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Secrets of Turkey's Çatalhöyük to be revealed this summer

KONYA - Anatolia News Agency | 6/24/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The latest findings uncovered during the ongoing excavations at Çatalhöyük, one of the oldest settlement areas in human history, will be revealed to the world at the end of the summer. A member of the international archaeological team says the results will be published and discussed in a scientific environment

Archaeological findings unearthed at Çatalhöyük, one of the oldest known settlement areas in human history, will be shared with the public at the end of the summer, according to a member of the international excavation team.

“This information will enable us to learn more details about human beings’ unknown journey in the world. These results do not only concern archaeologists but also scientists in many fields, from medicine to engineering,” archaeologist Gülay Sert said, announcing that scientific publications will be prepared as a result of the excavations and shared with the world this summer.

“The publications are already making all archaeologists who are interested in the Neolithic age excited,” Sert said, adding that the findings will be discussed in a scientific environment by the excavation team members. “The main goal of the work at Çatalhöyük is to gain information about diseases and plants and their effects on people during that period.”

Located in the Çumra district of the Central Anatolian city of Konya, Çatalhöyük is one of the most important archaeological centers in the world. It is thought to be where sheep and goats were initially domesticated and previously nomadic human beings first led a settled life. The wall paintings in the ancient city are regarded as some of humanity’s earliest artworks.

This year’s ongoing excavation work was started by a Trakya University team in western Çatalhöyük, which is the second settlement area of the Chalcolithic age. A large part of the team will start excavations in eastern Çatalhöyük, the settlement area of the Neolithic age, after July 15.

[HH] Educational focus

Archaeologists on the excavation team, including team leader Professor Ian Hodder from Stanford University in the United States, have come to Çatalhöyük from all over Turkey and from around the world. As most of the archaeological findings regarding life 9,000 years ago have already been uncovered during the excavations to date, the next phase of work will proceed at a slow tempo and mostly focus on education.

The Çatalhöyük research area is not only limited to the ruins where excavation work continues. In recent years, laboratories have been built on the campus established near the ancient city under the sponsorship of Boeing and Yapı Kredi Bank.

Professor Hodder, who has created a new “Hodder School” in world archaeological literature, helps the young archaeologists on his team get experience in this ancient city.

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[HH] About Çatalhöyük

The first excavation work in Çatalhöyük was carried out in the 1960s by British archaeologist James Mellaart and his team. Professor Ian Hodder took over the excavation work at the ancient site in 1993.

Currently an international excavation team of more than 100 people is working in Çatalhöyük, which is visited by some 13,000 people each year. They are trying to find out about diseases, genetic features and plants and animals in the area.

A number of historical artworks have been found during the excavations. Among the findings there is a female figure known as the “Goddess Kybele,” which is on display at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.

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