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J. G. Evans

12. Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells

J. G. Evans

In an exploration of tells, I am interested in these monuments for the way they allow me to understand my place in the world just as I am interested in their environmental archaeology. Tells have always fascinated me in the conflict they present between seemingly directed and incidental growth, and especially in their emergence at such a narrow stage in human history. How could it be that growth was so purposeful yet so incremental as to be invisible to adjacent generations? How was it that their emergence was only a feature of such a short period of time in such a relatively small part of the Old World? Here, I explore some relationships between tells and environment that might have a bearing on these questions, especially the business of intent.

Cognitive worlds
Focussing on the material form of the tell the visual, visible mound in a farming context, whether as a prominent symbol in an economic world or as a medium of social agency (e.g. Bailey 1999a), may be the wrong way to go about things. Tells as centres of agricultural production and distribution, tells as centres of control, or tells as creations of social identity seem over-simplistic in todays reflexive culture. Familiarly we are urged not to separate material conditions from the processes and agency at work (e.g. Barrett 1997, 122). Even when nuanced in symbolism, as with the cyclical history of houses as a metaphor of human generations (Brck 2001; Tilley 1999), or in relation to abuse within the household, a significant death, or a switch from one style of kinship residence to another, agency relations do not completely explain the specific form of the tell and its seeming directionality of growth. Large populations and permanent houses are two traditional components of tell formation. Yet dense agglomerations of people in the Palaeolithic (significantly well back in the Lower Palaeolithic in southern India, parts of the East African rift valley) and substantial

architecture such as the mammoth-bone houses of western Russia, (even if not occupied all year round) never led to the formation of mounds. Some practices that are familiar in tells (such as the strewing of clean sand over rubbish in storage pits in successive couplets) are also found in Palaeolithic sites (Soffer et al . 1997, figure 6); the landscape-scale burial by loess and renewed occupation took place successively in several sites, mirroring the cyclic build up of alluvium around many tells. With their repeated occupations and loess, Doln Vestonice and Kostenki (Gamble 1999; Fig. 12.1) are akin to tells on a huge scale; we can even suggest that the loess deposition was engineered. Yet even with prolonged and quite intensive occupation, as at Pincevent (Leroi-Gourhan and Brzillon 1972) and Mauran (Farizy et al. 1994), cultural layers constituted no more than a two-dimensional spread. Traditionally, sedentism and agriculture are also involved, and the origins of tells are sometimes seen in the beginnings of farming in south-west Asia and in its establishment in other regions. Certainly, farming (with its direction of purpose and planning) was a favourable conceptual environment for planned tell growth. But this came later, and Trevor Watkins (1990) for Qermez Dere in northern Iraq has argued that settling down in the earliest stages of the Neolithic was related to monumentality, art or other forms of understanding lives through distinctive styles of house interior and pillars. So, too, with other early sites: the diversity of building style as at ayn (zdoan 1999) with its succession of different and strange stone architecture; the significant monumentality at Jericho with its walls and tower (Kenyon 1957); and the monumental art, as at Gbekli Tepe (Hauptmann 1999). Sitings often incorporated landscape monumentality: Abu Hureyra on a spur at the edge of the Euphrates yet just above the influence of flooding (Moore et al. 2000, 112); ayn on the edge of a river and with use of the limestone escarpment to accentuate its powers (Fig. 12.2); and Jarmo dramatically on a compact plateau (Braidwood 1983, figure 61).

Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells


Figure 12.1 Map of sites mentioned in text. 1, Kostenki; 2, Doln Vestonice; 3, Upper Beretty region; 4, Selevac; 5, north-east Bulgaria; 6, Karanovo; 7, Sitagroi; 8, Nea Nikomedeia; 9, Plateia Magoula Zarkou; 10, Sesklo and Dimini; 11, Ilipinar; 12, Beycesultan; 13, Erbaba; 14, atalhyk; 15, Can Hasan; 16, Akl Hyk; 17, Lachish; 18, Jericho; 19, Abu Hureyra; 20, Gbekli Tepe; 21, ayn; 22, Umm Dabaghiyah; 23, Qermez Dere; 24, Nineveh; 25, Jarmo; 26, Ur; 27, Anau.

Figure 12.2 ayn, looking north across to the site from the limestone escarpment.

