Neolithic interactions with materials

 Neolithic paint spill, U.20079. Source: Çatalhöyük Research Project.

Neolithic paint spill, U.20079. Source: Çatalhöyük Research Project.

 

Creative Practice: How Communities were ‘made’ at Çatalhöyük

Çatalhöyük offers a particularly unique example of social organisation as it is believed to have been an egalitarian settlement (Hodder 2014a,c). Furthermore, the material culture provides us with a rich dataset that contains the traces of highly creative and materially-engaged individuals who routinely made and re-made things, such as sun-baked clay figurines, basketry, and beads. I focus on Neolithic interactions with colourful or brilliant materials, substances, and spaces, and explore how these material interactions, as phenomena, reveal certain sensorial dynamics in-action at the Neolithic town. I outline how creative practices can create certain sensory dispositions - ways of seeing, feeling and doing - and I argue that the senses can be profiled during making events (cf. Howes and Classen 1991). The sensorial implications of making have wider connotations for the changing dynamics and tensions between ‘communities of practice’, and can yield important information about macro-scale changes in lifeways (Lave and Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998, 2012; Wendrich 2012; Bartlett and McAnany 2000). I contend that creative practice was an important element of egalitarian community maintenance and argue that socio-creativity played an integral role in social organisation at Çatalhöyük.