Seshat contributors teach Academy Award winning actor about the origins of religion

In National Geographic’s The Story of God, host Morgan Freeman travels to Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic proto-city settlement in Anatolia, Turkey to investigate whether early farming civilizations believed in God. At the Çatalhöyük site, Freeman interviews two members of the Seshat: Global History Databank team, founding editor and University of Oxford anthropologist Prof. Harvey Whitehouse and expert contributor and University of Oxford archaeologist Prof. Amy Bogaard.”

Dr. Bogaard points out burial pits uncovered under the ancient homes, a crucial ritual practice which allowed residents to share their dwellings with their ancestors. Dr. Whitehouse describes rituals in which ancestor remains are removed and later replaced carefully. “It’s almost as if this isn’t just a domestic dwelling, this is like a kind of living temple,” he tells Freeman.

Freeman concludes that the evidence for community ritual practices in Çatalhöyük is not necessarily evidence for belief in God.

Watch an extended clip of the scene here.



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