At these early Neolithic sites there were sometimes practices in building materials and rubbish disposal that led to significant accumulations, yet prominent mound formation did not ensue. ayn Tepesi, occupied for several centuries, is more a wedge of infilling on the slope of a terrace and it is invisible as a mound when

approached across the plain from the north. At Jarmo, there was considerable build up of deposits to several metres, yet the site hardly shows as a significant mound. At other sites, even the accumulation of deposits was slight, as at Tell Abu Hureyra, where for the first millennium of its history there was little build up, with


J. G. Evans sometimes (and usefully) quite mixed, when it was understood in relation to pioneering years; and it can reside deep in the unconscious of society, established there as an ideology, just as significantly as the physical characteristics of race. In operation, the unconscious can act as a mediator, repressor or forcing mechanism in the more discursive tracts of our lives; and it can be brought to light through articulation with people or other aspects of the world as new styles of behaviour, sociality or material culture in psychoanalytic transference. Again there is a substantial social dimension, and the remit of at least one psychoanalytical journal, The Journal of the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society, is confined to the relevance of psychoanalytic theory to social issues. Importantly, psychoanalysis is not just a discipline or a road into parts of the mind in the clinical business of healing, it is also the way in which the unconscious is created, modulated and brought to light in everyday lives. This is fundamental. Psychoanalysis operates not just in the domain of pathology or trauma, of healing and repair, but in a broader range of behavioural styles. Transference, too, comes about over a broader stage than that of clinical psychoanalysis or formal group therapy, occurring in every meeting between two people or bigger groups or even just in lone minds. One arena that figures significantly in transference is the unfamiliar unusual associations of people in unfamiliar places. Woodland and woodland clearings were just such arenas. In these, people who did not consort on a daily basis came together and conversed, and in these conversations opportunities for new understandings could be revealed. Surfacing of the unconscious goes on all the time but it can be startlingly revealed in these more exceptional occasions, and we find an example of this in group psychotherapy today where multiple conversations can be especially beneficial and transferences develop more rapidly than in individual therapy (Fehr 2003, 128). Absence of leaders with strong personalities also promotes more rapid exchange, and again this is the sort of situation one might find in peripheral associations. At a larger scale, beliefs and ideologies can arise in relation to whole societies through resonances shared in the groups psychoanalytical domain (e.g. Glass 2002). Woodland clearings could thus act as a medium for both the establishment of the unconscious and its resolution; they could themselves, through transference, have been part of a new materiality; and they could have been created as such in the first place. Ultimately clearance could have been widespread as part of a pervading ideology. The unconscious, too, has irrational parts. Some of these are what Freud called the primary processes of mental functioning, typical of dreaming, phantasy and infantile life in which the laws of logic, time and space, and the distinction between opposites do not apply

the construction of houses from timber and reeds. It was the same with some of the earliest sites in Europe. At Nea Nikomedeia in northern Greece, a low mound, visible as such and several metres thick, was so spread out (partly by later ploughing) as to be insignificant in the landscape. Its location on a plain several kilometres from the nearest mountain scarp and its environment of oak woodland meant that it was hardly visible at all in the Neolithic (Whittle 1996). In the Balkans generally, Douglass Bailey (1999b; 2000, chapter 2) documents a significant settlement style associated with pit houses which in some areas, like north-east Bulgaria (Bailey 1996b), continued through the Neolithic. Some settlements, like Selevac, were of considerable thickness, but did not develop into tells, while in some tells, like Karanovo I, the lowest horizons, even though forming over several centuries, did not display a tell form.

Tells and woodland: agency and the unconscious

Considering the contemporary vegetation of these early sites in the Balkans (Willis 1994), Greece (Atherden et al. 1993; Greig and Turner 1974; Halstead and Frederick 2000; Turner and Greig 1986) and Anatolia (Roberts 1982; van Zeist et al. 1968), it may seem that any intended visuality was tempered through an environment of woodland. Only around some sites was there clearance, and that on a small scale. Yet the stage-craft of open spaces can have enhanced site monumentality, and such may have been the intention in the first place (e.g. Cummings and Whittle 2002). Moreover, woodland was likely a medium of social agency (Evans 2003, 14), relationships being established through the act of clearance, the visuality of the clearances, the enhancement of landscape style, and in the use to which the clearings were put (e.g. Gell 1995; Morris 1995). Psychoanalysis and evocations of the unconscious give further understanding in the ways in which woodland and these early sites related. This is not to seek an alternative dimension but, in so far as the unconscious is established in a social context (Bateman and Holmes 1995; Bracher 1993, 13), to see its deployment as an enrichment of the framework already described. Popularly, the unconscious is developed through relationships with people, but the physical environment can be incorporated as well, especially where used in social agency. Popularly, too, it is the earliest years of an individual that are most important, yet the unconscious can be established throughout life as a continuous process or in relation to significant personal events. It may involve whole communities through deep societal and mythological time. Thus woodland can reside in the unconscious of an individual as experienced in relationships with adults in infancy; it can form in the unconscious of groups, made up of specific combinations of age, gender or position in society, but which were

Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells (Bateman and Holmes 1995, 32). Others belong in the deeper collective unconscious of humanity as advocated by Jung (Jung and von Franz 1978). The workings of the unconscious, their interface with the conscious, and their bringing into consciousness as transference in new socialities and materials can give rise to illogical worlds. At one level, this works in a general way (discounting individual detail) quite uniformly through populations, without trends in relations of power and directedness, and in this the workings of the unconscious differ from social agency. At another level, the emergence of diverse novelties may ultimately be reduced to manageable proportions through the selective action of social agency in the conscious domain. Psychoanalysis is attractive as a part of human behaviour: it relates to areas of the mind which are different from those of the conscious world; it ties together ideas of legitimation, archaization and ease in a more complete use of the past; and, in transference, it leads to new styles of behaviour and materiality which can derive from a phantastic world. In environmental archaeology, the physical (and indeed social) environment can be involved in the workings of the unconscious both as a means whereby transference is brought about (as in the role of analyst) and (through transference) in the creation of new behaviours and lands. But questions as to what sort of influences create the unconscious, at what timedepths it occurs, how transference takes place and is manifested, and what exactly is transferred are difficult.


Tells are settlement mounds in which it was building style that led to their growth, especially the use of mud and plaster, repeated re-building in the same place, and a parsimony in disposing of rubbish further than the confines of the settlement (Butzer 1982, 8797). There was little contribution from aeolian or alluvial deposition (Davidson 1976), although flood deposits were sometimes important in Mesopotamian sites such as Ur and Tell Eddr (Rosen 1986). The core material engagement was in the renewal of houses through their partial demolition, the infilling of the foundations and the building of a new house. This can take place more or less precisely on the same place over successive rebuildings (Bailey 1990) or it can be less closely related to earlier buildings. Other kinds of settlement mound are genetically similar especially where, as with some tells on floodplains, there was a concomitant build up of mound and surrounding land. There are Mesolithic shell middens and farm and settlement mounds like those of Scottish islands in landscapes of blown sand, and there are Iron Age mounds in marshlands like those in the Somerset Levels and the deltas of north-west Germany and Holland whose formation goes hand in hand with ambient peats and clays. And like the floodplain tells, these engagements with deposition could have been deliberate, thus

setting these combined accumulations of site and environment in the social domain. Similarly in temperate Europe, Viking, Medieval and later towns built up to considerable thicknesses which, although not always accompanied by physical accumulations, often lay in a matrix of increasing rural settlement and thus a wider social framework. Beyond these, there are alternations of deposition, such as the occupation materials and swamp deposits at Star Carr, the hillwash and house renewals in the quarry hollows of Iron Age hillforts, and the alluvium and rich occupation debris in Krs sites like Ecsegfalva (Whittle 2000), whose mound form, although present beneath the deposits in which they lie, is totally invisible. In some ways, I find the contrast between tells and flat sites (e.g. Chapman 1989, 34) unhelpful because it tends to set the tells up as special. Thus it is sometimes said of non-tell settlements that they lacked the significant sense of place in a community which later tells, through permanence of occupation, visuality and renewal of their houses, evoked. However, intermittent occupation seasonally or in longer cycles (Bailey 1999a), especially if engineered, could set a site up as something to be revisited for obtaining materials the delayed curation of Tomka (1993) as a psychological aid, or in individual or communal memory, and thus endow it with deeper meaning than that of the familiarity of continuous residence. It also allowed far-distanced understanding of distributions through networks of difference. To this extent, even if they were permanently occupied, I would not see tells as endowed with a greater sense of place than non-tell settlements and nor, therefore, that such a sense was a part of tell purpose. Tells were undoubtedly significant but that also has to be seen in the context of diversity in both categories flat sites include such extremes as the several-metres thick Selevac and the utterly invisible Ecsegfalva and in light of the fact that tells are known about differentially. Yet, even where mounded, these other kinds of sites are not called tells or even considered in the same category, a reflection of the geographical conformity and climatic characteristics of tell distributions. Even with the diversity of tells (so clearly brought out in the Cardiff conference, (un)settling the Neolithic, May 2003) there is still a discontinuous separation from other types of archaeology.

