Our project sets as its overarching goal the investigation of microhistories of technological change in the eastern Kopet Dag foothills of southern Turkmenistan in Neolithic and Aeneolithic times. By technology we refer to the ways in which knowledge, both discursive or explicit and embodied or practical, is brought to bear through practices and gestures on materials and objects (Ingold 1987: 31). By focusing on small spatial and social scales, for example individual residences or work areas within a settlement, we aim to track the differential implementations of new technologies, such as high-fired pottery, copper working, and thread spinning, as well as their social and economic implications. By studying small-scale changes over time, our goal is to be able to document technologies that were lost over the years as different ones were implemented. Finally, we wish to examine the implications of technological changes for socioeconomic differentiation among the inhabitants of the Meana-Chaacha region in Neolithic and Aeneolithic times.
We chose the small site of Monjukli Depe as a focus for our work for a number of reasons. From earlier excavations carried out by A. Marushchenko and O. Berdiev, the site was known to have both Jeitun (Neolithic) and Anau IA (early Aeneolithic) occupations. Furthermore, it was reported to be one of the very few known sites to potentially have a direct continuity from Late Jeitun to Anau IA times. The extensive plan of architecture from the latest Anau IA level at the site, exposed and published by Berdiev (1972), made it possible for us to target specific architectural units and potential outdoor areas for excavation.