Skip to comments.A Journey To 9,000 Years Ago (Çatalhöyük)
Posted on 01/17/2008 4:06:53 PM PST by blam
A journey to 9,000 years ago
Thursday, January 17, 2008
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Çatalhöyük Research Project Director Ian Hodder says goddess icons do not, contrary to assumptions, point to a matriarchal society in Çatalhöyük. Findings in Çatalhöyük show that men and women had equal social status. According to Hodder, who also has been following the Göbeklitepe excavations in Şanlıurfa, meticulous archaeological excavation in southeastern Anatolia can change all scientific archaeological assumptions
Clues as to when mankind really began living in urban patterns lie in the Neolithic layers of Çatalhöyük. Çatalhöyük is within the borders of Cumra district in the central Anatolian city of Konya and is only 10 kilometers away from the district. The discovery of Çatalhöyük by English researcher James Mellart in the beginning of the 1950s had vast repercussions for the scientific world. Mellart was trying to prove that the oldest agricultural towns were located not only in the eastern Mediterranean but also in central Anatolia when he ran into a big surprise. As a result of research conducted, Çatalhöyük was discovered to feature a permanent settlement pattern thousands of years ago. The surprise also raised many questions: Why were all the buildings attached? Why were the people able to enter their houses only through the roof?
As Mellart continued his research until 1965, many layers were discovered. But from then on research stopped until 1993. That was when a protégé of Mellart, Professor Ian Hodder from the University of London resumed excavation work researching the most important layers of the ancient city using different techniques and methods.
While on a short visit to Turkey Hodder spoke to the Turkish Daily News about the recent findings and excavations in Çatalhöyük. Hodder said the male icons found during the excavations negate the belief that Çatalhöyük was a matriarchal society. According to Hodder, pointing to the symbolic ties between Hittites and Çatalhöyük, possible excavations in southeastern Anatolia would shake scientific archaeological assumptions.
Research into Çatalhöyük's DNA
When I was a student, Professor Mellart used to tell us about working in Çatalhöyük. It was legendary to me. Working in Çatalhöyük was my dream, said Hodder and added that Mellart's basic findings are essential. Yet, Hodder and his team make use of technology.
We are analyzing DNA. We check bones and teeth to find out about their eating habits in those days, said Hodder adding that such research is very detailed and it takes a long time to acquire scientific data.
Hodder thinks that archaeology is like forensic medicine as it makes use of various methods from natural and positive sciences to answer questions like Why are residential areas so large? Why did people choose to live collectively? Why did they use the roofs and ladders to enter the houses? and Why did they have burial sites on the ground floor of their houses?
Çatalhöyük's societal life and relations with its neighbors are the most important parts of our research. With this research, we are aiming to shed light on the ways of settling which took place 9,000 years ago.
Hodder said findings point to ties between Çatalhöyük, Hittites and other ancient civilizations of Anatolia, since bulls and strong women icons in Çatalhöyük also carry great symbolic importance in Hittite culture.
Hodder said Çatalhöyük has come to be identified with the icon of a goddess, adding, Mellart drew public attention to the female icon he found during excavation. Therefore, Çatalhöyük came to be identified with the goddess. Female icons, male icons and phallus symbols were found during excavation. When we look at what they eat and drink and at their social statues, we see that men and women had the same social status. There was a balance of power. Another example is the skulls found. If one's social status was of high importance in Çatalhöyük, the body and head were separated after death. The number of female and male skulls found during the excavations is almost equal.
18 mysterious layers of Çatalhöyük
A total of 18 layers have been excavated in Çatalhöyük thus far. Research shows that cattle were not domesticated on the lowest layers. Domestication exists on upper layers. Symbolism lessens on upper layers. Buildings are constructed more suited for production. The difference between the layers is huge, said Hodder.
Hodder said among the 18 layers, the fifth, sixth and seventh layers are the most important ones, as early art and burial sites are observed the most in these layers. According to Hodder, Çatalhöyük people are devoted very much to their ancestors.
