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At the end of 2015, looking forward
The year 2015 ended on a very positive note for the Netherlands Institute in Turkey. At its meeting of December 14, the Curatorium (governing board) of NINO and NIT decided to maintain its Istanbul branch – being the NIT – for at least five more years. This means that a period of uncertainty has now come to an end, and that is it possible to look forward with confidence and optimism. In essence, the continued commitment of NINO provides the much needed foundation to start building again, to develop new programs and engage in new partnerships.
Among the developments that enable this new start, two in particular should be mentioned. Koç University and NINO have agreed to continue their collaboration for another five years, providing office and library spaces to the NIT at the Merkez Han building in the center of Istanbul, and ensuring that the NIT library remains available to the scholarly community, in particular KU’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations. In addition, the Netherlands Consulate-General in Istanbul and the NIT have agreed to intensify their cooperation.
Many individuals and organizations have expressed their support for the NIT, and many have worked hard to help get the institute to this new point. At the NIT we are very grateful to everyone involved, and happy to know that this has been very much a communal effort. Thank you!
In the New Year, we look forward once again to host researchers and students at our institute and to work with our partners to foster research and education, and to bring a varied program of academic and cultural activities. We hope to welcome you at some of our conferences, courses, lectures or other events. You can read more about some of our upcoming (and recent) activities below. 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year! A year for building bridges.
Fokke Gerritsen and the NIT team
A final season of excavations at Barcın Höyük
During the summer months, a final season of excavations took place at Barcın Höyük, where the NIT has been investigating a Neolithic settlement for the last decade. Funded by National Geographic, the season was extremely successful in answering many outstanding questions and achieving the goal to excavate the full chronological sequence of occupation at the site. With the material now excavated, Barcın Höyük is the only prehistoric settlement that documents the first introduction and early centuries of development of farming and village life in northwestern Anatolia, some 8600 years ago.
A major result for the season was that we were able to excavate two buildings that had been built directly on top of virgin soil and must have belonged to the first group of people that settled down at this location. We had already encountered the garbage of these first generations of inhabitants in a sounding elsewhere on the site in previous years (and don’t forget that to archaeologists ancient ‘garbage’ offers excellent ways to find out how people lived), but having the opportunity to document their residential  architecture added a completely new dimension to the emerging picture.
We also finished the excavation of layers directly overlying the oldest architectural phase. The discoveries from these slightly later layers included two graves that, exceptionally, were furnished with several burial gifts. A young child was buried with a bone spoon and a necklace made of over well over 300 beads of stone and shell. The grave of an adult contained not only a bone spoon, but also a single stone bead and a marble bowl. A small fragment of mineralized woven textile adhered to the bowl, suggesting that it had been wrapped in a cloth before being placed in the grave, perhaps to protect the contents of the bowl, now gone.
Once all excavation and documentation work was finished, the enourmous, four to five meter deep excavation pit was refilled. It took a backhoe, an excavator and a dump truck a good two days to replace all the soil that we had dug by hand and shovel over the last ten years.
Parallel to the excavation program, the analysis of the finds is also progressing well. This involves numerous research groups, laboratories, specialists and students, from the Netherlands, Turkey and many other countries. In the course of 2015, several important studies were published that present the findings from Barcın Höyük and discuss their significance for our understanding of the dispersal of farming and sedentary lifeways over Anatolia and beyond. This component of the research, analysis and publication, will be the main focus of the Barcın Höyük project in the years to come. You can find a list of publications at bottom of the project webpage [here].

Fokke Gerritsen
Top row: excitement among photographers and archaeologists (left) looking at a newly discovered burial from Barcın Höyük (right)
Bottom row: Barcın Höyük, directly before and shortly after refilling the trenches
Recent activity
NIT Autumn Lecture: Richard Staring on ”The meaning of Turkey for Turkish Dutch youngsters.  On feelings of belonging in the face of current international events”,  November 3, 2015
The lecture was based on fieldwork among 82 Turkish Dutch youngsters with different religious and ethnic backgrounds as well as with 23 board members of divergent Turkish Islamic organizations and movements.  Prof. Dr. Richard Staring holds a chair on Mobility, Control, and Crime at the Criminology department of the Erasmus School of Law (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and is currently a visiting scholar at the NIT.
Activities in 2016

Some of the upcoming activities in the first half of 2016 include the following:
Graduate Course: Migration in the margins of Europe: From Istanbul to Athens, January 4-31
The Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam, the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Koç University Migration Research Center and the Netherlands Institutes in Greece and Turkey organize this intensive winter course in collaboration with Greek and Turkish universities.
Spring School: Reviving previous times and expanding horizons: Islam and modernity in global historical perspective, March 14-18
NISIS, in cooperation with AKMED, CNMS, IFEA, IISMM/EHESS, Koç University, NIT and RCAC, organizes its annual Spring School, which will take place in Istanbul. The overall theme of the Spring School is "Reviving previous times and expanding horizons: Islam and modernity in global historical perspective”. Application deadline: Monday, 11 January 2016.
For more information click here.
Conference: Nation-building and Nationalism in Turkey and Europe, May 25-27
The Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms of the University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute in Turkey organizes a two-day conference on nation-building and nationalism in Turkey and Europe. The deadline for submitting abstracts is closed.
NIT Fellows and Visiting Scholars

Fellows and Visiting Scholars that conducted research at the NIT in recent months report on their time in Istanbul:
Michèle Meijer (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Ishtar and Kybele: the role of Anatolia in the transmission of religious ideas between Mesopotamia and the Greek-Roman World
I was a fellow at the institute for one month in November and December 2015, where I enjoyed the institute's warm welcome and comfortable rooms and library. This library, with its books and journals on Anatolian and Near Eastern history all on shelf, formed the perfect environment for me to work on my PhD proposal—of course frequently interrupted by wonderful sightseeings throughout the city and mid-day strolls through the lovely little streets of the Beyoğlu area. (read more)
Richard Staring (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
The meaning of Turkey for Turkish Dutch youngsters, and other research

The NIT was my home from 15 August 2015 onwards for a period of nearly five month. During this time I spent many hours in the NIT library working on several research projects.  The first one is on the social embeddedness of crime within specific immigrant groups in urban areas. (read more)
Tanya Sieiro van der Beek (Utrecht University)
Reassessing Hellenism in Pergamon
My visit to the NIT was aimed at conducting research for my ReMa thesis which focuses on the ancient city of Pergamon and the Great Altar in particular. This one month stay was a very valuable experience. Besides the possibility to conduct library research at the excellent collection of the NIT itself, I was also able to visit other institutes also located at Istanbul like the DAI (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut). (read more)
Noëlle Steneker (University of Amsterdam)
Storytelling and Children in an International Classroom
During my stay at the NIT in November 2015, I conducted preliminary research for graduate school in cultural anthropology. My research was on cultural heritage and storytelling amongst children, and I conducted fieldwork in two international primary schools, and one bookstore in Istanbul. (read more)

Other recent fellows and their research topics were:
Beril Çakır (University of Amsterdam)
Geographies of Assimilation and Resistance: Urban Space, Memory and Identity in Diyarbakır
Ian D. Morris (University of Amsterdam)
The ‘royal court’ between Byzantium and early Islam: Difference, diffusion or convergent evolution?
Sean Patrick Smyth (Leiden University)
Sâmiha Ayverdi: the incongruity of the modern in Republican Turkey

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