. The institutional partners of the project are Selçuk University, Stanford University, University College London, Adam Mickiewicz University, and Istanbul University.

The 25 year project aimed at recognition of multiple aspects of existence of the Neolithic community inhabiting Çatalhöyük- with employment of the advanced research methods and techniques. Major objectives of the project included: reconstruction of paleo-environment, resources procurement strategies, food production, social organization and its connection with ritual practices, as well as the investigation of the relation to other near eastern Neolithic communities.

The excavations on the East Mound were carried in South and North Areas and were focused upon Early Neolithic strata. The South Area included three trenches adjoining Mellaart's deep excavations in his Areas E and F. Further to the south, the IST Area demonstrated that the Neolithic occupation extended to the edge of the mound. The North Area was located on the northern eminence of the East mound. The project was also focused upon conservation and heritage protection and management. 

The Late Neolithic sequence of the settlement occupation was revealed in TP and TPC Areas. They were excavated by the Polish team directed by Arkadiusz Marciniak and Lech Czerniak within the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Both Areas are located in the previously unexplored uppermost parts of the southern part of the East mound and are adjacent to the Mellaart's Area B. 


The early Chalcolithic settlement on the West Mound was first excavated by James Mellaart in 1961 where he dug two small trenches on its top. Different parts of the mound were excavated by teams led by Jonathan Last (Trench 1:1998-2004), Burçin Erdogu (Trench 8:2006-2012) and Peter F. Biehl (Trenches 5-7:2006-2013) within the Çatalhöyük Research Project. The excavation ath the West Mound terminated in 2013.

Çatalhöyük Research Project terminated in 2018 but the analyses and research are ongoing.
The new phase at Çatalhöyük began in 2018 with Çiler Çilingiroglu from Ege University as a scientific advisor. In 2018 and 2019 a new area on the East Mound was excavated by team from Poland led by Arek Marciniak in collaboration with Çiler Çilingiroglu.

All visual materials contained on this website are the property of Çatalhöyük Research Project
Poznañ Archaeological Expedition at Çatalhöyük, Adam Mickiewicz University
ul. Uniwersytetu Poznañskiego 7, 61-614 Poznañ, Poland