This building must have been a charnel house for secondary burials.
Perhaps it served as well as a focus for the commemoration of the dead, a variant of the ancestor worship postulated for Jericho. Linear patterns were created by white stones set into the floor. In Subphase 6, the Large-room Building subphase, the character of the village changed dramatically. The settlement became smaller. Communal buildings were absent, and the Plaza was used as a refuse dump. Houses consisted of one or two large rooms only. The settlement continues from before, without dramatic break, but now the neat arrangement of buildings originally established during the Grill Plan subphase Subphase 2 is replaced by the clustering of irregularly shaped houses along narrow streets.
Communal buildings continue to be absent. During Subphases 1—5, the villagers depended on the collecting of wild plants and the hunting of wild animals. The cultivation of pulses, lentils, and vetch, followed by the addition of Einkorn wheat, offered supplements to the diet. Domesticated sheep and goat then appeared in great numbers, becoming a dietary staple. The hunting of wild animals diminished considerably. Native copper and malachite, found nearby, were worked in Subphase 2, with an intensification in metallurgy in Subphases 3 and 4; subsequently, metalworking declined.
The ore was hammered unheated to create such tools as pins, hooks, and drills — a simple start to a technology that would later prove so important. Annealing was also practiced: heating, but not smelting, of copper lumps to shape them more easily. Other crafts were practiced as well, such as bead making and weaving. A cloth impression made of domestic linen gives early evidence in the Near East for the craft of weaving.
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The presence of obsidian and sea shells, used for tools and decoration, indicates long-distance trade. But other elements of his definition are absent. Excavated since by a. The rooms are formed by a stone wall, sometimes by a series of concentric walls. In some, large, monolithic T-shaped stone piers are placed at right angles in the wall as reinforcements and roof supports. Two piers, also monolithic, T-shaped, very tall, and rectangular in section, are typically found in the center of a room as additional supports for the roofing.
These rooms may have been embedded in the ground, Schmidt has speculated, with entrance from the roof, like kivas, the subterranean ceremonial rooms of the Pueblo Indians of the south-west United States. The largest of the excavated rooms is Complex C, measuring in diameter 12m interior to 30m the outermost of its four concentric walls. Its piers are 5m in height. The central piers and many of those placed in the enclosing walls are typically decorated with relief sculpture depicting a frightening array of predatory animals, birds, and insects, such as lions, foxes, vultures, snakes, and scorpions Figure 1.
Some piers, with long, thin arms carved on each side, the hands meeting on the narrow front side, seem to represent humans. The meaning of these images must be connected to the rituals celebrated and the ideology that underlay them, whatever they may have been. The absence of any established settlement, at least in the early level Level III represented by these circular complexes, makes it clear that this was a cult or ceremonial center. Beyond that,. The circular complexes were built at different times, it is thought, but at what intervals and by whom?
The commanding view of the countryside from this hilltop suggests that the center was developed and patronized by people from a large region. Who were these people? Were they villagers, nomads, or hunter-gatherers?
Who organized the huge amount of labor involved in the quarrying, carving, and construction? These absolute dates are controversial; for some scholars, they seem too early. Further information is eagerly awaited.
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The site lies in the Konya plain, in a favorable environmental setting. Geomorphological study has revealed that in Neolithic times the town stood near a river, a lake, and marshes, with hills not far off. The site consists of two adjacent mounds, east and west. The eastern mound contains the Neolithic remains that interest us here, whereas the western mound has later occupation, Early Chalcolithic.
The eastern mound measures over 13ha, unusually large for this period. Only 0. The appearance of the town recalls the Native American pueblos of the south-west United States and is otherwise unattested in the Ancient Near East Figure 1. Houses were made of mud brick, often with a framework of wooden pillars and beams.
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The flat roofs consisted of clay on top of a network of wood. The houses clustered together, their walls touching those of their neighbors. Although small courtyards connected by streets lined the edges of the excavated area, within the cluster courts existed but streets did not. People entered houses from the flat rooftops, descending to the floor by means of a ladder. Since the town lay on sloping ground, the height of the roofs varied.
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Could this honeycomb arrangement have been intended as a system of defense? Was it used throughout the site, or just in this excavated neighborhood? Some of these questions may be answered by the new excavations. The rather small interior of a typical house consisted of a main room with an adjacent storeroom, together making up a maximum 30m2 of floor space.
It is hypothesized that small windows high up in the walls provided light and, together with the usual hole in the roof, allowed smoke from the hearth and ovens to escape. Each house contained at least two low platforms, with a raised bench at one end of the main platform. In addition, the bones of the dead were buried. One exceptional burial contained the remains of a young woman holding a plastered skull whose face was painted red.
As at Jericho, the presence of ancestors beneath the floors of a house may have been a way for early agriculturalists to mark eternal possession of the land, to legitimize their occupation. Such intramural burials contrast sharply with the later Classical practice of scrupulously keeping cemeteries outside the city walls: for the Greeks and the Romans, the dead menaced and polluted the land of the living and had to be kept at a distance.
Recently, because of developments in the local farming industry, the water table has dropped dramatically; archaeological preservation may be adversely affected. The largely vegetarian diet was supplemented by beef, sheep, and goat. Analysis of the cattle bones has revealed that cattle were domesticated, among the earliest examples yet known from West Asia. Wild animals hunted include red deer, boar, wild cattle, and sheep although traces of woollen textiles show the presence of domesticated sheep, wool being a product of domesticated animals. Beautiful pressure-flaked obsidian spearheads and arrowheads and flint daggers attest to the skill of the makers of chipped stone tools.
The finding of lead pendants and copper slag indicates knowledge of metallurgy. Fragments of woollen and perhaps flaxen textiles, like the wooden items preserved by burning, are unusually early examples. Patterns used in weaving may be depicted in the wall paintings here. Items from farther distances include Mediterranean sea shells, valued especially as beads, and turquoise from the Sinai.
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Evidence for religious practices is abundant. Over forty houses scattered through the many building levels have been identified as shrines. While their plans do not differ from those of regular houses, their decoration does. Craftsmen appointed these particular rooms with wall paintings, relief sculpture, free-standing figures, and the actual horns of bulls and caprines and jaws of foxes Figure 1. The wall paintings are of exceptional interest for their depictions of life in a Neolithic town. Some walls have up to layers of plaster, any of which might bear paintings — quite a challenge for the conservators.
The technique of painting consisted of natural pigments mixed with fat and applied on a background of white plaster. Subjects included the textile patterns already mentioned, vultures attacking headless humans, cattle and deer hunts, and wild bulls relentlessly pursued by humans.
One wall painting shows a stylized depiction of what may be a town beneath an erupting volcano Figure 1. Certain paintings were three-dimensional, reliefs built. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara. They depict bull or ram heads often with real horns incorporated into the relief , occasionally leopards, and a bear formerly identified as a female figure.
Free-standing figures similarly emphasize the magical power of animals and the desire for fertility.