TRAVELING MUSEUM EXHIBITION:
A Meaningful Subject and Cultures Never Shown Before
Recent Advances in Archaeology and Genetics
Tell an Epic Story.
Sophisticated monumental societies,
their complex artforms, ideology and world-changing innovation are waiting to be showcased.
We haven’t been taught much about the “Neolithic Revolution” in school because too little was known, and –- well, The Flintstones aside, it wasn’t terribly compelling. Representation of the Stone Age in most of the world’s museums is sparse. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Bronze Age Greece is about as far back as anyone has gone in any depth. Yet the millennia immediately preceding those eras encompass humankind’s most pivotal developments and the true genesis of civilization.
Through invention, advancement and migration, traditions born in prehistory have come to impact the entire planet today.
The next generation of managers and decision-makers will face enormous issues and very hard choices about land use, values and life-style. Providing them a better understanding of how we got to be where we are today is imperative. Presenting it in a way that is simple, relatable and engaging is the goal of this exhibition.
The OTS Foundation has prepared a concept that features multi-disciplinary research that has taken many years to collect. We have been working with archaeologists, anthropologists, architects and historians since 1994. We also bring a long-term relationship with the Mediterranean island of Malta, which is home to the world’s oldest freestanding buildings. Malta’s rich collection of remains from the Stone Age provide the most complete scenario of the period that has been discovered to date. Its “Temple Culture” brings a human element to the story and connects a nearly unfathomable past with more familiar antiquity.
OTSF has also helped pioneer the emerging science of Archaeoacoustics: the human experience of sound in ancient ceremonial and ritual spaces. Three international conferences and on-site research in Malta and Turkey have provided the framework for creating an exciting element for this exhibition. We are interested in creating an emersive environment for the visitor, complete with original sound recorded in the Stone Age monuments of Malta’s Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and Turkey’s Göbekli Tepe site. On either side of a timeline that includes Çatalhöyük, these two monumental sites are the cornerstones of the exhibit.
The Göbekli Tepe site in what is now Southeastern Turkey is the motherlode for the study of ancient beginnings. Ongoing excavations that began in 1995 sent shock waves through archaeology circles. These limestone shrines with their carved columns and weird iconography have survived 10,000 years only because they were carefully filled and buried at the end of their use.
Turkey’s vast media conglomerate has launched a mission to preserve and promote this site. “Göbekli Tepe is our zero point in time,” Doğuş Group chairman Ferit F. Şahenk said in a press release. (https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/150120-gobekli-tepe-oldest-monument-turkey-archaeology)
Göbekli Tepe could carry an exhibition of its own. It is certainly worthy, but it can be difficult for a modern visitor to relate to its abstractions and primal artforms. The local Şanliurfa Museum of Archaeology, nevertheless, has done an inspiring job of presenting its artifacts and interpreting the structures, to the point of installing a magnificent full-size replica of one of the shrines.
Also in Turkey, lie the remains of Çatalhöyük, excavation of which has revealed much about the "Neolithic Revolution" in lifestyle. This settlement area was formed several millennia after the closing of Göbekli Tepe , and vividly illustrates the progression of ideology.
It is our belief that presenting a single culture in isolation, which has been the traditional way of doing things, blocks the thread of continuity that is an essential component of this story. Expanding the scope of the concept to encompass a time period lets us use elements of multiple sites and collections to create a complete narrative that is relevant to the visitor. High tech and the archaeoacoustics elements give us tools to make it an exceptional multi-sensory experience.
As for mechanics, in addition to original sound recordings, The OTS Foundation has a collection of museum-quality replicas from Malta. Original artifacts may be possible, although the expensive elements of insurance and security must be considered. (Resources might be better spent on creating the experience.)
For walk-in environment/s, replicating megaliths is not difficult. The illustrated samples were created by one person in a home studio, the tallest being 10 feet high. Large scale printing has made wall-sized high resolution images an affordable option.
Several companies offer wonderful options for development of high tech augmentation including touch tables, special projection, mixed-reality and virtual reality experiences. These bring the message where it needs to be delivered in an absorbing way that can be called “edu-tainment”.
A tour of museums and appropriate venues in North America is the initial target. The fabrication of duplicate exhibitions for Europe and Asia is worth thinking about. Appropriate presenting partners for this initiative are now being sourced.
All proceeds from this non-profit exhibition will be dedicated to conservation and heritage preservation of Göbekli Tepe.
Let us hear from you if you are interested!