Materials in the land and on the tell

In the life of tells, although the material conditions are inseparable, the significance of different scales of time and space lay primarily in how people related to each other. Even though the thick and layered, earlier replasterings were known about and important in current lives (e.g. Barrett 1997) (a point omitted by Boivin (2000) in her paper on floor plastering), these can only be situated physically in the dimensions in which they lie. Rather it is the scale at which these materialities and practices were understood that must be our framework.


J. G. Evans compulsiveness in the proximity of houses while at the same time a resistance in the use of common walls. Where house walls were built directly and repeatedly above old walls, sometimes using them in their foundations (Bailey 1990), practice and routine became habit. But habit, established as the unconscious, could become compulsion and ultimately addiction when it may have been socially damaging. At Akl Hyk (Figs 12.3 and 12.4), parallel development of rebuilding and midden formation, as discussed in the (un)settling the Neolithic conference by Ian Hodder and seen in the deep sounding of that site (Esin and Harmankaya 1999), took place in the same place throughout a substantial part of the sites centurieslong history. Ultimately, however, routine (or habit) itself, in resisting innovation and repelling empathic qualities in society like explanation or love, can have led to an evocation of the unconscious and the emergence through psychoanalytic transference of new materiality. There can have been a complete change of outlook, with houses rebuilt with radical changes of plan, orientation and location (Bailey 1990). Such contrasts of building style and renewal in Chalcolithic tells in north-east Bulgaria, as well as reproducing social dimensions (Chapman 1990), could have been a part of an unconscious world, a dialectic of continuity (habit/addiction) and change (transference). The abandonment of sites like Akl Hyk at such an early stage in the Neolithic, the change in settlement locations over short distances of sites like atalhyk at the start of the Chalcolithic, or the abrupt standstill phases, lengthy enough for deep soils to form (Balabina et al. 2003), in some Bulgarian tells, may have been the healing of a communal pathology through transference. It is the same effect we see in clinical psychoanalysis where the analysts refusal to fulfil the increasing demands of the patient can ultimately lead to

The constitution of clay into bricks, of bricks into houses and houses into tells was how many people thought about tells, while others focussed on big distributions of tells. But both views could have been concentrated in individuals, communities, or whole societies with the same intensity, providing a core of meaning. For an individual, an ideology that was constituted in the whole tell universe could have worked with the same intensity as the manufacture of a single brick, while for a society, mud-brick technology could have been their world. Intensities of sociality and the unconscious moved through time and space, engaging with material worlds. A woman was easy in the routine of separating hot ashes from kitchen waste, and this was done in a broader understanding of their danger and the symbolic centrality of the hearth. Her worthiness in the family and community was enhanced in the separation of other materials to specific destinations (sand and clay in continuous re-use, organic materials in gardens and allotments, human and animal faeces in separate tracks and destinations) and, through their recycling, in a grander symbolism of re-birth. In the family, this dialectic of routine and ideology ultimately became tradition and held relationships together (e.g. Whittle 2003, chapter 2). Through the generations, threads of permanence ran through the disruptive chanes opratoires of cyclic house dismantling (or burning down) and rebuilding. For a woman, there was the taking up of the family querns, and these had added significance in the way the grinding of grain evoked free-association in the monotony of its routine. Wider social intensification was developed between families in individual tells through the constraints of space and interactions with neighbours in dumping rubbish and rebuilding houses. To this extent, such practices were likely sought out, and there is a seeming

Figure 12.3 Akl Hyk, showing the steep side of the site adjacent to the river.

Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells


Figure 12.4 Akl Hyk, from across the river, showing the asymmetry of the site profile.

Figure 12.5 atalhyk, from the north, showing the distinctive double nature of the mound.

cure (Bateman and Holmes 1995, 15863). This is attractive because abstinence on the part of the analyst can evoke childhood experiences in the analysand or a deeper socio-historical unconscious and the reemployment of earlier forms. Frustration increases to a level that encourages the emergence of childhood patterns of feelings and behaviour within the transference relationship... (Bateman and Holmes 1995, 158). And there can be a significant directional component: As a patient talks and the analyst refrains from excessive interruption, the patients less conscious wishes, halfremembered experiences, and earlier expectations come to the fore as if they had been eternally waiting for an opportunity of expression (Bateman and Holmes 1995, 161: emphasis added).

