Çatalhöyük (Turkish pronunciation: [tʃaˈtaɫhœjyc]; also Çatal Höyük and Çatal Hüyük; from Turkish çatal "fork" + höyük "tumulus") was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC.[1] In July 2012, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[2]

Çatalhöyük is located overlooking the Konya Plain, southeast of the present-day city of Konya (ancient Iconium) in Turkey, approximately 140 km (87 mi) from the twin-coned volcano of Mount Hasan. The eastern settlement forms a mound which would have risen about 20 m (66 ft) above the plain at the time of the latest Neolithic occupation. There is also a smaller settlement mound to the west and a Byzantine settlement a few hundred meters to the east. The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age. A channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between the two mounds, and the settlement was built on alluvial clay which may have been favorable for early agriculture.

Çatalhöyük after the first excavations by James Mellaart and his team.
Çatalhöyük after the first excavations
Çatalhöyük is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationKüçükköy, Konya Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°40′00″N 32°49′41″E / 37.66667°N 32.82806°ECoordinates: 37°40′00″N 32°49′41″E / 37.66667°N 32.82806°E
FoundedApproximately 7500 BC
AbandonedApproximately 5700 BC
PeriodsNeolithic to Chalcolithic
Official nameNeolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
Criteriaiii, iv
Designated2012 (36th session)
Reference no.1405
State PartyTurkey
RegionEurope and North America


The site was first excavated by James Mellaart in 1958. He later led a team which further excavated there for four seasons between 1961 and 1965.[3][4][5][6] These excavations revealed this section of Anatolia as a centre of advanced culture in the Neolithic period.[7] Excavation revealed 18 successive layers of buildings signifying various stages of the settlement and eras of history. The bottom layer of buildings can be dated as early as 7100 BC while the top layer is of 5600 BC.[8]

Mellaart was banned from Turkey for his involvement in the Dorak affair in which he published drawings of supposedly important Bronze Age artifacts that later went missing.[9] After this scandal, the site lay idle until 1993, when investigations began under the leadership of Ian Hodder, then at the University of Cambridge.[10][11][12][13][14] These investigations are among the most ambitious excavation projects currently in progress according to archaeologist Colin Renfrew, among others. In addition to extensive use of archaeological science, psychological and artistic interpretations of the symbolism of the wall paintings have been employed. Hodder, a former student of Mellaart, chose the site as the first "real world" test of his then-controversial theory of post-processual archaeology.[15] The site has always had a strong research emphasis upon engagement with digital methodologies, driven by the project's experimental and reflexive methodological framework.[16] Sponsors and collaborators of the current dig include Yapi Kredi, Boeing, University of York, Selçuk University, British Institute at Ankara, Cardiff University, Stanford University, Turkish Cultural Foundation, and University at Buffalo.[17]


Catal Hüyük Restoration B
On-site restoration of a typical interior
Catal Hüyük EL
On-site restoration of a typical interior
Çatalhöyük excavations .
The earliest excavations of the site
Çatalhöyük trench
Deep trenches in the site
Çatalhöyük 2006 IMG 2225 (207467760)
view of southern part of the site

Çatalhöyük was composed entirely of domestic buildings, with no obvious public buildings. While some of the larger ones have rather ornate murals, the purpose of some rooms remains unclear.[7]

The population of the eastern mound has been estimated to be, at maximum, 10,000 people, but the population likely varied over the community’s history. An average population of between 5,000 and 7,000 is a reasonable estimate. The sites were set up as large numbers of buildings clustered together. Households looked to their neighbors for help, trade, and possible marriage for their children.[18] The inhabitants lived in mudbrick houses that were crammed together in an aggregate structure. No footpaths or streets were used between the dwellings, which were clustered in a honeycomb-like maze. Most were accessed by holes in the ceiling and doors on the side of the houses, with doors reached by ladders and stairs. The rooftops were effectively streets. The ceiling openings also served as the only source of ventilation, allowing smoke from the houses' open hearths and ovens to escape. Houses had plaster interiors characterized by squared-off timber ladders or steep stairs. These were usually on the south wall of the room, as were cooking hearths and ovens. The main rooms contained raised platforms that may have been used for a range of domestic activities. Typical houses contained two rooms for everyday activity, such as cooking and crafting.[18] All interior walls and platforms were plastered to a smooth finish.[7] Ancillary rooms were used as storage, and were accessed through low openings from main rooms.

