Friday, March 4, 2011

Çatalhöyük, (now in Turkey)

Was there really a time when women were in charge of civilization?  Çatalhöyük may have been one of those times, (around 6000 years ago) or as Sid Reger taught in a recent workshop, all of the Neolithic may have been, as Marija Gimbutus proposed!

Catal Huyuk, 6000 BCE, copy

"This fertility figurine, like the Dolni Vestonice Venus, (see previous post on Neolithic Women Sculptors) was sculpted in earthenware clay and It displays the large breasts, hips and thighs that represent fertility. This ubiquitous sculpture depicted the ancient and primitive worlds’ feminine attributes of fertility and the survival of the species. .... It should be noted that Catal Huyuk developed into one of the largest ceramic centers in the Mid East, making the availability of clay and firing equipment easily obtainable. The importance of ritualistic ceremonies was still a part of the life cycle of this very stable agrarian society.

Jayne Shatz (who states that all neolithic pottery and sculpture was formed by women artists) also says, 'the potter’s wheel was invented around 6000 BPE, and within a thousand years, it was widely used. By the conclusion of the Neolithic period, 1500-1000 BPE, most of the ceramic work evolved into businesses, overseen by men.

Goddess seated with 2 lions

another source (Wikepedia, wherever it may have obtained its information) says...
"Vivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement, on interior and exterior walls. Distinctive clay figurines of women, notably the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük (illustration, right, from Museum), have been found in the upper levels of the site. Although no identifiable temples have been found, the graves, murals, and figurines suggest that the people of Çatalhöyük had a religion which was rich in symbols. Rooms with concentrations of these items may have been shrines or public meeting areas.

What Wikepedia neglects to mention, is that this small figure was found in a grain bin.  This suggests it had been hidden, perhaps to keep it safe.  From what, I wonder...

EVE (Equal Visibility Everywhere) has a great picture of the layout of Catalhoyuk here...(as well as some great book suggestions for Women's History Month)

Enjoy Women's History Month.  Let me know what you've learned elsewhere by sending me a comment!  Of course you already have this link, don't you?
The National Women's History Project.

1 comment:


    The title is misspelled, but it does take you via some wonderful music to the Greek/Turkic areas of shrines. Ancient Mother, I hear you calling...


Thanks for making this a more personal connection by saying what you think. I'll post your comments for others to see soon!