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2 November 2008
Çatalhöyük now protected by a large roof

Çatalhöyük, Turkey's most famous Neolithic site, is one the oldest known areas of human settlement, animal domestication and wheat cultivation. The Culture and Tourism Ministry's Cultural Assets and Museums general manager, Orhan Düzgün, announced that the roof's construction, which began in June of this year, had been finished. The roof is made of specially laminated wood and is 40 meters high and 43 by 26 meters in area and will protect the historical site and the archaeological work going on there from damage resulting from exposure to the elements, Düzgün stated.
     The roof was constructed with an eye for aesthetics as well, Düzgün said, in a design maximally beneficial to both tourists and the archaeologists working the site. "With the folding side panels of the covering, a good ventilation system is ensured. The roof will be effective at directing away water that can harm the site and will also protect the site against strong winds in the wintertime. The polycarbonate panels on the roof will allow for the distribution of sunlight during the daytime without damaging the artifacts on site," he explained.
     Çatalhöyük is a major tourist attraction as well as an archeological site, and Düzgün emphasized that the design of the new roof and cover allows for educational panels to be posted on its sides, making it easier for visitors to get detailed information as they view the site.
     Recent excavation on the Neolithic site, under the expertise and leadership of British professor of archeology Ian Hodder, began in 1993 and has continued intermittently since. Discoveries made so far at the 9,000-year-old site include wall paintings, seals, and cooking and eating utensils decorated with various painted and carved figures. Except for its southern area, the site did not have any protection against the harsh weather conditions characteristic of the Central Anatolia region. Professor Hodder will continue to head the excavation teams at the site until 2017.

Source: Today's Zaman (25 October 2008)

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