All rooms were kept scrupulously clean. Archaeologists identified very little rubbish in the buildings, finding middens outside the ruins, with sewage and food waste, as well as significant amounts of wood ash. In good weather, many daily activities may also have taken place on the rooftops, which may have formed a plaza. In later periods, large communal ovens appear to have been built on these rooftops. Over time, houses were renewed by partial demolition and rebuilding on a foundation of rubble, which was how the mound was gradually built up. As many as eighteen levels of settlement have been uncovered.

As a part of ritual life, the people of Çatalhöyük buried their dead within the village.[18] Human remains have been found in pits beneath the floors and, especially, beneath hearths, the platforms within the main rooms, and under beds. Bodies were tightly flexed before burial and were often placed in baskets or wound and 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. These heads may have been used in rituals, as some were found in other areas of the community. In a woman's grave spinning whorls were recovered and in a man's grave, stone axes.[18] Some skulls were plastered and painted with ochre to recreate faces, a custom more characteristic of Neolithic sites in Syria and at Neolithic Jericho than at sites closer by.

Vivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement, on interior and exterior walls. Distinctive clay figurines of women, notably the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük, have been found in the upper levels of the site.[19] Although no identifiable temples have been found, the graves, murals, and figurines suggest that the people of Çatalhöyük had a religion rich in symbols. Rooms with concentrations of these items may have been shrines or public meeting areas. Predominant images include men with erect phalluses, hunting scenes, red images of the now extinct aurochs (wild cattle) and stags, and vultures swooping down on headless figures.[7] Relief figures are carved on walls, such as of lionesses facing one another.

Heads of animals, especially of cattle, were mounted on walls. A painting of the village, with the twin mountain peaks of Hasan Dağ in the background,[20] is frequently cited as the world's oldest map,[21] and the first landscape painting.[7] However, some archaeologists question this interpretation. Stephanie Meece, for example, argues that it is more likely a painting of a leopard skin instead of a volcano, and a decorative geometric design instead of a map.[22]

Catal Hüyük 10

Excavations at the southern area of the site

Catal Hüyük 13

Excavations at the southern area of the site

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations016

The earliest known textile fragments. They may be fabrics used to wrap the dead. They are carbonized in a fire and radiocarbon dated to c. 6000 BC.[23]

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations011

Images of deities

Catal Hüyük, bull heads

Aurochs' heads

Çatalhöyük view 5

Aurochs' heads

Ankara Muzeum B20-10

Mother Goddess from Çatalhöyük (Turkey), neolithic age (about 5500-6000 BC), today in Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara

Twin goddess, marble statuette, Çatalhöyük, 6000-5500 BC, MACA, 99031

Twin goddess. Marble statuette, height 17.2 cm, from Çatalhöyük, 6000-5500 BC. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.

Stamp seal, Çatalhöyük (?) 6000-5500 BC, MACA, 99035

Stamp seal, small terracotta. Çatalhöyük, 6000-5500 BC. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.

Obsidian mirrors, Çatalhöyük, 6000-5500 BC, MACA, 99034

Obsidian mirrors. Çatalhöyük, 6000-5500 BC. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.


Mural from Çatalhöyük excavated by James Mellaart showing neolithic hunters attacking an aurochs (Bos primigenius).
Neolithic hunters attacking an auroch, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Detail of the mural showing the hind part of the aurochs, a deer and hunters.
Detail of the mural showing the hind part of the aurochs, a deer and hunters
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations 1320259 nevit
Seated goddess flanked by two felines, lionesses

A striking feature of Çatalhöyük are its female figurines. 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. Although a male deity existed as well, "statues of a female deity far outnumber those of the male deity, who moreover, does not appear to be represented at all after Level VI".[24] To date, eighteen levels have been identified. 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.[25] In later cultures, similar depictions are seen of Cybele, a mountain goddess.

