Another important archaeological site from the Neolithic period exists. Located in SE Turkey. At the top of the Fertile crescent. This site offers valuable insights into early stages of agriculture, and animal domestication. As well as, human settlement and religion. It prospered from around 8,630 to 6,800 BC. It is located in Diyarbakır Province. Forty kilometres north-west of Diyarbakır. Near the Boğazçay. A tributary of the upper Tigris River; and, the Bestakot, an intermittent stream.
Çayönü settlement at first represented single room structures that were round, or had rounded corners. It had 100-200 people; and, 25 to 50 buildings in its peak
Earliest levels do not include buildings, only cooking pits. The site is more known for its well-preserved structures. Including circular and rectangular houses made from mud bricks. On top were built wattle and daub constructions.
The next phase consisted of grill-plan buildings. This refers to a type of the building foundation. Around 6″ high stones. Arranged linear parallel. For a carefully built foundation. That could support a elevated plastered floor. To keep it insulated, ventilated and dry.
From the earliest buildings, there are signs of something special. There was evidence of channel drainage. It is clear they were doing something with some kind of liquid. Was it blood; water, wine, something else? A combination?
Earliest building, the Flagstone Building
Possibly in order to get some kind of flooding. It is certain that the floor was polished. The Flagstone building has a floor made entirely from large flagstones. Into which were set megalithic stones. There were also rows of standing stones nearby. Giving it a similar appearance to the Valley Temple, in Giza.
In the Sandstone Building there was a water channel going through it
The Terrazzo Building, has a kind of channel drainage as well
It is one of the first with Terrazzo floors. Stone pieces, like marble or granite, pressed into a cement base. There was also signs of early copper being smelted, (or pounded) here.
In the Skull building. Sorry, but it seems more the nastier end, than the nicer
This structure was 7m x 7.9m in size. It had a round asp at one end. In two small ante-chambers, archaeologists unearthed roughly 90 skulls, a figure which was eventually brought up to almost 300. A large chamber was also discovered that contained a one-ton cut and polished stone block. Which, along with the discovery of a large flint knife. Makes it almost certain that the stone acted as some sort of a butchering or offering table.
Did you know? Analysis of blood found on some of the alters suggest human sacrifice occurred there. Microscopic analysis shows a high residue of blood. From aurochs, sheep and human beings.
A deep cylindrical hole with remains of clay and a domed structure was also found
It was more than likely used for storage of various products.
Archaeology: The site was excavated for 16 seasons between 1964 and 1991
Various artifacts. Including stone tools, pottery, and decorative objects were found. And, included were insights of animal and wheat domestication.
On that the slopes of Mount Karaca (Karaca Dağ). The precursor of most current wheat species, Emmer wheat. Is shown to be domesticated and cultivated perhaps earliest. Which is located in close vicinity to Çayönü.
Origin of domestication: The domestication of pigs and cattle
Prior to first archaeological phases. Wild game bones are relatively abundant. Domestic animals appear in the final aspects of pre-ceramic, or pre-pottery neolithic. First, it was probably sheep domesticated. There are also signs where the pig (sus scrofa) was first domesticated. And, as well, the area provides time sequances. In distinctions between cattle management and domestication.
Around 9000 years ago. There is a decrease in the size of the cattle
Decrease in cattle size is evident only around 7000 BC. From Bos Taurus to Bos Primigenius. The trend continues in related sites from the area. It continues thereafter. At this and related sites in the area.
Art, clothing, jewelry
Woven cloth, beads, and several female figurines were among the finds. Representing some of the earliest traces of the mother goddess cult in the area.
It is believed to have been the main early bead producing center during the early-neolithic period
Archaeologists discovered four other early copper items too. Two pins, one bent fish-hook, and a reamer or awl. The inhabitants were already proficient with copper at a early neolithic time.
A number of other great artifacts have been unearthed
Flint and obsidian tools were found. Stone vessels; clay house models and, pottery. Impressed or incised bone pieces have also been found. Indicating numerical counters or early experiments drawing, and writing.
The discovery of woven cloth. Still wrapped around an antler. Is one of the earliest fabrics
9000 year old linen fabric, woven from locally grown flax was found. Scientists suspect it may have been a grip for the antler, part of a bag or clothing. To recover the linen from the flax stem. The people would have had to soak the stems in a river or pond. In this state. Fibres could be separated and twisted into a rough thread. And, braided.
The site provides great significance to researchers studying the Neolithic period. It helps illuminate the development of early farming communities. Including the processes of domestication. And, what may have underpinned the emergence of agriculture and trade, in this region. It offers crucial data about the transition from nomadic, hunter-gatherer societies. To settled agricultural ones.
Contributing to our understanding of the development of human civilization and early agriculture. It highlights the importance of the near east region. In the history of human cultural, technological and neolithic evolutions.
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