Ancient Civilisations/History

10/Nov/11

Another of my curiosities is Ancient History. I enjoy reading about early civilisations and how different their way of life is to the modern day (for example, read Food of the Gods– Terence McKenna). My interest varies from Ancient Egypt and the Egyptian Book of the Dead to Ancient architecture all around the world.

I have recently read about Catal Huyuk, Turkey. The Neolithic settlement created a mound (a clue is in the name Huyuk means mound in Turkish) not far from the Mount Hasan volcano. The site was first excavated by James Mellaart (author of Earliest Civilisation of the Near East) followed by a team of people that helped him out. However Mellaart was later banned from Turkey over a dispute over missing artefacts supposedly of the Bronze Age, therefore until 1993 the site had no more attention. In 1993, investigations into the site began again with leadership from Ian Hodder (ex-student of Mellaart’s) from Cambridge, the investigation included “archaeological science, psychological and artistic interpretations of the symbolism of the wall paintings”.

One of the main quotes I read about the investigation that stuck out to me was:

“Less than three percent of the site has been explored. But Catal Huyuk has already yielded a wealth of religious art and symbolism that appears to be three or four thousand years ahead of its time. The mature complexity of the traditions at this Neolithic site further presupposes, according to the excavator, an Upper Paleolithic ancestor to whom we have no trace.”

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