Whereas Mellaart excavated nearly two hundred buildings in four seasons, the current excavator, Ian Hodder, spent an entire season excavating one building alone.[26] Hodder and his team, in 2004 and 2005, began to believe that the patterns suggested by Mellaart were false. 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. Whatever the specific interpretation, this is a unique piece that may force us to change our views of the nature of Çatalhöyük society and imagery. 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.[27]

In an article in the Turkish Daily News, Hodder is reported as denying that Çatalhöyük was a matriarchal society and quoted as saying "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."[28] In another article in the Hurriyet Daily News Hodder is reported to say "We have learned that men and women were equally approached".[29]

In a report in September 2009 on the discovery of around 2000 figurines Hodder is quoted as saying:

Çatalhöyük was excavated in the 1960s in a methodical way, but not using the full range of natural science techniques that are available to us today. Sir James Mellaart who excavated the site in the 1960s came up with all sorts of ideas about the way the site was organized and how it was lived in and so on ... We’ve now started working there since the mid 1990s and come up with very different ideas about the site. One of the most obvious examples of that is that Çatalhöyük is perhaps best known for the idea of the mother goddess. 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. That’s just one of the many myths that the modern scientific work is undermining.[30]

Professor Lynn Meskell explained that while the original excavations had found only 200 figures, the new excavations had uncovered 2,000 figurines of which most were animals, with less than 5% of the figurines women.[30]

Estonian folklorist Uku Masing has suggested as early as in 1976, that Çatalhöyük was probably a hunting and gathering religion and the Mother Goddess figurine did not represent a female deity. He implied that perhaps a longer period of time was needed in order to develop symbols for agricultural rites.[31] His theory was developed in the paper "Some remarks on the mythology of the people of Catal Hüyük".[32]


Çatalhöyük has strong evidence of an egalitarian society, as no houses with distinctive features (belonging to royalty or religious hierarchy, for example) have been found so far. 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.[33][34] Children observed domestic areas. They learned how to perform rituals and how to build or repair houses by watching the adults make statues, beads and other objects.[18] Çatalhöyük's spatial layout may be due to the close kin relations exhibited amongst the people. 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." Furthermore, because no nearby towns were found from which marriage partners could be drawn, "this spatial separation must have marked two intermarrying kinship groups." This would help explain how a settlement so early on would become so large.[35]

In upper levels of the site, it becomes apparent that the people of Çatalhöyük were gaining skills in agriculture and the domestication of animals. 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. Noting the lack of hierarchy and economic inequality, historian Murray Bookchin has argued that Çatalhöyük was an early example of anarcho-communism.[36]

