This project is an excellent example of community archaeology. Its methodology is 'community-based participatory research' (CBPR), a methodology based on the notion that research can be democratised, by ensuring that people are involved in the process of knowledge production while also bulding capacities in their community. The project team first ascertained whether the community was interested in becoming a research partner and what level of commitment they would bring. Unlike other projects in which locals are used as labour force to conduct excavations, this project offered a more active and engaged form of collaboration. The next step entailed increasing archaeological and scientific literacy and community capacity for research. Community interviews were utilized to determine the types of educational products that would be most effective and were desired by the community – a comic series for children, a newsletter for adults, slide shows and community meetings (including a separate meeting exclusively for women) and a community theatre project were all ideas were suggested by and developed with residents.
To move beyond educational goals towards the building of research capacity, the project trained two interns, both young women. The interns assisted with every aspect of the CBPR project. Their assistance was particularly critical during a women’s meeting in which both interns presented information about the project to the seventy-five meeting attendees. After the meeting several women approached the interns with suggestions for collaborative projects. One idea was to create a space on site (in the visitor center) for a group of local women to learn about the Çatalhöyük iconography and produce handcrafts featuring it throughout the year, which they would then display and sell in nearby urban areas. Another component of capacity-building was the development of a local archaeological theatre group. Performances involve local school children. The theatre project is ideal in many ways: it is community-driven; it increases local archaeological knowledge; it builds community capacity on multiple levels.