Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why is Catal Huyuk an important archaeological find?

This very second a very important dig site is being exposed close to the city of Konya. Archaeologists are digging up the greatest Neolithic town in the Middle East of 6500BC, Catal Huyuk. Piece by piece, we are finding out what life was like 9000 years and one of the biggest steps for the human race, from hunter- gathering to early farming. The city covered 32 acres of land, which is the size of two football fields. So far, we know that Catal Huyuk was the biggest trade center in the Middle East. The people made crafts that were wanted by other neighboring villages. They used bone to make hairpins, needles, fish hooks, and beads, and wood to make bowls and advanced boxes with lids. The people also had excellent crops and fertile lands, so they had plenty of surpluses to trade. The main crop was grain. Because of the fear of dry seasons and droughts the people would sow their crops right after floods. In this way, the grounds would be fertile and moist, and perfect for farming. They also traded an unusual glass called obsidian. Obsidian is a dark, shiny mineral that can be found after a volcanic eruption when lava cools fast. The villagers would travel 120 miles to collect obsidian, and would then transport it with their cattle back. From this fantastic mineral they made various tools, mirrors and arrowheads. The edge of obsidian was very sharp, so perfect for cutting. The Catal Huyuk people also domesticated cattle. They protected it by hunting wolves, bears and deer, which hides gave them clothing to wear. Citizens of the city lived in small mud-brick houses. They were all roughly the same size. A house would contain two rooms. The first room was for the surplus food and for storage, for any extra food the family might own or goods it might trade. The second room was larger and contained the actual living quarters. It had a kitchen, a hearth and built in furniture. Archaeologists believe that dead relatives were buried underneath the floorboards of the houses. Every house also had a hole in the ceiling with a ladder through so that the people could go outside. The smoke from the fires made in the hearths would go outside from the same hole. You might be wondering why they had holes in the ceilings to go outside, and why they couldn’t just have doors. If the people had had doors in their houses, they would have just been walking in in another person’s house. In Catal Huyuk there were no streets, alleys, or passageways of any kind. There was only the city and the fields. To get to the other side of the city you would have to climb on top of another person’s house, and travel on flat rooftops. However, not all the rooftops were at the same level. This meant that ladders were needed. Archaeologists believe that the ladders were the reason behind all the broken bones that were found. Some houses were special and had religious meaning, like the shrines. The shrines were no larger than the houses. However, they had fancier furniture, statues, benches, and paintings. From these paintings scientists have been able to get a better view about the lifestyle at that time. These shrines were what made the city of Catal Huyuk become the religious center of the region. All of the following – the trade, the craft making, the sowing and farming, minerals like obsidian, the domesticated cattle, the shrines- all lead to the town of Catal Huyuk becoming the biggest town in the Middle East. With discovering and unearthing this miraculous city we can find out more about life 9000 years ago. Going from hunter-gathering to early farming was a huge step for the human race, and the City of Catal Huyuk displayed a great picture of the human race making this major transition.

1 comment:

  1. Great Work!!
    I liked how you added all the important details... Your post was really clear and easy to follow nice

    Keep it up ;)