Archaeologists find 8,500-year-old marble statuette

(ORDO NEWS) — The world’s largest Neolithic settlement, Chatal Huyuk, has expanded by another couple of blocks.

Archaeologists from the Anatolian University have completed another season of excavations at Chatal Huyuk, an amazing place in the south of Anatolia (modern Turkey).

The result was the opening of new city squares (the so-called East Terrace), a large number of obsidian objects found: arrowheads – some of which scientists consider as having a votive (sacred), and not a military purpose – and a small, but very unusual statue. First, let’s remember what the excavation site is.

In 1958, a group of British archaeologists led by James Mellart began excavations on one of the Anatolian hills. Then archeology was in great fashion, and Asia Minor was not dug only by the completely lazy. Mellart’s group was lucky: they quickly found pottery and obsidian products.

It became clear that before the scientists there was a large settlement of the Neolithic-Eneolithic times. In 1961, Mellart organized the already normal, full-scale study of Chatal Huyuk. The earliest layers date back to around 7400 BC.

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Archaeologists have received a stunning result. At a time when many representatives of our species were happy with a dry cave, on two hills in a place that would later be called Asia Minor, some people built a whole city – scientists assume that at least 10 thousand people lived in it.

The houses were erected from adobe bricks, the roofs rested on wooden beams. The building was dense – wall to wall. Judging by the finds on the roofs, it was they who played the role of a street – social life took place there. The city is divided into quarters: a common wall separated about 40 houses from other similar associations.

In the ancient layers, archaeologists found grain, bones of domestic animals (goats, pigs, sheep and – surprisingly – dogs), as well as the remains of wild animals and fish, fish hooks, vessels with traces of honey. One of the most important discoveries is the beautifully fashioned earthenware vessels. For seven thousand years BC – an absolutely amazing find.

Moreover, the amount of ceramics found allows us to trace its evolution: in about five to seven centuries, they began to cover it with glaze, and then decorate it. By the way, the inhabitants of the city did not know the potter’s wheel. In other words, farmers, hunters, beekeepers and all kinds of artisans lived there.

Archaeologists have unearthed at least three temples, and a scientific discussion continues on two more similar objects. Temples are built into city quarters: this is not a separate building, but rather a room for performing sacred acts.

The walls of such rooms are painted. In addition to ornaments, the drawings contain images of archers, dancers, as well as female figures, which scientists consider to be a symbol of the local Mother Goddess . The fact is that in the settlement they found a huge number of figurines of obese women, which Mellart interpreted in this way. Most of the figurines are made of ceramics or carved from bone. In this sense, the fresh find stands out strongly.

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Firstly, the material of the figurine – marble – is a rather rare stone for such work. The statuette shows traces of the tool used to cut the marble. Secondly, this is clearly not an obese female figure, but rather the face of a man, and everything looks as if the statuette had a continuation (or it served as an integral part of some sculptural composition).

Rare material suggests that the figurine was significant for the carver or for the customer – the question is what gave it such value. One of the assumptions is that we have before us another deity of the pantheon of people who inhabited Chatal-Huyuk.

Scientists do not know why people stopped living in Chatal Huyuk (from about 5600 BC). The fact is that this settlement looks extremely strange: there was no crime in it (there are no traces of looting of graves with valuable burial utensils), there were no executions, murders (judging by the research of the remains), there were no wars.

Property stratification is also not particularly noticeable. Some kind of ideal communist dream society, where “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” But what made these Neolithic communists abandon their Eden? Perhaps the answer to this question will be given by further excavations.

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