|12 January 2022
Turkish Neolithic statuette - a man or a woman?
There is a Neolithic and Chalcolithic site in the central Turkish region of Anatolia, known as Catalhoyuk. Excavations first began in 1958 and this first phase continued through until 1965, under the lead of British archaeologist James Mellaart. During the course of these investigations 18 layers of buildings were uncovered, dating from 7100 BCE to 5600 BCE.
No further investigations then happened on the site until 1993, when a team from Cambridge University (UK) started their investigations, headed by Ian Hodder from Stamford University (USA). The site has proved to be so rich in finds and importance that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
During more recent excavations on the site's southern mound, several miniature figurines have been uncovered, but a recent discovery of a miniature marble statuette has archaeologists puzzled as to its gender, despite the previous preponderance of female statuettes.
Local archaeology professor at the Anadolu University (Turkey), Ali Umut Turkcan, is quoted as saying of the piece that it "is reminiscent of figurines identified as male, leaning back slightly on the back of an animal, similar to those found in excavations in the past". To give an idea of the size of the site the average population, over its lifetime, is estimated at between 5000 and 7000, making it one of the largest Neolithic settlements ever found.
Edited from TurkishPress (28 December 2021)
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