See also


  1. ^ Langer, William L., ed. (1972). An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-395-13592-1.
  2. ^ [1] Çatalhöyük entry on the UNESCO World Heritage List site
  3. ^ J. Mellaart, Excavations at Çatal Hüyük, first preliminary report: 1961. Anatolian Studies, vol. 12, pp. 41–65, 1962
  4. ^ J. Mellaart, Excavations at Çatal Hüyük, second preliminary report: 1962. Anatolian Studies, vol. 13, pp. 43–103, 1963
  5. ^ J. Mellaart, Excavations at Çatal Hüyük, third preliminary report: 1963. Anatolian Studies, vol. 14, pp. 39–119, 1964
  6. ^ J. Mellaart, Excavations at Çatal Hüyük, fourth preliminary report: at 1965. Anatolian Studies, vol. 16, pp. 15–191, 1966
  7. ^ a b c d e Kleiner, Fred S.; Mamiya, Christin J. (2006). Gardner's Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective: Volume 1 (Twelfth ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing. pp. 12–4. ISBN 978-0-495-00479-0.
  8. ^ [2] David Orton et al, A tale of two tells: dating the Çatalhöyük West Mound, Antiquity, vol. 92, iss. 363, pp. 620-639, June 2018
  9. ^ Kenneth Pearson and Patricia Connor, The Dorak affair, New York, Atheneum, 1968
  10. ^ I. Hodder, Çatalhöyük, Anatolian Archaeology, vol. 4, pp. 8–10, 1998
  11. ^ I. Hodder, Getting to the Bottom of Thing: Çatalhöyük 1999, Anatolian Archaeology, vol. 5, pp. 4–7, 1999
  12. ^ I. Hodder, Çatalhöyük, Anatolian Archaeology, vol. 8, pp. 5–7, 2002
  13. ^ I. Hodder, A New Phase of Excavation at Çatalhöyük, Anatolian Archaeology, vol. 9, pp. 9–11, 2003
  14. ^ [3] Çatalhöyük: Excavations of a Neolithic Anatolian Höyük - Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2008
  15. ^ Morgan, Colleen; University (2016). "Analog to Digital: Transitions in Theory and Practice in Archaeological Photography at Çatalhöyük". Internet Archaeology (42). doi:10.11141/ia.42.7.
  16. ^ Taylor, James; University; Issavi, Justine; Berggren, Åsa; Lukas, Dominik; Mazzucato, Camilla; Tung, Burcu; Dell'Unto, Nicoló (2018). "'The Rise of the Machine': the impact of digital tablet recording in the field at Çatalhöyük". Internet Archaeology (47). doi:10.11141/ia.47.1.
  17. ^ Sponsors and Contributors of current dig
  18. ^ a b c d e Maynes, Mary Jo; Waltner, Ann (2012). The Family: A World History. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530476-3.
  19. ^ "Incredible discovery of intact female figurine from neolithic era in Turkey | Ars Technica".
  20. ^ Noah Wiener (November 1, 2013). "Çatalhöyük mural". Bible History Daily. Biblical Archaeology Society. Archived from the original on November 24, 2013. This Çatalhöyük mural is thought to represent a nearby volcanic eruption. New scientific evidence confirms a contemporaneous eruption at nearby Hasan Dağ.
  21. ^ Cartographic Images (accessed February 23, 2014)
  22. ^ A bird’s eye view - of a leopard’s spots. The Çatalhöyük ‘map’ and the development of cartographic representation in prehistory. Anatolian Studies 56, 2006, pp. 1–16. Published by The British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara
  23. ^ Jenkins, pp. 39–47
  24. ^ Mellaart, James (1967). Catal Huyuk: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia. McGraw-Hill. p. 181.
  25. ^ Mellaart (1967), 180.
  26. ^ Balter, Michael (2005). The Goddess and the Bull. New York: Free Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-7432-4360-5.
  27. ^ Hodder, Ian (2005). "New finds and new interpretations at Çatalhöyük". Çatalhöyük 2005 Archive Report. Catalhoyuk Research Project, Institute of Archaeology.
  28. ^ Hodder, Ian (2008-01-17). "A Journey to 9000 years ago". Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  29. ^ Hodder, Ian (2015-03-25). "Çatalhöyük excavations reveal gender equality in ancient settled life". Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  30. ^ a b O'Brien, Jeremy "New techniques undermine 'mother goddess' role in the community" Irish Times September 20, 2009 [4]
  31. ^ Masing, Uku (2011). Aarded Tellistes. Tartu, Estonia: Ilmamaa. pp. 209–227. ISBN 978-9985-77-351-2.
  32. ^ Oriental Studies 3. Acta et Commentationes Universitatis Tartuensis 392 / Tartu Riikliku Ülikooli Toimetised 392. Tartu 1976, 75–92.
  33. ^ Leften Stavros Stavrianos (1991). A Global History from Prehistory to the Present. New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-357005-2. Pages 9–13
  34. ^ R Dale Gutrie (2005). The Nature of Paleolithic art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-31126-5. Page 420-422
  35. ^ Maynes, Mary Jo; Waltner, Ann (2012). The Family: A World History. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-19-530476-3.
  36. ^ Bookchin, Murray. The Rise of Urbanisation and Decline of Citizenship. pp. 18–22.

Further reading

  • Bailey, Douglass. Prehistoric Figurines: Representation and Corporeality in the Neolithic. New York: Routledge, 2005 (hardcover, ISBN 0-415-33151-X; paperback, ISBN 0-415-33152-8).
  • Balter, Michael. The Goddess and the Bull: Çatalhöyük: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization. New York: Free Press, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-7432-4360-9); Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2006 (paperback, ISBN 1-59874-069-5). A highly condensed version was published in The Smithsonian Magazine, May 2005.
  • Dural, Sadrettin. "Protecting Catalhoyuk: Memoir of an Archaeological Site Guard." Contributions by Ian Hodder. Translated by Duygu Camurcuoglu Cleere. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59874-050-9.
  • Hodder, Ian. "Women and Men at Çatalhöyük," Scientific American Magazine, January 2004 (update V15:1, 2005).
  • Hodder, Ian. The Leopard's Tale: Revealing the Mysteries of Çatalhöyük. London; New York: Thames & Hudson, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-500-05141-0). (The UK title of this work is Çatalhöyük: The Leopard's Tale.)
  • Mallett, Marla, "The Goddess from Anatolia: An Updated View of the Catak Huyuk Controversy," in Oriental Rug Review, Vol. XIII, No. 2 (December 1992/January 1993).
  • Mellaart, James. Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia. London: Thames & Hudson, 1967; New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967.
  • On the Surface: Çatalhöyük 1993–95, edited by Ian Hodder. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1996 (ISBN 0-9519420-3-4).
  • Taylor, James Stuart (2016), Making Time For Space At Çatalhöyük: GIS as a tool for exploring intra-site spatiotemporality within complex stratigraphic sequences, University of York (PhD thesis) open access
  • Todd, Ian A. Çatal Hüyük in Perspective. Menlo Park, CA: Cummings Pub. Co., 1976 (ISBN 0-8465-1958-5; ISBN 0-8465-1957-7).

