• Yunus Emre Institute

Ancient Wonders Lecture Series: Boncuklu Field Fascinates Guests



Dr. Douglas Baird Stopped By To Discuss Boncuklu Field With Us


Washington D.C. - The fifth edition of the Ancient Wonder Series showcased the archaeological site of Boncuklu Field with renowned archaeological expert Dr. Douglas Baird. Dr. Baird gave a thorough presentation on Boncuklu Field and people would have lived there 10,000 years ago. Once Dr. Baird’s presentation was completed, guests had the opportunity to have their questions answered by Dr. Baird.


Dr. Baird kicked off the event by diving into the site itself, the surrounding environment of its early inhabitants, and how they lived. What is fascinating about Boncuklu Field is that it happens to be one of the original sites where humans transitioned to a sedentary lifestyle and started forming a community. The archaeological sites of Pınarbaşı and Çatalhöyük are in proximity to Boncuklu. Both sites provide a comparison for how the inhabitants and environment of Boncuklu had developed. Important animals that provided important sources of food were the aurochs, which is a species of now extinct wild cattle, and sus, which are closely related to wild boars.


The most critical aspects of this site are the evidence that we have of humans not just grouping together and remaining sedentary but also the shelters that they built. The walls and floors of the early houses were made of an early hand-made plaster. Rituals became important to the inhabitants of Boncuklu as it is evident that some parts of the early homes were painted and kept extraordinarily clean compared to other parts. Dr. Baird gave a multi-dimensional and complete view of the site and provided guests with in-depth explanations that only someone with his expertise could provide.


There were an abundance of questions posed by guests throughout Dr. Baird’s presentation. Many were centered around the burials of people in the Boncuklu community, one of which asked about the prevalence of people buried inside their house versus outside, and the impact gender and/or age may have had. Dr. Baird replied that the burials inside and outside the houses were contemporary, and broadly occurred throughout the occupation span of the community in Boncuklu. Age and gender were not defining factors, but people buried outside were more likely to have spent a significant amount of time away from the settlement. Another guest wanted to know how the civilization of Boncuklu was set up in terms of community spaces. Dr. Baird replied that houses were largely scattered throughout the settlement and though later neolithic settlements had public buildings, Boncuklu did not. The questions were a great extension of Dr. Baird’s presentation and showed the engagement of the audience.


Yunus Emre Institute is a Turkish cultural center located in Washington, D.C. and around the world. The institute hosts events and programs that educate the public about Turkey’s culture, history, and language. For more information about the institute’s mission or online programs, please email washingtondc@yee.org.tr or follow @yeewdc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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