Çatalhöyük – an ancient city without streets

This is one of the oldest proto-city human settlements, which still surprises with its size and, above all, with its form. Take a trip to Çatalhöyük – an ancient city of roofs from 10,000 years ago.

The world learned about one of the oldest cities in human history only in the late 1950s. It was then that British scientists led by James Malleartleading excavations in Anatolia in Turkey, discovered the remains of the urban infrastructure from the seventh millennium BC. However, this was not all. Subsequent works showed the scale of the find.

It is estimated that the settlement functioned from about 7400 BC. It could have been inhabited by up to 8-10 thousand people. Thus, it was the the largest proto-urban center of the Neolithic period.. In a similar time Jericho lived up to 2 thousand inhabitants. It is worth noting that in the Middle Ages such a population was not present in Polish towns, including the capital Gnieznoand later Kraków.

At the dawn of human civilization Çatalhöyük was thus a true metropolis. Researchers to this day are impressed by the form of the unusual ancient city.

Houses without windows, a city without streets

Houses in Çatalhöyük were closely clinging to each other. They had no doors or windows. They were entered by a ladder from above, through the roof. And it was on the roofs that the metropolitan life of this passionate center took place. There were no streets or city walls.

The entire city was built from a building material that was not in short supply – dried mud. The average mud house was 25 square meters, so luxury was out of the question, especially since up to 8 people lived inside; there was also a stove, a hearth, and a grain store that was a separate room. So cramped was the everyday life.

This is probably why life took place outside – that is, on the roof, because the residents of Çatalhöyük walked on the roofs, not the streets. If there were “enclaves” near the ground, they were usually the remains of some demolished house. They constituted a kind of “courtyard,” although they were also used to dispose of waste.

Çatalhöyük - an ancient city without streets

The period of agricultural work is the most busy for sappers

Source: East News

Author: Craig Stennett/Eyevine

Grandfathering under the floor

A town without streets formed something like one big building. It also didn’t have a cemetery. There was no need for one. For the dead were buried in their own homes – under the floor, in an embryonic position, sometimes with few objects. So they were still “present” in the space where people lived, slept, and lived every day.

According to researchers, the proximity of the dead and burials of their successive generations (in some rooms, even dozens of remains were found) was a unifying factor for the community, emphasizing their common origin – the existence of a multigenerational “family.

Perhaps for hygienic or epidemiological reasons (of which they were aware?), decomposing bodies were not buried under the floor – only skeletons were buried. Earlier corpses were exposed to vultures. The birds “cleaned” them of flesh, leaving only bones.

Some of the dead were buried outside the house – in very important for the community rooms, which served as sanctuaries. They were not distinguished by their size, nor by the way they were entered, but only by the rich decorations inside. They consisted of various frescoes – from typically ornamental to pictures of animals, scenes from life, and symbolic motifs. A popular “decoration” of sacred places were large bull’s heads to which real horns were mounted. Some frescoes also depicted vultures flying over the bodies. These birds were probably a symbol of death.

The first wheat and the “mother goddess”

One of the oldest cities in the world grew in an ideally habitable place. The fertile plain in the warm and humid climate produced crops twice a year. In addition, irrigation was provided by a small local river.

This is where the oldest known wheat grains come from – they are 8500 years old. It is likely that the farmers of Çatalhöyük of that time, like the Sumerians and Egyptians later, used irrigation to irrigate their fields. In addition, they grew chickpeas, peas, and lentils, among other crops. They harvested almonds and raised cattle, which was their main source of meat. They hunted wild boar, fallow deer and deer.

The inhabitants of Çatalhöyük were great craftsmen. They made weapons and tools – mainly from obsidian, as well as objects of an ornamental, possibly ritual character.

Researchers during the excavations found a large number of human figurines made of various materials. Many of them depicted female figures – often with corpulent shapes. On this basis, until recently, it was believed that the city of roofs was ruled by matriarchy, and the main deity was a mother goddess. Today, however, this view is rejected, considering it simply an overinterpretation.

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