External links

Amik Valley

The Amik, Amuk, or Amuq Valley (Arabic: الأعماق‎ al-A’maq) is located in the southern part of Turkey, in the Hatay Province, close to the city of Antakya (Antioch on the Orontes). Along with Dabiq in north western Syria, it is believed to be one of the future sites of the battle of Armageddon according to Islamic eschatology.It is notable for a series of archaeological sites in the "plain of Antioch".

The primary sites of the series are Tell al-Judaidah, Çatalhöyük (Amuq) (not to be confused with Çatalhöyük in Anatolia), Tell Tayinat, Tell Kurdu, Alalakh, and Tell Dhahab. Tell Judaidah was surveyed by Robert Braidwood and excavated by C. MacEwan of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in the 1930s.

Aşıklı Höyük

Aşıklı Höyük is a settlement mound located nearly 1 km south of Kızılkaya village on the bank of the Melendiz brook, and 25 kilometers southeast of Aksaray, Turkey.

Aşıklı Höyük is located in an area covered by the volcanic tuff of central Cappadocia, in Aksaray Province. The archaeological site of Aşıklı Höyük was first settled in the Aceramic Neolithic period, around 9000 B.C.

It is situated 1119.5 metres above sea level, a little higher than the region's average of c. 1000 metres. The site itself is about 4 ha, considerably smaller than the closely situated site of Çatalhöyük (13 ha). The surrounding landscape is formed by erosion of river valleys into tuff deposits. The Melendiz Valley, where the Aşıklı Höyük is located, constitutes a favourable, fertile, and diverse habitat. The proximity to an obsidian source did become the base of a trade with the material supplying areas as far away as today's Cyprus and Iraq.


Bucranium (plural bucrania; Latin, from Greek βουκράνιον, referring to the skull of an ox) was a form of carved decoration commonly used in Classical architecture. The name is generally considered to originate with the practice of displaying garlanded, sacrificial oxen, whose heads were displayed on the walls of temples, a practice dating back to the sophisticated Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in eastern Anatolia, where cattle skulls were overlaid with white plaster. In ancient Rome, bucrania were frequently used as metopes between the triglyphs on the friezes of temples designed with the Doric order of architecture. They were also used in bas-relief or painted decor to adorn marble altars, often draped or decorated with garlands of fruit or flowers, many of which have survived.

A rich and festive Doric order was employed at the Basilica Aemilia on the Roman Forum; enough of it was standing for Giuliano da Sangallo to make a drawing, c 1520, reconstructing the facade (Codex Vaticano Barberiniano Latino 4424); the alternation of the shallow libation dishes called paterae with bucrania in the metopes reinforced the solemn sacrificial theme.

While the presence of bucrania was typically used with the Doric order, the Romans were not strict about this. In a first-century fresco from Boscoreale, protected by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bucrania and cistae mysticae hang on ribbons from pegs that support garlands, evoking joyous fasti. At the Temple of Vesta, Tivoli, designed using the Corinthian order, motifs interpreted by the architect Andrea Palladio as conventional skull bucrania adorn the frieze, although these are actually fleshed ox heads with eyes. Similarly, the Temple of Portunus in Rome, designed using the Ionic order, has bucrania in its frieze.In later years, the motif was used to embellish buildings of the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods. Garlanded bucrania provide a repetitive motif in the plasterwork of the fine 18th century Staircase Hall of The Vyne (Hampshire), inside the Pantheon at Stourhead (Wiltshire) and at Lacock Abbey (Wiltshire).

