Boncuklu Höyük, the ancestor of Çatalhöyük
Archaeological excavations are continuing in the 10,000-year-old Boncuklu Höyük (mound), located nine kilometers from Çatalhöyük, one of the world’s oldest settlements in the Karatay district of the Central Anatolian province of Konya.
At a recent press conference held to provide information about the works, the head of excavations and Liverpool University academic Professor Douglas Baird said that they are working with an international team of 60 people in the mound.
Stating that they are working in four different areas this years, Baird said, “We have been working for a very long time. We examine the finds from animal and agricultural remains to the finest detail. As a result of the examinations here, we found that grains such as wheat, peas and lentils were used 10,000 years ago. Again, unlike Çatalhöyük, there are impressions that the sheep was domesticated. Unlike Çatalhöyük, agriculture was less done in Boncuklu Höyük. However, when we look at architecture and settlement practices, this is a settlement that was established 1,000 years before Çatalhöyük. So we can say that this is the ancestor of Çatalhöyük.”
Baird emphasized that the history of Boncuklu Höyük dates back to very old times.
“It is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, so it attracts many archaeologists from around the world. Konya is a very important city for scientists in the world. Because Çatalhöyük is here. It is a registered place in the world where the first agriculture was practiced. In addition, our future work at Boncuklu Höyük will shed light on civilization. Again in Boncuklu Höyük, we see that people dug a pit to meet the need of toilet 10,300 years ago and built a separate area for it,” he added.
[HH] Community here spread to southeast Europe
Speaking of agriculture in Boncuklu Höyük, Bair said, “As a result of DNA tests, when we make comparisons with our colleagues working in Europe, we see that the population here spread to southeast Europe. We uncover their kinship relationships. We see that there are commercial trips to Europe for the exchange of agricultural products. We also found traces of mudbrick walls and oval structures in the mound. There are also remains of large mammals, fish and waterfowl. The area is quite wetland, covered with marshes and lakes.”
Baird said that they did not see intense architectural traces.
“The houses were built independently of each other. There are areas where daily activities and meals are cooked. A shared kitchen area is also available. This shows that they interacted with each other socially. We found detailed information about the belief systems of households. We saw that the skulls of some animals, especially the ox, were carved on the walls. We found that dead people were buried inside the house. In addition, burial tactics were applied to areas outside the house, not to the house floor,” he noted.