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22 December 2016
Two unique 8,000-year-old figurines discovered in Turkey

Two very well preserved 8000-year-old stone figurines depicting naked women were discovered by Polish archaeologists this year in one of the oldest cities in the world - Catalhoyuk [pronounced Chatalhoeyuek] in central Turkey.
     The city in the southern part of the Anatolian Plateau was one of the largest urban centres of the first farmers, inhabited continuously for over 1000 years between 7100 and 6000 BCE, with an estimated peak population of 5000 residents.
     The site is famous for the murals depicting human and animal figures and geometric motifs.
     The two perfectly preserved figurines were discovered next to each other inside a house built at the end of the settlement activity, between 6300 and 6100 BCE. The smaller and more detailed is made of limestone, approximately 7 centimetres high and weighing 55 grams. The larger is made of marble, approximately 17 centimetres high and weighing 1 kilogram. The tradition of making figurines in this shape probably dates to the beginnings of the settlement, around 7100 BCE.
     Hundreds of anthropomorphic figurines have been discovered in the city - mostly small clay figurines with their heads broken off.
     The discovery was made in part of the artificial mound formed as a result of settlement - the accumulated remains of crumbling walls of mud brick houses. The figurines were lying on a platform adjacent to one of the inner walls. The room in which the discovery was made is located in the eastern part of a large house with an area of approximately 40 square metres - significantly larger than any other house known from this period. The figures were closely linked to two graves which the researchers hope to examine next year. Residents of the city at the time buried their dead under the floor of their homes and continued to live in them.

Edited from Science in Poland (21 December 2016)

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