Elisha van den Bos MA

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Promovenda Archeologie


Master’s programmes as well as research of the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Ancient Studies are organized within dynamic, international oriented knowledge centres. Researchers participate in the research institute CLUE (for the heritage and history of Cultural Landsccapes and Urban Environment). The joint master’s programmes of VU University and the University of Amsterdam are provided by the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). Thanks to the partnership of the two universities, students can choose from a wide range of subjects, allowing them to develop as scholars in many different specialisms in the field of Classics, Ancient Studies en Archaeology.

Research Interests

Anatolia and Southeast Europe in the Neolithic period; archaeology of houses and households; spread of sedentism and farming

Working Title PhD-Research

Living Neolithization. Micro histories and grand narrative in Neolithic Anatolia and Southeast Europe (c. 7000 – 5000 BC)


The introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry constitutes a major breakthrough in human history. The first agricultural settlements are found in the Near East and date to the Neolithic period (before c. 8000 BC). In the following millennia, the so-called ‘Neolithic way of life’ spread to Anatolia and Europe. Understanding this process of ‘Neolithization’ has been a key issue in archaeological research for several decades.

Even though more sites and regions are being investigated, the social mechanisms through which agriculture spread are still poorly understood. There are roughly two ways of approaching Neolithization: one is to map the origin and expanding distributions of Neolithic material characteristics such as pottery or domesticated plants and animals. Criticizing this for ignoring the human aspect of these transformations, a contrasting approach has embraced social theory, and has stressed the importance of understanding the development of Neolithic life styles in a local context. These social approaches to Neolithic communities have so far failed to place their local findings in a more general framework, thus not directly aiding to understanding of Neolithization as a larger phenomenon.

At the heart of this study lies the goal of coming to grips with local variability in a supra-regional framework. The different ways in which Neolithic farmers ‘settled down’ in four regions in Anatolia and Southeast Europe in the transformative 7th and 6th millennia BC will be studied from the bottom up by analyzing houses and house life cycles in their settlement context. The ‘micro histories’ of these settlements will provide insights into the habitation strategies of Neolithic communities. By comparing these strategies in multiple regions, we can begin to understand the variety of mechanisms through which new ways of life spread, and present a new interpretation of Neolithization across space and time.

Brief CV

For the full version, click here.

Academic education

2004–2008: VU University Amsterdam, Bachelor’s in Archaeology and Prehistory (cum laude).
2008–2010: VU University Amsterdam, Research Master’s in Ancient Studies (cum laude).
2011-2015: VU University Amsterdam, PhD research.

Archaeological fieldwork

2005-2008: Excavations and survey in the Netherlands and Southern Italy (among others Meeteren-Hondsgemet (HBS), L’Amastuola (KNIR/ACVU), Muro Tenente (KNIR)).

2009-present: Excavations at Barcın Höyük, a Neolithic settlement in Northwest Turkey (research project ‘Early Farming Communities in the Marmara Region’, Dr. Fokke Gerritsen (NIT)).

Ancillary Activities

No ancillary activities