Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

Catalhoyuk is widely recognized as one of the oldest settlements of the Neolithic era, offering valuable insights into the early stages of human settlement and providing unique examples of early domestic architecture and evidence of a mother goddess cult.

Located in Turkey, the site of Catalhoyuk dates back to 7400 BC, and its discoveries have played a significant role in unraveling the mysteries surrounding the origins of agriculture and civilization. Catalhoyuk offers evidence of social equality, with its urban design and social organization reflecting this ideology. The tumulus at Catalhoyuk further proves that mining has been a longstanding practice in Anatolia, alongside farming, hunting, and gathering since Neolithic times.

Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

One of the most remarkable features of Catalhoyuk is that it is the first site in the world where a city plan was depicted on wall paintings. Seals recovered from the site provide evidence of the importance of housing practices to its inhabitants, with concepts of property ownership and trade in goods having already been developed long before the advent of writing.

The tumulus is an extraordinary example of ancient architecture that has a history dating back approximately 9400 years. When a family would vacate a dwelling, it was filled with earth and a new one was constructed on top, resulting in the present-day 21-meter-tall mound with 18 structural layers composed of cob, timber, and reeds.

The ceilings of the dwellings were made of compressed soil and reed mats, with entry through a trapdoor in the ceiling and a ladder to the floor level. Each adobe had a room and storage area, with each room containing a square cooking hearth. The walls were plastered and whitewashed, with yellow, red, and black pigments used to create wall paintings. Skulls of bulls, rams, and stags, along with human and animal reliefs, were found attached to the walls with compacted clay.

One of the most significant discoveries at Catalhoyuk was the figurine of the mother goddess, indicating a reverence for fertility and providing evidence that belief during this time was centered around a powerful goddess.

Located in the Konya Province, the Neolithic archaeological site at Catalhoyuk was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012 for its cultural significance.