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8 July 2006
New book sheds light on ancient Çatalhöyük

British archaeologist Dr. Ian Hodder, who is supervising excavations at the 9,000-year-old Çatalhöyük site in Konya (Turkey), has published a book titled 'Çatalhöyük -- The Story of the Leopard,' featuring findings from 13 years of work in the area. 
        One of the oldest known settlement areas in the world, Çatalhöyük is a place where signs of human life from the Neolithic Age have been unearthed. Excavations at the site have been conducted under Hodder's supervision since 1993. Hodder asks many questions about Çatalhöyük in his book, answering some of them and leaving others to be pursued when excavations and research show further progress. On the back cover of the 295-page book, for instance, he asks, “Why are there no leopard remains among more than 600,000 animal bones unearthed at the site so far, although Çatalhöyük features numerous leopard illustrations?”
        Archaeologist Gülay Sert said that the book puts a new perspective on information known about the Neolithic Age. Sert said the book highlights two themes, adding: "One of them is the leopard. Hodder says in his book that the leopard had significance for the people of Çatalhöyük since evidence shows that they weren't hunted for food. Numerous leopard figures have been discovered at the site, which according to Hodder exemplifies the sacred aspects of the leopard, an animal respected by all in that society."
     Sert also said Hodder's book put a new perspective on the generally accepted view that women were superior to men in Çatalhöyük. "Formerly it was believed that Çatalhöyük residents treated women as men's superiors and that the 'Mother Goddess' statue proved this. Yet Hodder's book says they were equal in the light of recent findings, which provided evidence that they ate the same things and caught the same diseases," she added. 

Source: Turkish Daily News (5 July 2006)

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