1. Introduction: Çatalhöyük as an Environment for Digital Recording

Çatalhöyük is a 9000-year-old tell-site in Central Turkey comprising two mounds, an earlier East Mound (7100–6000; all dates in this paper are calibrated BCE) and a later West Mound (6000–5200). Çatalhöyük's East Mound (henceforth Çatalhöyük), the focus of this paper, was occupied for approximately 1100 years and consists of 21 metres of stratified anthropogenic material. The stratigraphy covers the whole range of traits associated with neolithisation, even though the site of Çatalhöyük arrives much later than the first sedentary settlements in the Middle East. The site has had two major phases of excavation, beginning with James Mellaart's project in the first half of the 1960s. Almost immediately the site gained international significance for its high level of preservation, distinctive layout of street-less clusters of houses, and a large assemblage of features representing the symbolic world of its inhabitants. In 1993, Ian Hodder re-opened the site and began the 25-year Çatalhöyük Research Project (ÇRP). The site attained further international recognition with its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012. The ÇRP has placed a strong emphasis on the application of archaeological theory and methodology, in particular applied methodology, informed by a clear theoretical framework. A part of this development has been a systematisation of self-reflection or 'reflexiveness' to inform the process of interpretation.

The sudden and rapid development of tablet-based hardware in the last five years means that critical discourse on its adoption by archaeological field practitioners is a body of literature which is currently in its infancy. However, the ÇRP is by no means alone in experimenting with the approach. Excavations at the Silchester Town Life Project (Clarke et al. 2007; Clarke and O'Riordan 2009) and at the Landscape Research Centre, based at West Heslerton (Powlesland and May 2010) in the UK, have been experimenting with on-site digital data input on handheld devices for many years (for a fuller overview of the history of these technologies in the field, see Morgan and Wright in press). There is a growing trend towards experimentation with 'paperless archaeology', a number of recent and on-going projects having experimented with similar technologies alongside the ÇRP. These include: the University of Cincinnati's Pompeii project (Poehler and Ellis 2012; Wallrodt and Ellis 2011), the 'Gabii goes digital' project (Opitz 2015; Opitz and Limp 2015; Opitz and Johnson 2016), the Tel Akko Total Archaeology Project (Olson et al. 2013), the Kaymakçi Archaeological Project (KAP) in western Turkey (Roosevelt et al. 2015), and the Say Kah Archaeological Project (SKAP) (Jackson et al. 2016).

Like many of these projects, the site of Çatalhöyük and the infrastructure of the ÇRP are large enough to facilitate experimentation with digital technologies in recording and since the project's inception it has always had a strong research emphasis upon engagement with digital methodologies, driven by the project's experimental and reflexive methodological framework (Berggren et al. 2015). Furthermore, as a large research project it not only has access to the expertise required to develop digital methods, but can also absorb the cost of experimenting with them. The use of a rigorously deployed single context recording methodology (Farid 2000; Spence 1990; Roskams 2001) also means that the site's data is archived using a wide variety of fairly standardised data classifications which lend themselves to the computational requirements of the digitisation process. This paper will focus upon a specific trio of 'paperless recording technologies' (tablet recording, GIS, and 3D technologies), which represent the latest in the suite of digital methods that have been employed at various stages throughout the history of the project (see Berggren et al. 2015 and Tringham and Stevanović 2012).


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