CATAL HUYUK HISTORY PDF

Enjoy the Famous Daily A complete Neolithic town Catal Huyuk, in Anatolia, is the best example of an early neolithic town where the transition to a fully settled existence has been satisfactorily achieved. Food is produced by agriculture, with the cultivation of wheat and barley, and by the breeding of cattle. In addition to meat and milk, the cattle provide transport as beasts of burden. A surplus of food enables specialist crafts to develop. The community uses pottery and woven textiles. Only a fraction of the site has been excavated, but it is known to be in continuous occupation from about to BC.

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Mellaart, the original excavator, argued that these well-formed, carefully made figurines, carved and molded from marble, blue and brown limestone, schist, calcite, basalt, alabaster, and clay, represented a female deity. These artfully-hewn figurines were found primarily in areas Mellaart believed to be shrines. The stately goddess seated on a throne flanked by two lionesses illustration was found in a grain bin, which Mellaart suggests might have been a means of ensuring the harvest or protecting the food supply.

Whereas Mellaart excavated nearly two hundred buildings in four seasons, the current excavator, Ian Hodder, spent an entire season excavating one building alone. They found one similar figurine, but the vast majority did not imitate the Mother Goddess style that Mellaart suggested. Instead of a Mother Goddess culture, Hodder points out that the site gives little indication of a matriarchy or patriarchy. There are full breasts on which the hands rest, and the stomach is extended in the central part.

There is a hole in the top for the head which is missing. As one turns the figurine around one notices that the arms are very thin, and then on the back of the figurine one sees a depiction of either a skeleton or the bones of a very thin and depleted human.

The ribs and vertebrae are clear, as are the scapulae and the main pelvic bones. The figurine can be interpreted in a number of ways - as a woman turning into an ancestor, as a woman associated with death, or as death and life conjoined. It is possible that the lines around the body represent wrapping rather than ribs. Perhaps the importance of female imagery was related to some special role of the female in relation to death as much as to the roles of mother and nurturer.

There was a balance of power. Another example is the skulls found. The number of female and male skulls found during the excavations is almost equal. Sir James Mellaart who excavated the site in the s came up with all sorts of ideas about the way the site was organized and how it was lived in and so on But our work more recently has tended to show that in fact there is very little evidence of a mother goddess and very little evidence of some sort of female-based matriarchy.

He implied that perhaps a longer period of time was needed in order to develop symbols for agricultural rites. The most recent investigations also reveal little social distinction based on gender, with men and women receiving equivalent nutrition and seeming to have equal social status, as typically found in Paleolithic cultures.

They learned how to perform rituals and how to build or repair houses by watching the adults make statues, beads and other objects. It can be seen, in the layout, that the people were "divided into two groups who lived on opposite sides of the town, separated by a gully. Female figurines have been found within bins used for storage of cereals , such as wheat and barley , and the figurines are presumed to be of a deity protecting the grain.

Peas were also grown, and almonds , pistachios , and fruit were harvested from trees in the surrounding hills. Sheep were domesticated and evidence suggests the beginning of cattle domestication as well.

However, hunting continued to be a major source of food for the community. Pottery and obsidian tools appear to have been major industries; obsidian tools were probably both used and also traded for items such as Mediterranean sea shells and flint from Syria.

There is also evidence that the settlement was the first place in the world to mine and smelt metal in the form of lead. Private property existed but shared tools also existed.

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History of the Excavations

Mellaart, the original excavator, argued that these well-formed, carefully made figurines, carved and molded from marble, blue and brown limestone, schist, calcite, basalt, alabaster, and clay, represented a female deity. These artfully-hewn figurines were found primarily in areas Mellaart believed to be shrines. The stately goddess seated on a throne flanked by two lionesses illustration was found in a grain bin, which Mellaart suggests might have been a means of ensuring the harvest or protecting the food supply. Whereas Mellaart excavated nearly two hundred buildings in four seasons, the current excavator, Ian Hodder, spent an entire season excavating one building alone. They found one similar figurine, but the vast majority did not imitate the Mother Goddess style that Mellaart suggested. Instead of a Mother Goddess culture, Hodder points out that the site gives little indication of a matriarchy or patriarchy.

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Catal Huyuk: Definition, Facts & History

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