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The principal aim for the 1993 and 1994 seasons is to obtain information from surface work which, on the one hand, will yield results, significant in their own right, concerning surface and subsurface distributions of artefacts and architecture and, on the other, will in future provide guidance for a long term programme of excavation at the site commencing in 1995.
Our work in 1993 has now made it clear that the main mound consists of three distinct eminences: a large southern one, which rises 15 m above the surrounding modem plain and whose western flank was the site of the 1960s excavations, a smaller northern one, rising 9 m above the plain, and a wide, low eastern one, 5 m above the plain. These three eminences are not separate mounds, as considerable depths of cultural deposits lie in the lower areas between peaks thus joining the three eminences into one main mound.
The area of this main mound has now been established as 14 hectares.
In all, a total of 242 squares, each measuring 2 by 2 m, were collected at Çatalhöyük in 1993. This represents a total area of 968 m2, or approximately 0.7% of the total surface area of the main mound if calculated at 14 hectares.
Despite Catal Hoyuk being a highly organised city, it is not known whether a central system of management existed. It is interesting to note that not one single private or central place of worship has yet been found. Nor is there a fortress or any semblance of a city wall. Instead, the houses were erected adjoining one another. The walls facing the outside of the houses are without windows or doors, which may have provided the necessary protection.
The finding of thick layers of dung within the settlement indicates that animals were kept within the settlement. Dung from within buildings, including on otherwise clean floors in 'shrines', indicates that at least young animals were brought into buildings.
A very wide range of plant resources was in use. The significant presence of pea, lentil and tubers correlates with initial results from tooth-wear studies which indicate a heavy reliance on non-cereal plants.
The people of Çatalhöyük buried their dead within the village. Human remains have been found in pits beneath the floors, and especially beneath hearths, the platforms within the main rooms and under the beds. The bodies were tightly flexed before burial, and were often placed in baskets or wrapped in reed mats. Disarticulated bones in some graves suggest that bodies may have been exposed in the open air for a time before the bones were gathered and buried. In some cases, graves were disturbed and the individual’s head removed from the skeleton.
A small hearth was constructed by the north-western platform which was itself used for processing or depositing small fish. A cattle bone was set into the southern wall. Burials continued under the platforms and by the end of the use of the buildings over 37 people, mostly children and juveniles, had been buried beneath the floors. There were few grave goods except necklaces and pendants. Older individuals were buried to the east of the room, younger to the west.
During the 1997 season 52 figurines were found, a few of which had been excavated in 1996 but retrieved from heavy residue this year. The majority were fragmentary, and most were parts of humanoid or animal figures. However, several complete or almost complete figures were found, as well as a number of fragments of considerable interest. Almost all the pieces found this year were made of clay, the majority of them lightly baked, a few were of plaster.
Professor Lynn Meskell explained that while the original excavations had found only 200 figures, the new excavations had uncovered 2000 figurines of which most were animals, with less than 5% of the figurines women.
The people appear to have lived relatively egalitarian lives with no apparent social classes, as no houses with distinctive features (belonging to royalty or religious hierarchy, for example) have been found so far.
These seals are made of baked clay and bear incised ornaments with many different shapes apart from the classical shapes known from other Levant & S.E European Neolithic stamp seals.
In 1996 a bracelet of 44 dentalium shell beads was found around the arm of skeleton 1924 and two pendants - one of bone and one of stone - were found below the chin of the same skeleton. During 1997 six further items were recovered from heavy residue left unsorted last year - two more dentalium beads; three stone beads, all of different colour and type and another bone pendant. This was clearly the other half of the one found last year, which had been broken and then reworked.
The entrances to the attached buildings were via the ceilings. This style of architecture can still be found in the eastern provinces of Turkey. Despite being very close in proximity to one another, the houses display separate walls with a small gap between them. The walls were built with sun-dried mud bricks supported by wooden beams. This technique is called "himis" and is still utilised in certain areas of Anatolia. The small doorways in the houses are thought to have been for small domestic animals to get in and out. The inhabitants of Catal Hoyuk used the flat roof tops as a means of getting from one dwelling to another. The roofs were made from clay, wood and reeds and measured approximately 60 centimetres in width. The roof tops were a convenient place to carry out daily activities as the interiors of the houses had poor light and ventilation.
There is an 'oven' in the south wall near what was probably the ladder entrance from the roof, and a hearth near the oven. An obsidian cache occurred by this hearth. A main platform occurred in the centre of the east wall, with benches on its north and south sides. Along the north wall a step occurred and the main platform was in the northwest corner surrounded in red paint. In the centre of the west wall there were traces of sculpture within a well-defined panel. Nearby, a later collapsed 'arch' may have been in place from this phase. Burials began under the north and east platforms.
In all the homes the religious paintings and statues have the heads of animals with horns. Some houses have peculiar differences to them; for example, small areas found are considered to be areas of worship. According to current thinking, when an important member of a house died, the house was emptied and closed.
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools without crystal growth.
Originally posted by bvproductions
Fantastic post! Thank you so much for your efforts to bring us this information.
Star and flag for me.
The first image of the figurine you posted bears a strong resemblance to the Venus of Willendorf - en.wikipedia.org...
main epiphany of the Goddess as Giver-of-all, including life and death, happiness, and wealth; alias Fate. Waterfowl (duck, goose, swan) bring happiness, wealth, nourishment; birds of prey (vulture, owl, raven, crow) are omens of death and epiphanies of the Death Wielder; prophetic birds (cuckoo, owl) prophesy spring, marriage, and death; birds of the soul (dove, cuckoo, and other small birds) are seats of the souls of the human dead.
(Gimbutas 1989, glossary entry for Bird, page 322)