Tell materials and the landscape

Socially more complex views involved people who not only saw annual replastering and house renewal as providing continuity through the tell but as involving economic and social links between the tells and the source areas of the materials used in their construction. In one

form, these lay in individual families or communities living in the same tell settlement. Sociality was enhanced through the meaning of materials like cattle dung, chaff, grain and straw and their interplay between the land, for example as separate, strongly visual, piles (as in eastern and central Turkey today), and in the home in their close use in the domestic arena and house construction. Dung can have been used in the re-plastering of floors (Boivin 2000). A significant engagement was through flood-plains where build up of alluvium engulfed the lower parts of the tell, often to several metres, so that as the tell rose, so did the adjacent land. This occurred at Anau in western Turkmenistan (information from Susan Limbrey), Can Hasan (French 1972), Beycesultan in the Meander Valley (Lloyd 1963, 105), atalhyk in the Konya Plain (Roberts 1991, 13; Fig. 12.5) and Plateia Magoula Zarkou in the Peneios Valley in Thessaly (van Andel and Runnels 1995). There was a general symbolism (as ever) with the human life-cycle and a specific parallelism in the different processes. The annual coating of walls and floors with plaster not only cleansed the home but was linked to human life rhythms (Boivin 2000) and, in this, found a


J. G. Evans materials were used: sites close to the edges of plains and in foothills, like Sesklo, incorporated significant quantities of stone (Fig. 12.6), while sites further away, like Nea Nikomedeia, were constructed of wood and clay. Alternatively, more distant sources were exploited, probably with the specific intention of establishing further social links. At Tel Lachish in Israel, bricks of a Bronze Age temple were of diverse origins, as if contributed by a number of separate communities, while those of secular buildings were more uniform (Rosen 1986, 8486). Such associations of people, meeting in the exploitation of materials, can have led to psychoanalytical transferences which were expressed in, for example, new directions of clay management and new prescripts in its transportation to the tell.

comfortable parallel in the annual flooding and alluviation of the surrounding land: the whiteness of fresh alluvium was just as potent a symbol of renewal as freshly plastered walls. You can experience some of this when standing on atalhyk today, seeing the increments of white plaster on the surface exposed by excavation against a background of canals and the alluvial plain. Digging through the alluvium for clay enhanced the experience, just as did the digging into earlier levels of tell materials for the excavation of foundations of later houses, for postholes at Ilipinar which went down 80cm (Thissen 2000), or foundation trenches and storage pits at Tel Lachish in Israel (Rosen 1986, 9). These excavations were more than an experience of past geologies and archaeology: they engaged with past social and unconscious worlds. Where alluvium lay beneath a tell, directedness even before the emergence of the tell can be suspected. This was especially powerful where the deposit was part of a planned management of flooding and alluviation, something which, as well as being socially expressive, was certainly required for crop growth in the semi-arid climate of the Konya Plain (Roberts 1991, 4). Alluviation was an initial engagement of tell history. The chane opratoire of incremental alluviation, incremental plastering and repeated house renewal had common elements that enabled the working through of social relations and gave security in a common style; a Lacanian psychoanalytical interpretation would see such a potentially endless movement from one signifier to another as desire (Eagleton 1996, 145). There were expectations and there was directedness even before the visible appearance of a mound. In other cases, links were developed between different communities involved in the production and management of the materials used in tell building. Often, local

Links with pottery

Psychoanalytical and social conflicts could have arisen within and between these various communities from the monotony of routine and its tendencies towards compulsiveness and addiction. Alienation, which increasing specialization inevitably evoked (Dickens 1996), can have modulated the text, as Lacan would see it (Eagleton 1996, 14555), of the chanes opratoires, creating ease or discord. At the same time, it may have been links between different parts of the chains and the concomitant establishment of new social ties which led to the ultimate resolution of such problems. Articulations of pottery and building style provided a significant medium in this because they drew on materials with various origins in the land, yet which were used in close combinations on the settlements. At Ilipinar (Roodenberg 1995; Thissen 2000), relationships between land and settlement and within the settlement in changing building style, house orientation

Figure 12.6 Sesklo, showing the significant use of stone in the tell and the foothill siting.

Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells and materials over a 500-year history, could have involved psychoanalytic transferences. But there are no specific analogues here with clinical psychoanalysis. People were both analysts and analysands variously in engagements with the unconscious. The physical environment, too, acted as analyst (literally, in the way human analysts can only be involved by analysands in the first place), while new materialities in this can have emerged in transference and behavioural change. Building materials changed from post walls in phase IX (the earliest), to mud-slab walls on transverse planks in phase VIII, to timber architecture in phase VII, and finally to mud-brick in phase VI (although still with use of wood for floors, ceilings, support posts and thresholds). There were significant changes in house orientation. Possible transferences emerged in changes in pottery style, likely played through in craft specialization, in its consequences in alienation, and in new ways of holding the vessels. Forms were stable through phases X to VII, with freshness and decoration in phases X and IX, these declining in VIII to VI, and absent in VA although here with a greater diversity of motifs and pattern; significant changes took place in VA in the introduction of handles: From phase VI onwards, but in VA especially, tactility consisted of pointing finger and thumb, of dealing with vessels not fitting in clasped gestures but needing handling through strap handles (Thissen 2000, 70). The complexity of the interactions and the fact that they took place not as stark opposites but in a subtle relay of change are perhaps reflections of the slow pace of communal transference in the maintenance of social peace. Analogues creating ease and conflict abound. The use of plaster, in covering over the harshness of mudbrick and pis was a likeness of the coating of pottery with slip, while its painting provided links with the wider world as


in the scenes of onager hunting at the onager-hunting site of Umm Dabaghiyah (Kirkbride 1975). At atalhyk, where building traditions and material culture display a large degree of coherence, suggesting continuous occupation from level XII up to level 0 (Thissen 2000, 82, citing Mellaart 1975, 98) and where, unlike at Ilipinar, mud-brick was used throughout; there was a significant change in pottery fabrics from usually straw- or chaff-tempered wares in lower levels (XII to IX/VIII) to totally grit-tempered fabrics higher up (from level VIII/VII onwards), and, in the latter, variations in clay source with some fabrics containing more mica or calcareous particles (Last 1996, 133). It is as if there were a break in relations between the people who quarried the clays and incorporated the temper of the pottery and the people of the tell. Abandoning this particular temper, or not using pottery so tempered (for it is unclear whether the pottery was made on the tell or away from it), was probably related to the social meaning given to chaff and its tracks from the threshing-floor. In contrast to this abruptness, and more in line with Ilipinar, there was significant variation in the style and manufacturing technique of the mud-bricks at atalhyk (as Ian Hodder explained to me) with some being made off-site and transported as bricks, others being made in moulds on the walls where they were to serve (Fig. 12.7). Larger social groupings could also have created identities through pottery, and not just in widespread styles but in its presence or complete absence. This is usually seen as reflecting technology, yet the firing of clay goes back into the Palaeolithic, if not for vessels as such (Schmandt-Besserat 1974; 1977). Perhaps in aceramic Neolithic sites, significant architecture or diversity of building materials and style served the function that was elsewhere taken on by pottery.

Figure 12.7 atalhyk, excavations of James Mellaart, showing significant visuality of mud-brick.


J. G. Evans tells, such as those in western Muntenia in the lower Danube (Romania) were actually hidden in the landscape (Andreescu 2003) so that form was understood by lack.

Visual form of tells

Community identities were also established through tell form (Fig. 12.9), something which is equally important for us today in identifying the age and type of archaeology of a tell (Lloyd 1963; Mellaart 1967). Post-depositional processes like ploughing (compare Fig. 12.10, upper and lower) and river erosion (Fig. 12.3) are responsible for some forms, yet one suspects that the striking asymmetry of many sites (Davidson 1976, figure 2), which in some areas is a regional feature (Rosen 1986, 315 and figure 8), was a deliberate social expression. One idea is that tells were constructions in their own right, built as monuments even if lived in and used in various ways with the primary purpose of their being left as a remembrance of past lives. Visuality may have been through the mound itself, as with prominent sites like Akl Hyk (Figs 12.3 and 12.4) and the smaller, but still distinctive, Chalcolithic mounds of north-east Bulgaria. Careful superimposition of houses and conservation of rubbish enhanced the process, while in some, enclosure walls and ditches helped. In some, low, tells, it was the houses which provided the main visuality (Figs 12.5 and 12.9), being more concentrated, and therefore more intensively experienced, than at flat sites (Chapman 1989). Remembrance in these was in the ruins rather than the mound. Some sites, like Dimini (Fig. 12.8), are not actually tells but natural mounds, yet may have given rise to the idea of the tell form locally, so can still be considered within the genre. Size, too, was relevant. In southern Bulgaria, tell area was conformable to area of agricultural land (Dennell and Webley 1974) suggesting links with cereal farming (Bailey 1999a). But some tells were anomalous in this respect and may have been so created as a means of community identification. Other