Ian Hodder

Ian Hodder FBA (born 23 November 1948 in Bristol) is a British archaeologist and pioneer of postprocessualist theory in archaeology that first took root among his students and in his own work between 1980-1990. At this time he had such students as Henrietta Moore, Ajay Pratap, Nandini Rao, Mike Parker Pearson, Paul Lane, John Muke, Sheena Crawford, Nick Merriman, Michael Shanks and Christopher Tilley. As of 2002, he is Dunlevie Family Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University in the United States.Since 1993, Hodder and an international team of archaeologists have carried out new research and excavation of the 9,000-year-old Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia (modern Turkey). He is Director of the Çatalhöyük Archaeological Project which aims to conserve the site, put it into context, and present it to the public. He has endeavoured to explore the effects of non-positivistic methods in archaeology, which includes providing each excavator with the opportunity to record his or her own individual interpretation of the site.

He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with First-Class Honors in Prehistoric Archaeology from the University of London in 1971, and a PhD on "spatial analysis in archaeology" at the University of Cambridge in 1974. He was a lecturer at the University of Leeds from 1974 to 1977 before moving back to Cambridge, where he held several academic positions, including Professor of Archaeology from 1996 to 1999. He moved to Stanford in 1999 and became Dunlevie Family Professor in 2002, and a Fellow of the British Academy in 1996.

James Mellaart

James Mellaart FBA (14 November 1925 – 29 July 2012) was an English archaeologist and author who is noted for his discovery of the Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük in Turkey. He was expelled from Turkey when he was suspected of involvement with the antiquities black market. He was also involved in a string of controversies, including the so-called mother goddess controversy in Anatolia, which eventually led to his being banned from excavations in Turkey in the 1960s.Mellaart was born in 1925 in London. He lectured at the University of Istanbul and was an assistant director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara (BIAA). In 1951 Mellaart began to direct excavations on the sites in Turkey with the assistance of his Turkish-born wife Arlette, who was the secretary of BIAA. He helped to identify the "champagne-glass" pottery of western Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age, which in 1954 led to the discovery of Beycesultan. After that expedition's completion in 1959, he helped to publish its results. In 1964 he began to lecture in Anatolian archaeology in Ankara. After his death it was discovered that he had forged many of his "finds", including murals and inscriptions used to discover the Çatalhöyük site.

Konya Archaeological Museum

Konya Archaeological Museum is a state archaeological museum in Konya, Turkey. Established in 1901, it had been relocated twice before moving to its present location in 1962. One of the most prominent displays in the museum is of sarcophagi and other antiquities from the ancient city of Çatalhöyük. Other exhibits relate to the Neolithic, Bronze Age (old-Bronze and mid-Bronze periods), Iron Age (Phrygian and Urartu), Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and the Byzantine periods; artifacts consist of ceramic ware, stone and bronze wares, ornaments and inscriptions. A prominent display is of a marble sarcophagus of the 3rd century BC with elaborate sculpting events depicting the life of Hercules. In the outer open yard of the museum, there are a number of small sculptures, sarcophagi, column heads, and epigraphy.

Konya Plain

The Konya Plain is a plain in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey, associated with the Konya Province. It is a flat plain (a height of 900–1050 m) that covers the majority of Konya Basin and constitutes the main part of the Central Anatolian Plateau.

The plain is one of the driest areas in Turkey. To alleviate it, a major irrigational Konya Plain Project was launched in 2012. The project includes 14 irrigation, three potable water and one energy investments, including the Blue Tunnel Project and the Bagbasi Dam.The plain is of considerable archaeological interest, including an important neolithic archaeological site of Çatalhöyük is located within the plain.

List of World Heritage sites in Turkey

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Turkey accepted the convention on 16 March 1983, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list. As of 2018, there are eighteen World Heritage sites in Turkey, including sixteen cultural sites and two mixed sites.The first three sites in Turkey, Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Historic Areas of Istanbul and Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, were inscribed on the list at the 9th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Paris, France in 1985. The latest inscriptions, Aphrodisias, was added to the list in 2017, and Göbekli Tepe in 2018.

List of largest cities throughout history

This article lists the largest cities or urban areas by estimated population in history. Many of the figures are uncertain, especially in ancient times.

Mother goddess

A mother goddess is a goddess who represents, or is a personification of nature, motherhood, fertility, creation, destruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.

