Brad Bartel Discusses World’s Oldest Town at Honors Lecture

MTSU Provost Dr. Brad Bartel speaking at the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors College. Photo by Blake Jennings

MTSU’s Honors College continued its lecture series on the power of place this afternoon with a presentation from university provost and professor of anthropology Brad Bartel on the world’s oldest town.

Bartel discussed the development of an ancient civilization in modern-day Turkey called Çatalhöyük (pronounced Chat-ul-who-yuk), which existed almost 10,000 years ago in what is now known as the Neolithic period.

Working as an archeologist throughout his career, Bartel said he travelled the world to learn more about the inner-workings of ancient civilizations.

“When we are looking back at ancient civilizations we are literally looking at the roots of every aspect of human societies: human culture, technology, agriculture and development,” Bartel said.

Though the town is one of the oldest in the world, Bartel stressed its many rich complexities. Many of the slides shown were of homes in Çatalhöyük furnished with antechambers, crawlspaces, ovens and ancient carpeting.

One of the mysteries Çatalhöyük held was the civilization’s method of burials. Many of the town’s men and women were buried together regardless of age.

According to Bartel, this could hint toward equal gender and inter-generational relationships within the society.

The next lecture in the series will be “SuperMax Prisons: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” by Ronald G. Turner, an attorney with the Tennessee Department of Correction on Monday, October 20.

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