Çatal Hüyük

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Çatal Hüyük


a Neolithic settlement that flourished in the second half of the seventh and in the early sixth millennia B.C. on the Konya Plain in southern Turkey. Çatal Hüyük, which was excavated between 1961 and 1963 by the British archaeologist J. Mellaart, occupies an area of 12.8 hectares. The cultural level, which is more than 6 m thick, is divided into 12 horizons. The rectangular dwellings were made of mud brick; they were attached to one another and access to them was from the roof. The economy was based on land cultivation, as seen from the discovery of wheat, emmer, and barley grains, peas, vetch, and almonds and the discovery of sickle insets and grain mortars. Cattle raising was also developed to some extent.

Beginning with the oldest horizon (12th horizon), small articles made of native copper and lead were found, along with tools made of flint and obsidian. Primitive clay pottery was discovered in the tenth horizon, but none was found in a number of succeeding horizons, which yielded vessels of stone and wood only. Clay pottery reappeared in the upper horizons in the form of flat-bottomed vessels of more sophisticated workmanship and occasionally with painted designs.

A shrine was also discovered at Çatal Hüyük, with paintings and reliefs depicting hunting scenes, animals, birds, and geometric designs. Numerous stone statuettes of people and animals were unearthed. The dead were buried in a flexed position beneath the floors of the houses.


Mellaart, J. Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia. London, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.