Leading the excavations for 14 years now, Hodder aims to make it 25 years looking for an answer to symbols and permanent settling. Hodder plans to open a Çatalhöyük Museum with support from Konya Metropolitan Municipality. Hodder said Çatalhöyük is an obligatory part of the school activity curriculum in California and every year more than 600 foreign and local children visit the excavations in groups of 20.
Hodder said this year excavations in Çatalhöyük yielded bear patterned friezes and Anatolia is one of the world's richest archaeological sites, adding, Anatolia has great importance when it comes to the spread of culture throughout the world. Findings show that agriculture, settlements, crockery production and various figures spread through Europe from Anatolia.
The secret of the world lies in southeastern Anatolia
Southeastern Turkey has great archaeological importance. If comprehensive excavations are conducted, we may come across findings that will shock the scientific world. We can even obtain data that would rewrite the science of archaeology. As a matter of fact, excavations in the 11,500 year-old Neolithic residential areas of Göbeklitepe, which lies 15 kilometers northeast of Şanlıurfa, radically changed our knowledge.
Before the Göbeklitepe excavations it was widely believed that the area stretching from east Mediterranean Lebanon to Jordan experienced an agricultural revolution, said Hodder. Yet, the Göbeklitepe excavations tore this argument to shreds. Hodder said the agricultural revolution began much earlier in southeastern Anatolia, and recent findings show that the transition to an agricultural society began in more than just one place.
Hodder said the male icon and headless bird icon found in Göbeklitepe share similarities with those found in Çatalhöyük. Unlike Çatalhöyük, male symbolism is more prominent in Göbeklitepe. Male sexual organs were drawn on animal icons found in Göbeklitepe, which leads to the complete disposal of the idea that agriculture is related to female and goddess images, said Hodder.
No, don’t recall.
A building with no ground-floor entry turns into a decent fortress. It's easier to build one great-hall than to build internal walls (or maybe the internal walls were made of something that rotted away since then)
Gimbutas? I’m not sure she was involved in the dig, but she did author a book about this, championing the goddess angle. Catal Huyuk appears to have had a wide variety of different cults, or perhaps had basically secular art objects that have been interpreted (as so many prehistoric survivals have been) as cult objects. :’)
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The ancient Greeks had goddesses. Hard to call them a matriarchy just because of that, though.
Sometimes I wonder how much of archaeological interpretation is just fantasy and wish it were?
A Weaver’s View of the Catal Huyuk Controversy
Marla Mallett: Textiles | August/September 1990 | Marla Mallett
Posted on 08/25/2006 3:32:24 AM EDT by SunkenCiv
Like trying to reconstruction of a life based on the possession of a femur bone.
Yeah. Like when objects claimed to be images of goddesses coexist with phallic symbols. Must be evidence of equal rights and universal suffrage or whatever is popular in the social indoc.
I just wish that science would do science and knock off the fantasy, sometimes.
In many cases, the evidence is so skimpy that they have to make up background stories to make it worthwhile for them to continue to work. It is sobering to think how nature works to smother evidence of human life. Still there is some trace, whereas animals generally leave only their bones.
Human nature I guess. I don’t doubt I’d do much the same in similar circumstances.
Archeology is fascinating. I just always end up wondering how much of it is real, how much made up.
How much of human knowledge is made up, soothing stories to mask a profound ignorance.
That's a very good question.
There it is. Yep.
Yeah, it’s political in origin, and anachronistic. Not to mention kinda dopey. :’) The nice part is, the number of such titles is definitely in decline; that kind of screed (okay, now I’ve used that term twice in a half hour, geez) is now channelled into Bush-hatred, America-hatred, pro-Moslem, pro-fake-diversity, pro-fake-revolution, etc. And of course the sociologists and anthropologists who had been pushing that all died because Bush and Rove and Cheney increased funding for giving women breast cancer.