There is difference of opinion between the academic and the popular conception of the term. The popular view is mainly driven by the Goddess movement and reads that primitive societies initially were matriarchal, worshipping a sovereign, nurturing, motherly earth goddess. This was based upon the nineteenth-century ideas of unilineal evolution of Johann Jakob Bachofen. According to the academic view, however, both Bachofen and the modern Goddess theories are a projection of contemporary world views on ancient myths, rather than attempting to understand the mentalité of that time. Often this is accompanied by a desire for a lost civilization from a bygone era that would have been just, peaceful and wise. However, it is highly unlikely that such a civilization ever existed.For a long time, feminist authors advocated that these peaceful, matriarchal agrarian societies were exterminated or subjugated by nomadic, patriarchal warrior tribes. An important contribution to this was that of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. Her work in this field is now however largely rejected. Also with feminist archaeologists this vision is nowadays considered highly controversial.Since the sixties of the twentieth century, especially in popular culture, the alleged worship of the mother goddess and the social position that women in prehistoric societies supposedly assumed, were linked. This made the debate a political one. According to the goddess movement, the current male-dominated society should return to the egalitarian matriarchy of earlier times. That this form of society ever existed was supposedly supported by many figurines that were found.

In academic circles, this prehistoric matriarchy is considered unlikely. Firstly, worshiping a mother goddess does not necessarily mean that women ruled society. In addition, the figurines can also portray ordinary women or goddesses, and it is unclear whether there really ever was a mother goddess.

Mount Hasan

Mount Hasan (Turkish: Hasan Dağı) is an inactive stratovolcano in Aksaray province, Turkey. With an elevation of 3,268 m (10,722 ft), it ranks as the second highest mountain of central Anatolia. A caldera 4-5 kilometres wide formed near the current summit around 7500 BC, in an eruption recorded in Neolithic paintings.The ancient settlement of Çatalhöyük collected obsidian from the area of Hasan Dağ, which they probably traded with other settlements for luxury goods. Obsidian mirrors and flakes have also been found. The importance of Hasan Dağ to the people of Çatalhöyük may be shown by a wall painting, sometimes called the "first landscape" by art historians, which some believe is a depiction of Hasan Dağ towering over the settlement's houses.

It was the second mountain from the south in the Byzantine beacon system used to warn the Byzantine capital of Constantinople of incursions during the Arab–Byzantine wars.

Approximately a six hours' walk is required to climb to the top of the mountain from the highest point accessible by car. The summit offers a fabulous view over the central Anatolian plateau, including distant Cappadocia.

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Turkish: Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi) is located on the south side of Ankara Castle in the Atpazarı area in Ankara, Turkey. It consists of the old Ottoman Mahmut Paşa bazaar storage building, and the Kurşunlu Han. Because of Atatürk's desire to establish a Hittite museum, the buildings were bought upon the suggestion of Hamit Zübeyir Koşay, who was then Culture Minister, to the National Education Minister, Saffet Arıkan. After the remodelling and repairs were completed (1938–1968), the building was opened to the public as the Ankara Archaeological Museum.

Today, Kurşunlu Han, used as an administrative building, houses the work rooms, library, conference hall, laboratory and workshop. The old bazaar building houses the exhibits. Within this Ottoman building, the museum has a number of exhibits of Anatolian archeology. They start with the Paleolithic era, and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq and Ottoman periods. There is also an extensive collection of artifacts from the excavations at Karain, Çatalhöyük, Hacılar, Canhasan, Beyce Sultan, Alacahöyük, Kültepe, Acemhöyük, Boğazköy (Gordion), Pazarlı, Altıntepe, Adilcevaz and Patnos as well as examples of several periods.

The exhibits of gold, silver, glass, marble and bronze works date back as far as the second half of the first millennium BC. The coin collections, with examples ranging from the first minted money to modern times, represent the museum's rare cultural treasures.

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations reaching the present time with its historical buildings and its deeply rooted history was elected as the first "European Museum of the Year" in Switzerland on April 19, 1997.

