GHF’s efforts at Çatalhöyük focused on conservation training, site protection, preservation of the archaeological remains, and improving the visitor experience. Photo: Jason Quinlan
From 2006 to 2010, Global Heritage Fund was pleased to support conservation and community development at Çatalhöyük, one of the largest and best preserved Neolithic sites found to date. Two years later, we are proud to report that Çatalhöyük has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Officially listed as “Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük,” the 9,500-year-old settlement becomes Turkey’s eleventh World Heritage Site, described by the World Heritage Committee as “a unique witness of the Neolithic Period.” Only a fraction of the site has so far been excavated, but already it has revealed the world’s earliest extensive mural art, with many experts seeing it as crucial to understanding the origin of civilization in Turkey and the Middle East.
Since 1993, Dr. Ian Hodder has led a team of international archaeologists in the Çatalhöyük Research Project. Although best known as the world’s greatest authority on Çatalhöyük, Dr. Hodder’s contributions to international archaeology have extended beyond the borders of Turkey. In 2002, after coming to California to establish the Stanford Archaeology Center, he helped Jeff Morgan co-found Global Heritage Fund, lending his extensive knowledge and field experience to the development of GHF’s Preservation By Design® methodology.
GHF’s preservation work at Çatalhöyük included building a shelter to protect the site’s features while research teams excavate, and its successful construction has enhanced the long-term preservation of the site. Site sustainability prospects were also increased by engaging the local communities as primary stakeholders, while conservation training provided technical skills to local team members who can be employed at other sites.
Of GHF’s 20 current and completed projects, half are now World Heritage Sites, with Çatalhöyük joining Chavin de Huantar, Cyrene, Foguang Temple, Fujian Tulous, Hampi, Lijiang, My Son, Pingyao, and Wat Phu.
Click here to explore Çatalhöyük on GHN