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Book details

James Mellaart was a pioneering archaeologist who made some of the greatest discoveries about Turkey’s prehistoric past, changing our understanding of the late stone age forever. His excavation of the huge Neolithic mound site of Çatalhöyük, now a World Heritage Site, brought revolutionary evidence of a complex prehistoric town, revealing previously undreamt of art and culture, and making him famous. However, there was far more to the man than his archaeology – his troubled childhood, fierce identity, love for Turkish culture, as well as the controversies by which he was dogged, meant that his life was filled with adventure and exoticism. 

This book delves into the life of James Mellaart and his wife Arlette, their family histories and historical Istanbul, the romantic backdrop to Mellaart’s ground-breaking work. His son Alan explores in detail how the lives of his parents and their respective families unfolded, set against the social whirl of a summer palace on the Bosphorus. Mellaart’s archaeological discoveries and the excitement of excavation are vividly explained in first-hand accounts by those who were there at the time. Historical reports, eyewitness accounts from those who knew him and assessments of the impact of both Mellaart’s work and character by leading academics show the undoubted importance of his contribution to the archaeology of Turkey and the wider Near East. Richly illustrated in colour throughout, here for the first time the reader encounters previously unseen archive materials, including Mellaart’s personal notebooks and accounts, giving new perspective on one of the greatest and most controversial characters in the history of archaeology.     

By Alan Mellaart and contributors, edited by Emma L. Baysal
476 pages, 239 illustrations (149 colour, 90 black and white), cloth hb, limited edition. 


  • Preface / Alan Mellaart, Emma L Baysal
  • Prologue: The Skeleton Cleaning Club: Childhood Memories of Çatal Hüyük / Alan Mellaart
  • The life of James Mellaart / Alan Mellaart
  • Arlette Mellaart: A Journey to Archaeology / Alan Mellaart
  • Bohemia on the Bosphorus / Arlette Mellaart
  • Safvet Pasha / Sinan Kuneralp
  • Kadri and Ulviye Cenani / Alan Mellaart
  • James Mellaart: A Man Addicted to Archaeology / Mehmet Özdoğan
  • Extracts From The Interval: A Life in Near Eastern Archaeology / Seton Lloyd
  • Working with Jimmy and Arlette Mellaart from 1955 to 1958 / David Stronach
  • James Mellaart and Hacılar / Maxime Brami
  • ‘Jimmy Bey of Hacılar’ and some Memories of Fifty Years / Refik Duru
  • Notes on the Çatal Hüyük Excavations / Ian Todd
  • Letters from Çatalhöyük / Grace Huxtable
  • Mellaart’s Notebooks: The Story of Çatalhöyük’s First Days / Emma L. Baysal
  • Working With Arlette and James Mellaart at Kanlıca in 1964: Those were the Days / Peder Mortensen
  • Jimmy and Arlette Mellaart at Çatal Hüyük / John Ingham
  • James Mellaart and Çatalhöyük: An Evaluation / Ian Hodder
  • One of archaeology’s great mysteries: Dorak / Seton Lloyd, Kenneth Pearson, Patricia Connor, David Stronach
  • Gordon Square / Donald Easton
  • Memories of Jimmy and Arlette / Ian Hodder
  • Tribute to James Mellaart / John Carswell
  • Tribute to James Mellaart / Trevor Watkins
  • James Mellaart Bibliography

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