Decisive challenges of the Neolithic way of life were increasing size and densities of social communities. Excavations at the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Ba`ja, in the Greater Petra Area, since 1997 make this site an excellent archive for studying these social processes. New investigations within the framework of the Ba`ja “Household and Death” Project revealed unexpected evidence for increasing social differentiation and indicate close relationships of living and dead, creating strong but also demanding collective memories.
Marion Benz was assistant and research member at the University of Freiburg. She led a scientific project for archeobiological studies at Körtik Tepe between 2009 and 2015 in cooperation with Kurt Alt and Vecihi Özkaya. In 2016 she started to work at Ba`ja and since 2018 co-directs with Hans Georg K. Gebel and Christoph Purschwitz the new "Household and Death Project". She is co-editor of Neo-Lithics Newsletter and in 2020 she was elected first chair of ex oriente e.V.
Hans Georg K. Gebel is probably known to most of you as the first chair of ex oriente e.V., editor-in-chief of NEO-LITHICS Newsletter, the SENEPSE and bibliotheca series and as the excavator of Basta and Qulban Beni Murra and above all - as the director of excavations at Ba`ja since 1997. In 2016, he initiated a new Project at Ba`ja, first as a pilot study, and together with Marion Benz and Christoph Purschwitz he started the new Project "Household and Death in Ba`ja" hosted at the Free University of Berlin and financed by the German research foundation since 2018.
Christoph Purschwitz has worked at Ba`ja since more than 15 years and knows the Petra Area possibly better than Berlin :). He wrote his PhD The Lithic Economy of Flint during the Early Neolithic of the Greater Petra Region. He also participated in other projects in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Armenia and Saudi Arabia. He is co-director of the "Household and Death in Ba`ja" Project.