ABSTRACT

In the Near Eastern Neolithic, there are a number of instances where we seem to be dealing with large social agglomerations. These cases have raised the issue of how such settlements and communities can best be understood. Overall there has been a tendency to confl ate size and function (Hole 2000). This chapter addresses how the large, aggregated community of Çatalhöyük was constituted. It will be argued that too little attention has been given to the social practices, mentalities, and collectivities that made up the prehistoric community at Çatalhöyük. This situation also applies more broadly to Near Eastern archaeology. I will briefl y summarize the arguments put forward for Çatalhöyük, on the one hand, and a number of large sites dating to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in Jordan, on the other, to illustrate how these sites have been interpreted in recent decades.