Thursday, July 26, 2012

Turkey 18: Catalhoyuk

So far, we have been looking at mostly Roman ruins that date back 2,000 years or so.  Catalhoyuk, the largest and best preserved Neolithic habitation site found so far, dates back to 7500 BCE.   It appears the site was inhabited for roughly 2,000 years.
As one can see, folks lived in mud-brick houses all clustered together back then.  It is thought that the dwellings were roofed with timbers and entered from above.

Many of the dwellings were found to have plastered interior walls with a smooth finish.

Vivid murals and figurines were found through out the settlement.  Look closely and you will see a cow skull still embedded in the wall above.

A close up of the cow skull seen above.

The site consists of two areas, each protected from rain and weather by a covering structure.

Catalhoyuk is located on a mound overlooking wheat fields near the present day city of Konya.

Here, in the second area. We can better see how the dwellings were all crammed together.

The second, larger, area was partially excavated all the way down to untouched strata, which provided archeologists with a way to accurately determine the oldest period of habitation.

The problem with doing that is you destroy or remove everything that happens to lie above.  The act of excavation is actually an act of very deliberate destruction.  I sure take my hat off to archeologists who are able to tell the difference between a mud-brick wall and sediment.

This goddess figurine, now resting safely in the museum, was found at the site, as was the cow sculpture seen below.  Based upon figurines like this one, it was thought for a while that the people lived here in a matriarchal society, but that has since been disproven. 

Catalhoyuk is not the only evidence of very ancient settlements in this area.  Numerous other sites also exist, which suggests that, contrary to what some people have suggested, a lot more than simple hunting and gathering was going on back in 7500BCE.

Continue on to Post 19: Kaymakli Underground City, by clicking here.


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