Domuztepe is the largest known example of a settlement from the Late Neolithic in the Middle East (c.6,500-5,500 BC). This is a key period of change in prehistory, after the development of agriculture and prior to the emergence of the earliest cities. Understanding the transition between village and urban societies is highly relevant today as, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. The excavations at Domuztepe are helping us understand how society became more complex prior to urbanism and how urban societies themselves may have developed. Domuztepe lies 30 km to the south east of Kahramanmaraş, south-central Turkey. The settlement was found during an archaeological survey of the Kahramanmaraş region and has been the focus of an archaeological project since 1995. Domuztepe is currently being excavated by the University of Manchester and the British Museum under the sponsorship of the British Institute at Ankara. The project is directed by Stuart Campbell of the University of Manchester with Alexandra Fletcher of the British Museum as deputy director. Until 2006, Domuztepe was a joint project with the University of California, Los Angeles and co-directed by Elizabeth Carter.
The Domuztepe project seeks to understand the social organisation of a very large pre-urban site. Since the site covers at least 20ha in layers of archaeology up to 15m deep, this is a very ambitious undertaking. Successful excavation of this type of site is a long-term commitment. Excavation has been organised in 5 year phases with the excavation strategy being revised within each phase. In particular, we are examining the organisation of architecture, open space and boundaries within the settlement, alongside investigations of ritual practices and usage of plants, animals and artefacts. Increasingly, we are also looking at the relationship between the site and its local environment as well as its links to more distant regions.