Distributions in relation to landscape and topography

The inter-community scale of social lives was fortified in local concentrations of tells and their relation to significant geography. Sometimes it was local topography that was taken in as with the basins and plains of eastern and northern Greece (Thissen 2000; Whittle 1996), or the equation of kinship groups with geotectonic units like the poljes of the Balkans (Sherratt 1972), and sometimes particular agricultural styles, as in the lowland plains (as opposed to the uplands) of central Bulgaria (Dennell and Webley 1974). In the intermontane Beyesehir-Sugla basin, with its sub-humid climate, woodland and rain-fed agriculture, Neolithic sites were small (less than five metres high and four hectares in area), uniformly spaced in a continuous distribution of alluvium along the basin, some like Erbaba made entirely of stone (Thissen 2000, 85), and with a dominance of sheep and goat; this was in contrast to the vast open and semi-arid steppe environment of the Konya-Eregli basin where sites were of a greater range of sizes, some very large, clustered in relation to discrete alluvial fans, and with a predominance of cattle (Roberts 1991, 7). In the latter area, in the early Chalcolithic, there was a shift to foothill areas, with a congruence in the planning of settlement and house style, while in the early Bronze Age, distribution moved back into the plain with earlier Neolithic sites often selected for re-occupation, a random system of houses alternating with open spaces or courtyards, and dense settlement (Thissen 2000, 81, 97101).

Figure 12.8 Dimini.

Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells


Big distributions and long periods

Expression in big distributions and over long periods is seen in Bulgaria, with different patterns and styles of settlement in the northern and southern parts of the country. In the north-east of the country, these are so striking as to characterize the Neolithic and early Bronze Age over three-and-a-half millennia. Most interestingly, in the ultimate demise of tells in the Bronze Age, burial tumuli become important visual points of reference (Bailey 1996a; 1996b).

Large-scale social relationships were created as long histories. The embeddedness of time in the farming ethos lent a tighter, longer and more planned vision to the future than did hunting. Memory was important, but so was ordination (Jung 1978, 63). Evocations of the unconscious (for example of Jungian archetypes and more recent acquisitions) may have been a significant influence, and, though random, were selected through social agency and psychoanalytical transference in an understanding of some directional ideology like progress. Immediately, this worked through individual, family and

Figure 12.9 Different visual forms of tell. Top left, abandoned tell on a flooded floodplain; top right, tell made up of significant amounts of stone in a foothill location; centre, town on low mound in a swampy floodplain, with significant visuality of buildings; bottom left, compact village site with palisade, in a foothill location; bottom right, loose village site with low mound, in a plain.


J. G. Evans Transmission of knowledge could have been rapid; negating ideas of time-space distanciation could be of only recent origin. Now we see the directed formation of tells across peoples, rather than within a few villages, and in a knowledge of these big distributions even though they were never experienced physically. Connections can have been established through the power of forecasters,

local relationships, small units being powerful in the gathering and exchange of information, as recognized in group psychotherapy (Fehr 2003). But influences could build up rapidly and over vast distances in the broader spheres of socio-cultural identity and ideology, and in a different, and sometimes more sinister, mode (Glass 2002).

Figure 12.10 Two tells in south-east Anatolia showing different forms of preservation, the upper one severely eroded by cultivation with a significant colluvial slope, the lower one not so degraded and closer to its original form.

