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10 September 2011
8,500-year-old remains unearthed in Turkish city

Researchers conducting excavations in Yesilova Hoyugu, the oldest known area of human settlement in Izmir (Turkey), have announced the discovery of fingerprints more than eight millennia old belonging to residents of the area during the Neolithic era. "Those fingerprints are thought to belong to children and women," said Zafer Derin, the scholar leading the excavation, adding that it was the first discovery of its type in the area. The team discovered the fingerprints from clay pots.
     Noting that the soil in the area also showed that people used the area for agriculture, Derin said: "...we have discovered that more than two people were involved in making clay from the fingerprints." The dig leader also said his team had discovered other tools belonging to the Neolithic, as well as artefacts that were used for ceremonies. The society also used oil lamps that were made from animal skins.
     According to Derin, the bull figure that the ancient people drew on their artefacts symbolised a patriarchal figure in the society. "The bull is a cult figure," said Derin. At the same time, the bull also symbolised fertility, said Derin, adding that the society that lived during the Neolithic age did not use this figure everywhere but only in certain places. "Ancient people used this figure in some of the pots and vessels that they used."
     Noting that the team still was still unsure as to how people used to live during the Neolithic age in Yesilova, Derin said, "We have learned that people turned some of the rooms in their home into places of worship."

Edited from Hurriyet Daily News (5 September 2011)

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