Aşıklı Höyük

Day Of Archaeology at Neolithic Asikli, Turkey

Hi from  Central Anatolia, Turkey

On this Archeology Day, we celebrate all archeologists who have given their support, in the field, in libraries, at museums, and at home, in an effort to understand all stages of human history.

Sea People at Aşıklı

25th season at Aşıklı

The archaeological excavations and research that we first started in 1989 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Ufuk Esin, to understand the earliest sedentary communities in Central Anatolia, is now in its 25th year. We extend our gratitude to everyone who worked with us as part of the team or who supported our work over these past 25 years as well as to our new members. 25 years was almost a lifetime for the Aşıklı community who lived 10,000 years ago. Understanding in depth the Aşıklı community, its lifestyle, habits, behaviours, and belief systems, and to share this knowledge with others, excites us today as much as it did in the first years.

Please follow our work:



Live dispatches from the Tooth Fairy

So, now you know. The Tooth Fairy is an archaeologist.

Archaeologists get everywhere. Like sand. This also applies to  jobs, so it’s not totally impossible that someone who specialises in the minute structures of teeth (see my previous post from DayofArch 2011) would end up in the overwhelmingly awesome Human Origins Research Group at the Natural History Museum, London.

Natural History Museum

For starters, this is an awesome place to work. Yesterday I found out that during WWII, the collections were evacuated to stately homes across the country to escape the Blitz… complete with associated researchers. And there’s a basement here that’s really a bomb shelter which was used by Churchill as a telephone exchange – part of the secret tunnels which run all under this area up to the Palace and War Rooms. Herman Hess apparently even spent a few nights in the Anthro Stores before his trial.

And today, on the Day of Archaeology, this particular Tooth Fairy is gearing up for more research than you can shake a stick at. In relation to the main project I work on at the NHM I’ve:

uwrapped my new camera toy;

eaten cake and discussed human origins/Euro2012; and

discovered a disturbing image mode setting on the new camera.

I’m also getting ready to go out to the field to look at the teeth of children who died in central Anatolia (Turkey) sometime between 10,500-8,500 years ago.  These are the remains of subadults from the amazing site of Aşıklı Höyük, the earliest settlement of the Anatolian Plateau.

I’ll be looking at the microscopic records of growth captured on every tooth–perikymata–to see how these children lived and grew. Like tree-rings, the lines on the outside of our teeth give a lot of information on how we grew (here‘s a more in-depth explanation). It’s a way to find out about health and development in early childhood at the very beginning of human settlement. Were there lots of growth disruptions? Can we see records of illness that might suggest seasonal diseases related to shifting subsistence patterns? That tell us about birth spacing?

I’m excited to find out. Even if I will totally get green dental impression material all over my nice new lab coat. It’s the price you pay for science!

Anyway, my days are pretty varied, but you can certainly keep up with me @brennawalks, or follow @ah_arkeoloji for more on Aşıklı Höyük.


N.B. All opinions etc. are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of my benevolent employer. Images under creative commons fair use.