Çatalhöyük in Second Life, Fall 2009

This Fall we had the chance to teach a class about serious games using Okapi island as a base and we had four research apprentices working to improve the island.  As a result, we had some pretty amazing progress on the place.  As you can see from the image above, we have our entrance relocated to where the visitors entrance to the site is, along with the gate, the cafe, and the signage that you see as you are entering the actual site.  We are still fixing up the guard house and the experimental house, but I think that giving visitors a better sense of arrival adds to the island.

One of our apprentices designed some Neolithic clothing and tattoos, based on designs from John Swogger, Kathryn Killackey, and her own imagination. They incorporate designs and materials that we have evidence for from the archaeological record and were useful when we filmed our machinima. You can pick up your own set at the entrance to the site.

We were also able to get the dig house exterior in place, though work on the interior continues. Building the dig house was interesting, as I had never really paid attention to how odd the architecture is, and how all of the walls and rooms fit together.  I was able to request some last-minute photos from Jason Quinlan to add textures to the exterior, but I’m having a hard time finding good interior shots–always people in the way!  Building in Second Life still shows me that we lack a lot of the documentation necessary for 3D reconstructions.

We also have been reconstructing B79 in the sandbox, and will hopefully finish in time to add it to the report on the building. It has been a collaborative building effort with Daniel Eddisford, and the discussions about architecture that we’ve had regarding the reconstruction have made us both reexamine our assumptions about mudbrick dwellings.

Our machinima should be finished in the next month, so watch out for that.  Later on in the Spring we will have our research apprentices continuing to work on the island, and hopefully have a “Grand Re-Opening” in May.

As always:

Okapi Island in Second Life


Oddly enough, we got some press coverage yesterday as well:


Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

2 thoughts on “Çatalhöyük in Second Life, Fall 2009”

  1. Hi Colleen,

    The phrase, “Building in Second Life still shows me that we lack a lot of the documentation necessary for 3D reconstructions” reminded me of a course that a friend of mine teaches. John Bonnett’s a historian at Brock University, and uses the process of building 3d models, to teach different ways of representing the past but also how all model building – whether 3d, or in an elaborate written discussion – involves choices of what to leave in, what to leave out, etc. You might find his syllabus useful/interesting http://www.brocku.ca/history/undergrad/4F30.pdf


  2. Healthy diet staved off obesity for ancient man

    Researchers suggest that the ancient humans living in 8,000 years old Çatalhöyük had no problems with obesity or being overweight.
    Research at Konya’s Çatalhöyük suggests that the ancient humans living there had no problems with obesity or being overweight, British archeologist Dr. Ian Hodder has said based on his work at the site.

    “Each new thing we discover here about the forefathers of today’s human beings — like their nutritional habits, bone types and genetic characteristics — sheds more light on the unknowns about modern man,” he said. Hodder, the site leader at Çatalhöyük, said their findings about the physical characteristics of its ancient residents suggested that the currently popular trends of organic food consumption and natural lifestyles could find support in history.
    “The humans that lived in Çatalhöyük centuries ago had no problem with obesity and were far stronger than today’s man. Although they had begun to produce wheat, they did not consume much carbohydrates, eating mostly fruits,” the scientist said, adding that his team was carefully examining excrement found in the area for clues on diet and anatomical characteristics.

    Hodder also said they had discovered during their work at the site that the biggest killers of the community were typhoid fever and childhood dysentery. “Nevertheless, taking the rough life conditions of those times into consideration, they were still much healthier than today’s people. The most frequent health problem of the modern world is obesity, but they had no such problems; perhaps it would do us some good to examine their lifestyles a little more closely,” he added.

    Hodder also noted the stronger dental structures and teeth of the ancient residents of Çatalhöyük. “We have not observed any serious tooth problems, which is a consequence of their natural diets,” he said.

    Dr. Ian Hodder has been leading the excavations at Çatalhöyük for 16 years and is expected to continue to do so until 2017. The project under way there goes beyond archaeology, combining research in this field with other fields of science and hosting laboratories for academics from several disciplines. Çatalhöyük, Turkey’s most famous Neolithic site, is one the oldest known areas of human settlement, animal domestication and wheat cultivation. Discoveries made so far at the 9,000-year-old site include wall paintings, seals and cooking and eating utensils decorated with various painted and carved figures.

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