Last Updated:

01/12/2017 - 13:56

Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Somel has been awarded the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant, Europe's most prestigious scientific support program

NEOGENE, the only scientific project of Turkey that received ERC fund this year, will explore the emergence and spreading adventure of the Neolithic lifestyle.

The proposal submitted to the “ERC Consolidator Grant 2017” call by Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Somel from the Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Science of METU has been accepted for funding. The five year project of Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Somel entitled “NEOGENE: Archaeogenomic Analysis of Genetic and Cultural Interactions in Neolithic Anatolian Societies” is the only one from Turkey to be funded amongst the 329 proposals awarded grants across Europe under the “ERC Consolidator Grant 2017” call.

Archaeologists, biologists and anthropologists work in close partnership in the project conducted by Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Somel from the METU Department of Biological Sciences. NEOGENE team hopes to reveal the contribution of human migration and information exchange and cultural interaction to the spread of sedentary life and agriculture in Anatolia by using DNA analyzes and archaeological data together. The primary goal is to understand the true story of one of the most important milestones in human history.

In the project NEOGENE, Mehmet Somel and his team studies the evolution of mobile hunter-gatherer societies into sedentary village farmers through an investigation of their gene flows as well as their traditions, social organization and patterns of cultural exchange. The project will analyse ancient DNA from hundreds of Anatolian Neolithic individuals and integrate this genetic data with archaeological data, with the aim of understanding one of the most significant sociocultural transformations in human history at unprecedented detail.  The work involves a wide team including researchers from METU Biological Sciences, METU TAÇDAM, Hacettepe Anthropology and many excavation teams including Çatalhöyük, Aşıklı Höyük and Çayönü.