Neolithic architecture

Neolithic architecture refers to structures encompassing housing and shelter from approximately 10,000 to 2,000 BC, the Neolithic period. In southwest Asia, Neolithic cultures appear soon after 10,000 BC, initially in the Levant (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B) and from there into the east and west. Early Neolithic structures and buildings can be found in southeast Anatolia, Syria, and Iraq by 8,000 BC with agriculture societies first appearing in southeast Europe by 7,000 BC, and central Europe by ca. 5,500 BC (of which the earliest cultural complexes include the Starčevo-Koros (Cris), Linearbandkeramic, and Vinča.

Potnia Theron

Potnia Theron (Ἡ Πότνια Θηρῶν, "The Mistress of the Animals") is a term first used (once) by Homer (Iliad 21. 470) and often used to describe female divinities associated with animals. The word Potnia, meaning mistress or lady, was a Mycenaean Greek word inherited by Classical Greek, with the same meaning, cognate to Sanskrit patnī.Homer's mention of potnia theron is thought to refer to Artemis and Walter Burkert describes this mention as "a well established formula". An Artemis type deity, a 'Mistress of the Animals', is often assumed to have existed in prehistorical religion and often referred to as Potnia Theron, with some scholars positing a relationship between Artemis and goddesses depicted in Minoan art and "Potnia Theron has become a generic term for any female associated with animals."Many depictions use a female version of the widespread ancient motif of the male Master of Animals, showing a central figure with a human form grasping two animals, one to each side. The oldest depiction has been discovered in Çatalhöyük.

Another example of Potnia theròn is situated in Museo civico archeologico di Monte Rinaldo in Italy: plate illustrates goddess that wears a long dress and holds hands with two panthers.


A proto-city is a large village or town of the Neolithic such as Jericho and Çatalhöyük, and also any prehistoric settlement which has both rural and urban features. A proto-city is distinguished from a true city in that it lacks planning and centralized rule. For example, Jericho evidently had a class system, but no roads, while Çatalhöyük apparently lacked social stratification. This is what distinguishes them from the first city-states of the early Mesopotamian cities in the 4th millennium B.C. Prehistoric Egypt and the Ubaid period of Sumer featured what some call proto-cities. The break from these later mentioned settlements and urban settlements is the emergence of Eridu, the first Sumerian city, in the Uruk period around 4000 BC. A European example of this would be the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, which dates back to the fourth millennium BC.

Ruth Tringham

Ruth Tringham (born 14 October 1940) is an anthropologist, focusing on the archaeology of Neolithic Europe and southwest Asia. She is a Professor of the Graduate School (Anthropology) at the University of California, Berkeley and Creative Director and President of the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA), a recently established non-profit organization. Before going to Berkeley, she taught at Harvard University and University College London. Tringham is probably best known for her work at Selevac (1976–1979) and Opovo (1983–1989), Serbia, at the Eneolithic tell settlement of Podgoritsa, Bulgaria (1995), and at the well-known site of Çatalhöyük (1997-), Turkey.

Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük

The Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük (also Çatal Höyük) is a baked-clay, nude female form, seated between feline-headed arm-rests. It is generally thought to depict a corpulent and fertile Mother Goddess in the process of giving birth while seated on her throne, which has two hand rests in the form of feline (leopard or panther) heads. The statuette, one of several iconographically similar ones found at the site, is associated to other corpulent prehistoric goddess figures, of which the most famous is the Venus of Willendorf.

It is a neolithic sculpture shaped by an unknown artist, and was completed sometime about 6000 BC. It was unearthed by archaeologist James Mellaart in 1961 at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. When it was found, its head and hand rest of the right side were missing. The current head and the hand rest are modern replacements. The sculpture is at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey.

Shahina Farid

Shahina Farid is a British archaeologist who is best known for her work as Field Director and Project Coordinator at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey. She is currently the scientific dating coordinator for Historic England.


Volcanology (also spelled vulcanology) is the study of volcanoes, lava, magma, and related geological, geophysical and geochemical phenomena (volcanism). The term volcanology is derived from the Latin word vulcan. Vulcan was the ancient Roman god of fire.

A volcanologist is a geologist who studies the eruptive activity and formation of volcanoes, and their current and historic eruptions. Volcanologists frequently visit volcanoes, especially active ones, to observe volcanic eruptions, collect eruptive products including tephra (such as ash or pumice), rock and lava samples. One major focus of enquiry is the prediction of eruptions; there is currently no accurate way to do this, but predicting eruptions, like predicting earthquakes, could save many lives.

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Archaeological museums in Turkey
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