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Religion at Work in a Neolithic Society
Vital Matters


  • Editor: Ian Hodder, Stanford University, California
Ian Hodder, Nigel Goring-Morris, Anna Belfer-Cohen, LeRon Shults, Stewart Guthrie, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen, Harvey Whitehouse, Camilla Mazzucato, Quentin D. Atkinson, Barbara Mills, Carolyn Nakamura, Peter Pels, Kimberley Patton, Lori Hager, Mary Weismantel, Victor Buchli, Anke Kamerman
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  • Date Published: April 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107671263

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About the Authors
  • This book tackles the topic of religion, a broad subject exciting renewed interest across the social and historical sciences. The volume is tightly focused on the early farming village of Çatalhöyük, which has generated much interest both within and outside of archaeology, especially for its contributions to the understanding of early religion. The volume discusses contemporary themes such as materiality, animism, object vitality, and material dimensions of spirituality while at the same time exploring broad evolutionary changes in the ways in which religion has influenced society. The volume results from a unique collaboration between an archaeological team and a range of specialists in ritual and religion.

    • Argues a new theory of the emergence of religion in Çatalhöyük and the Middle East, updating the theory and definition of religion presented in Hodder's Religion in the Emergence of Civilization
    • Results from a unique collaboration between archaeologists excavating a site and philosophers, anthropologists and religious scholars, providing a template for new directions in archaeological research
    • The 13 essays in this book present groundbreaking research and analysis of a 9000-year-old site with rich and remarkable symbolism that has long puzzled scholars
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Ian Hodder presents Çatalhöyük in a new perspective and invites an exciting interdisciplinary group to respond. It is like a particle accelerator in action, as their collisions spin off all sorts of new insights from a site at a pivotal Neolithic moment in human history.' Trevor Watkins, University of Edinburgh

    'Çatalhöyük has long stimulated the imagination and provoked bold ideas. Continuing an innovative project already remarkable for its daring, Ian Hodder has again put into conversation scholars bringing an impressive range of disciplinary perspectives.' Webb Keane, University of Michigan

    'This innovative and path-breaking book provides indispensable insights into the material and immaterial worlds of Neolithic community, ritual, and religion. The essays of these international scholars will quickly draw readers into the exciting worlds of Neolithic life in general, and Çatalhöyük in particular, and reshape debate and discussion of daily life within Neolithic communities for years to come.' Ian Kuijt, University of Notre Dame

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107671263
    • length: 399 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 177 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.82kg
    • contains: 46 b/w illus. 1 map 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The vitalities of Çatalhöyük Ian Hodder
    Part I. Vital Religion: The Evolutionary Context of Religion at Çatalhöyük:
    2. Different strokes for different folks: Near Eastern Neolithic mortuary practices in perspective Nigel Goring-Morris and Anna Belfer-Cohen
    3. Excavating theogonies: anthropomorphic promiscuity and sociographic prudery in the Neolithic and now LeRon Shults
    4. Religion as anthropomorphism at Çatalhöyük Stewart Guthrie
    5. The historical self: memory and religion at Çatalhöyük J. Wentzel van Huyssteen
    6. Modes of religiosity and the evolution of social complexity at Çatalhöyük Harvey Whitehouse, Camilla Mazzucato, Ian Hodder and Quentin D. Atkinson
    Part II. Vital Materials at Çatalhöyük:
    7. Relational networks and religious sodalities at Çatalhöyük Barbara Mills
    8. Using 'magic' to think from the material: tracing distributed agency, revelation, and concealment at Çatalhöyük Carolyn Nakamura and Peter Pels
    9. 'Motherbaby': a death in childbirth at Çatalhöyük Kimberley Patton and Lori Hager
    10. The hau of the house Mary Weismantel
    11. Material register, surface, and form at Çatalhöyük Victor Buchli
    12. The use of spatial order in Çatalhöyük material culture Anke Kamerman
    Part III. Vital Data:
    13. Theories and their data: interdisciplinary interactions at Çatalhöyük Ian Hodder.

  • Editor

    Ian Hodder, Stanford University, California
    Ian Hodder is Dunlevie Family Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Archaeology Center. He previously taught at Leeds University and Cambridge University. His main large-scale excavation projects have been at Haddenham in the east of England and at Çatalhöyük in Turkey, where he has worked since 1993. He has been awarded the Oscar Montelius Medal by the Swedish Society of Antiquaries and the Huxley Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute, has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has Honorary Doctorates from Bristol and Leiden Universities. His main books include Spatial Analysis in Archaeology (Cambridge University Press, 1976), Symbols in Action (Cambridge University Press, 1982), Reading the Past (Cambridge University Press, 1986), The Domestication of Europe (1990), The Archaeological Process (1999), The Leopard's Tale: Revealing the Mysteries of Çatalhöyük (2006) and Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships Between Humans and Things (2012).


    Ian Hodder, Nigel Goring-Morris, Anna Belfer-Cohen, LeRon Shults, Stewart Guthrie, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen, Harvey Whitehouse, Camilla Mazzucato, Quentin D. Atkinson, Barbara Mills, Carolyn Nakamura, Peter Pels, Kimberley Patton, Lori Hager, Mary Weismantel, Victor Buchli, Anke Kamerman

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