Since 2003, Stanford University's professor Ian Hodder has been taking a small number of undergraduate students (5-8 per season) on his long-running, international excavation at Çatalhöyük, near Konya, Turkey.
The field season usually takes place in July and August, and most travel and living expenses for qualified students are funded through Stanford University's Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE).
The current excavations under the direction of Ian Hodder began in 1993. The site is a 9000-year-old town in central Turkey. It is famous for its great size (about 13 hectares) at an early date and its rich art and symbolism. The specific aims starting in 2003 are to use extensive excavation methods to open up larger areas of the site so that overall community structure can be studied, and so that larger numbers of buildings can be put on display for tourism.
The students spend 4 weeks learning basic excavation methods (use of tools, soil description, sampling, artifact collection and analysis, recording, drawing, photography, data entry). They also have the opportunity to work more closely on the artifacts, bones, seeds, geology, digital recording, and conservation. The students create the primary data through excavation, and do most of the initial recording and classification. Çatalhöyük is one of the few sites where sampling and study strategies can be observed and learned on site due to the large number of specialists in residence.
In contrast to other excavation projects offered through Stanford, Çatalhöyük requires very early registration for interested undergraduates. Because the Turkish government requires students' names to be listed on permit applications by the start of November, we must select undergraduate students in early October of each year .
For more information, see www.catalhoyuk.com.