Marija Gimbutas honorary award for 2007
Jak Yakar (Israel)
Middle East Center, University of Utah

On the 15th of March 2007 was held the guest-lecture of Professor Jak Yakar
(University of Tel Aviv, Israel) at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, as
an academic guest of the Middle East Center, University of Utah (
a poster),
hosted by Professor Bradley Parker. The visit continued with a participation in
a Seminar on Ethnoarcheology of Anatolia on March 16 and in
party-discussion organized by the International Institute of Anthropology.

Jak Yakar received the 2007 Marija Gimbutas honorary award initiated by the
International Institute of Anthropology and the Institute of Archaeomythology.  In
May he will go to California upon the invitation of the Institute of
Archaeomythology for a lecture at Sonoma State University.
Ethnoarchaeology of Anatolia*

Archaeological data pertaining to rural settlement patterns, and subsistence related
production modes studied through ethnographic observations could be better
understood and interpreted.

Such observations can also help explain the possible reasons for the sudden cessation
of human activities in permanent settlements previously inhabited without significant

Moreover, ethnographic observations of nomadic groups can help create explanatory
models with regard to the nature of transhumance and nomadism presumed to have
existed in ancient Anatolia.

Ever since the principalities period in Anatolia, which gradually emerged since the mid
third millennium BC, the centralized state economies would have depended on settled
communities of farmers and those in the industrial production sectors. Therefore, most
states would not have tolerated the autonomous existence of large tribal polities with
large nomadic components within their borders.  Nevertheless, politically delicate but
economically beneficial co-existence with tribal groups could have occasionally existed
in Ancient Anatolia.

Studying the ethno-history of Anatolia, one encounters numerous cases of nomadic
tribes splitting into smaller clan-based groups. Once permanently fragmented into
smaller units, as is the case in modern Turkey, loyalty to the main tribal body is no
longer maintained.  On the other hand non-political temporary seasonal fragmentation
towards dispersal into campsites, also described in ethno historical documents, do not
adversely  affect tribal unity or change its social fabric.   

Ethnographic observations are particularly important in determining the nature of
economic activities in seasonally occupied camp-sites and villages of early Anatolian
societies. Such observations can help explain the reasons for the non-visibility of
ancient nomadic communities' material culture remains.

Architectural characteristics of secondary villages and camps occupied on a seasonal
basis could explain the reasons why these types of sites elude us in archaeological
surveys.  This has to do with location, construction material and the temporary nature of
most site locations.  Ethnographic records demonstrate that changing patterns in
seasonal migrations is one of the reasons that would have caused the occasional
shifting of site locations in the distant past as well.  Situated along riverbanks, protected
mountain valleys and slopes, or occasionally even on hill tops, such sites with their
meager architectural deposits tend to disappear under dense alluvial, erosion or
vegetation cover.  
*an Abstract
of the
at the Middle
East Center,
Art works by Jak Yakar
A night of jazz at Joe’s Pub
Wedding feast in Provence
Jak Yakar