Memory and ordination: environmental archaeology in tells men of crisis (McIntosh 2000), and exotic goods like obsidian, horses and salt. However, I am not convinced of the importance of these over-individual interactions. The modelling of mud-bricks or the plastering of walls was done with reference to the whole tell and its place in the wider tell universe; the construction of specific socialities along chanes opratoires took place in an understanding of the chain of all tell history; alienation was actively created as a medium of difference in the history of developing social style. Colonization was a significant medium in which big distributions were understood, and it would be interesting to see if visuality was a stronger element where this was taking place. (Although there is little information, in the animal kingdom, individuals spreading into a new area may do so through the use of significantly visual constructions such as exceptionally large mole-hills or elaborate beaver lodges.) In the Neolithic of central and south-east Europe, it would be interesting to know if there were idiosyncrasies which fed their way into the tells which the pioneer settlements so often became. John Chapmans ideas about founder communities are appealing, especially the intimacy, the small scale of practice and the referencing between the future and the past in the creation of social lives: ...a genealogy of practices of dwelling, based upon small-scale and shortterm acts, creating cumulative place-value and grounding the future in the past (Chapman 2003, 18). In southern Bulgaria, there were concentrations of sites as people expanded their influences from Thrace and Macedonia up the rivers between the Gulf of Strimonikos and the Evros Delta (especially the Strimon/Struma Valley through the Rhodope Mountains: Thissen 2000) and ultimately into the Balkans (Sherratt 1972, 525), again in small pockets and along rivers. While local concentrations were a reflection of local tensions and conflicts, they were also a part of a wider spirit. In Hungary, this is seen in a distinction between eastern and western developments of the Neolithic, involving, among other characteristics, non-tell groups in the west (Bandkeramik cultures) and tell groups (Szaklht) in the east (although by no means are all of the latter tells: Sherratt 1982). Expansion in eastern Hungary took place along the valleys reaching up into the mountain foreland ..., but major expansion was blocked. While western Hungary maintained an important role as intermediary between the Balkans and central Europe, eastern Hungary continued an introverted development... (Sherratt 1982, 297). Local concentrations can also be seen as a part of a diversification, a feature of a lively focus of trade and stylistic innovation in later Neolithic development in eastern Hungary (Sherratt 1982), and, although not especially explanatory, this does set the tells more broadly in this area. Distributions were especially understood where there was interface with foreign settlement style. Here, we could predict, the tell form was encouraged. At the very edges


of the tell distribution, local concentrations were established, sometimes in the upper reaches of tributaries like the large numbers of tells in the upper Beretty region of eastern Hungary (Sherratt 1982, 306). This finds an echo in the different geographical locations of tells and flat sites as Sherratt (1972, figure 12.15) has shown for parts of south-east Europe, and in this juxtaposition we have a context in which tells might have been forethought.

Until I saw tells in the field I did not comprehend the huge size of some of them. I was astonished by the depth over 10m of the deep soundings at Plateia Magoula Zarkou and A kl Hyk, but these were slight in comparison to some Mesopotamian tells with heights of 50m or more. Archaeologists in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries coped with this pragmatically. Here is Seton Lloyd (1963, 67) on Max Mallowans excavations at Kynjik in Nineveh, an example of the centrally-placed vertical test, as he called it: It started with a spiral staircase, up which earth was carried in baskets...then for the last thirty feet or so we cut each step a yard deep and worked with a chain of not less than fifty men who passed the baskets by hand to the top of the pit. By this means the sounding was actually completed and reached the clean soil on which the settlement had been founded at a depth of ninety odd feet beneath the summit of the mound. Today we are more sensitive, yet we still need the long-time picture because this was relevant to how people understood their lives and how those lives were to become. In psychoanalysis, significant work took place in the first half of the twentieth century, with major names building it up on the foundations of an understanding of personal and community history, and the curative nature of transference: ...interpretation of the transference uncovers and allows the re-experiencing or reconstruction of the past in the present and, once insight into it has been achieved, helps overcome past trauma (Bateman and Holmes 1995, 97). This seems so relevant to archaeology. In the last decades, the subject has seen a decline in favour of more nuanced approaches to troubled minds, especially in a diversity of psychotherapies and counselling which are more attentive to the present. For archaeology, strong psychoanalysis seems more relevant in that it allows an understanding of the mechanism of change and the emergence of new materiality. Even so, while understanding past traumas or incorporating the past into present lives (archaization) digging into clay, exposing old foundations, renewing earlier forms of building style can provide ease, it does not necessarily lead to fundamental psychological change. Even in psychoanalysis, evocation of the unconscious does not need to result in transference, nor need transference result in cure, although it usually is a prerequisite.


J. G. Evans
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For my own part, the psychoanalysts seem a lot more relevant than the raw materialism of Darwin or Marx, those other two legs of the nineteenth-century milkingstool of intellectual revolution. They enable me to understand the way I am increasingly exploring my own past and thinking about the future in relation to it. Many episodes of my life, especially its earlier decades, had been forgotten or lay unused, yet today I am drawing on them more and more. Some of this is in a considered care of possessions, the household goods and gods, of friends and relatives, some of it is a re-assessment and realignment of past events which worry me, and some of it involves trying to understand what is to come. Lessons of history seem more important today than in 1963 when I was starting out in environmental archaeology, but then so is ordination.

I am grateful to Douglass Bailey for discussions about tells and help with literature, to Roger Matthews for help in visiting sites in Turkey, to Ian Hodder for welcoming me to atalhyk, to Katerina Paschali for guiding me round tells in Greece, to Lesley McFadyen for discussions about continuity and ordination, and to Alasdair Whittle for his ideas and comments on this paper.

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