Çatalhöyük is one of the oldest densely packed settlements. Dating back more than 9000 years. Its name is ‘fork mound’ in Turkish

Located in central Turkeys Konya plain. About 1000 feet east of a Byzantine settlement. Quite a large tell (or mound) was observed. 91 acres in all. Nearly 70 feet tall too. Some people say 8,000 people may have lived there at one time.

Because of its location and size. It had always had some of the top researchers, scientists and archaeologists studying it. Since its original investigation in 1958. The site is still being analyzed today.

The tell had two sides. Each on a side of the Çarşamba river
Carbon dating roughly to 1000 years difference. The west side is smaller. And, abandoned around the beginning of the chalcolithic period (copper).

The architecture was the beginning of something significant
Buildings were densely clusterd using mud brick. They were arranged around a central courtyard area. Its believed these areas would have had merchants, actors and entertainers. Gatherings and religious celebrations. Like modern day cities, or resorts.

Buildings were wedge shaped or rectangular
It was so advanced, and crammed in together. They entered through the roofs. There were no windows or ground level doors. Its features were different and advanced. Rooms had portions of the walls missing with entry into other spaces. With holes cut in the walls. Owners could reach or crawl in to additional rooms and storage. It probably helped with bugs and pest. As well as, so mice and rodents couldn’t jump in. Buildings often had one to three rooms.

Living spaces were smaller
Usually less than 275 square feet. Included was an oven, hearth, pit; raised floor, platform, benches and more.

Did you think Turkish settlements like Çatalhöyük are older than 10,000 years?
At Çatalhöyük burials were often found below platforms and benches. They were almost always on the north eastern sides of buildings. Leading the way to Mal’ta-buret‘; and beyond. Perhaps even Beringa. What did you think?

Artwork included red ochre
Murals, and paintwork images were painted on walls and plaster. They included solid colours, panels, or bands. There were patterns as well. Including hand prints. Images of humans, aurochs, birds, fauna and human-animal hyrbids. They even found a drawing of a volcanic eruption. NE was the site of Hasan Dagi. That went off around 8500 years ago.

Many mother goddess figures have been found, as well as stamp seals
The seals were used to impress patterns onto clay or pottery.

Climate change and phases of occupation
Phase of occupation in the east mound happened when the local environment was in the process of changing from humid to dry land conditions. There is evidence that the climate changed considerably during the length of the occupation, including drought periods. The move to the West Mound occurred when there appeared a localized wetter area southeast of the new site.

Four different variations of plants were found
Fruit and nuts: acorn, hackberry, pistachio, almond/plum, almond;

Pulses: grass pea, chickpea, bitter vetch, pea, lentil;

Cereals: barley (naked 6 row, two row, hulled two row); einkorn (wild and domestic both), emmer, free-threshing wheat, and a “new” wheat, Triticum timopheevi;
Other: flax, mustard seed.

What a site
Extensive archaeological excavations have been going on here. Now a more than a few decades. Provided valuable information about the site’s history, layout, and cultural practices. A world heritage site. This area is of great importance to historians. It offers a unique window into the early stages of human settlement, agriculture, art, and religious practices. It provides insights into the transition from small, mobile communities to larger, settled urban centers. Marking a significant milestone in the development of human civilization. Let’s hear it for Çatalhöyük.


Hodder, Ian (1 January 2008). “A Journey to 9000 years ago” (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=93856).

Mellaart, James (1967). Catal Huyuk: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia. McGraw-Hill.

Çatalhöyük: Excavations of a Neolithic Anatolian Höyük – Çatalhöyük Archive Report 2008

Renfrew, Colin (2006). “Inception of agriculture and rearing in the Middle East” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S163106830500134X). Human Palaeontology and Prehistory.

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