The project addresses the relationships between the origins of settled agricultural life and cognitive change by studying the archaeological data from the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Turkey. The unprecedented volume of data from this site will be used to test a series of claims made by authors including the Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin, Colin Renfrew, Jacques Cauvin, about the Neolithic as a key moment in the gradual process by which human consciousness, an awareness of an integrated personal self, and the horizons of human possibility (innovation and creativity) all increased. Through empirical archaeological research, the project will test competing expectations about the timing and causes of these changes. The activities that constitute this project are (1) excavation at Çatalhöyük, (2) data analysis, (3) fellowships, (4) a workshop and conference, (5) publication. The output to be generated by this study will include 4 new monographs, a more popular book, a conference proceedings, and at least 20 peer-reviewed articles. This project aims to make a difference by showing that rich and scientifically collected archaeological data can be used to test hypotheses about how we evolved cognitively. It aims to show that the Neolithic was a key moment in the gradual forging of the modern mind and that the causes of this change can be discerned by careful analysis of a rich body of archaeological data collected over more than 20 years. The enduring impact is to show the "process by which potential man realized more and more of his possibilities" in the words of Teilhard de Chardin.
Templeton.org is in English. Only a few pages are translated into other languages.
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