Neolithic Çatal Höyük in Turkey
HOME / Table of Contents = Civilizations - Cultures - Areas - Regions - Prehistory
Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)
McDonald Ancient Near East Book Auction Ad Infinitum

Pre-Historic Çatal Höyük in Anatolia

Catal Hoyuk Excavations The Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük was first discovered in the late 1950s and excavated by James Mellaart between 1961 and 1965. The site rapidly became famous internationally due to the large size and dense occupation of the settlement as well as the spectacular wall paintings and other art that was uncovered inside the houses .....

Nine thousand years ago visitors approaching Çatalhöyük from across a vast marshy plain would have seen hundreds of mud-brick dwellings on the slopes of an enormous settlement mound. The site's several thousand inhabitants would have been herding sheep or goats; hunting wild cattle (aurochs), horse, and deer; tending crops of peas, lentils, and cereals; or collecting wild plant foods such as tubers from the marshes. Some would have been bringing valuable raw materials to the site such as obsidian from volcanic peaks to the northeast. In size and complexity Çatalhöyük was unlike any other site in the world. The American archaeologist Walter Fairservis Junior writing in 1975 described it as a community at the threshold of civilization ......

Micromorphologist removes a sample from a wall in the old excavation area

THE WORLD'S FIRST CITY (Archaeology Magazine)

Ancient cities as we find them today are not impressive sights. All that remains of Catal Huyuk, the first city, is a gullied pitted mound floating in a rolling plain of wheatfields. Little is left to show that this place was a primary source of Western civilization, a nexus of trade and ideas for two thousand years, the first organized cosmopolitan city-state and arguably the source of the Great Mother Goddess religion -- the universal faith of Europe, the Near East and the Far East before the great empires of the Fertile Crescent arose. Sadly most of the research on this unique neolithic site has been abandoned and thousands of pages of analysis remain unpublished. Only one acre of the thirty-two acre mound has been systematically excavated, recorded, and reported. This was Catal Huyuk, the ancestress of all other cities, a unique Temple City that was the religious center of the first great prehistoric civilization .....

Telesterion Bookstore
The Temple City of Prehistoric Anatolia

Other Online Links

On the yellow plains of central Anatolia lie the remains of one of the oldest civilizations on earth. Called Catal Huyuk the site ruins represent a village of 300 mud brick and plaster residences based on a farming economy -- in fact the first farming community we have found to date. The site was occupied from about 6300 - 5500 BC and its most striking and famous feature are the shrines; shrines dedicated to what has been called the Mother Goddess ......


Science Museum of Minnesota


In Association with
The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium