Sunday, March 1, 2015

The World's Oldest City

     CatalHoyuk, located on the Konya plain in what is now Turkey, has been called the world's oldest city. It was first inhabited about 9,000 years ago by people who lived by herding sheep & goats and by hunting and farming. Some in the city were also likely involved in trading with other regions in the area where they were able to obtain obsidian.

     The city itself was built of mud brick and was first excavated by James Mellaart from 1961 to 1965. Millard found buildings where families clearly lived that often had burials in pits under the house (a common practice in various parts of the Middle East in ancient times), with one building having 67 burials under it. Other buildings were thought by Mellaart to be "shrines" (although some archaeologists now question this interpretation). These buildings contained platforms and pedestals which had animal horns mounted on them. These "shrines" also had paintings depicting animals, humans and the world's first known landscape. A number of "fertility" figures (clay statues of rather large women) have been found in these so-called shrines as well

     Numerous artifacts have been discovered at CatalHoyuk, including obsidian mirrors, pottery, basketry and flint daggers.

     Several websites contain information and photos of the site including the following:

           1) CatalHoyuk
           2) UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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