The Wall Paintings at Catalhoyuk

Catalhoyuk is an amazing archaeological site in Turkey.  Recently, a group of archaeologists digging at the site discovered a set of paintings containing patterns with deep reds and reddish oranges colors, thought to be made with red ochre and cinnabar

The New York Times has an excellent article describing the recent discoveries at Catalhoyuk. Below are a few excerpts from the article:

Catalhoyuk — where people occupied mud-brick houses from about 7400 B.C. to about 6000 B.C. — is 60 kilometers, or 37 miles, southeast of Konya in central Turkey. The area is dotted with gently rising mounds that obscure the ancient roots of urbanization and draw archaeologists from around the world


The area was first excavated in the 1960s by another Briton, James Mellaart, now 85, who established that it had been home to an advanced culture of people transitioning from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a more settled farming life.

Their houses were uniformly rectangular, and entered by holes in the roof rather than front doors. Each had a hearth and an oven, plus platforms that seemed to have been used for sleeping. When a new house was needed, it was built atop the old one. The houses also served as cemeteries: The dead were buried beneath the floor.

Another find this summer was a row of 11 handprints inside a house and above a burial platform. Still another was the discovery of a young calf’s head that had been painted red and installed in a house, above a platform that covered nine burials.

Visit The New York Times online and be sure to watch the multimedia presentation to see some of the paintings, the handprints, and the calf’s head.

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2 Responses to The Wall Paintings at Catalhoyuk

  1. Ron Lankshear says:

    Wow Thanks for posting this – I read James Mellaart many years ago and what an amazing place. Used to be lots of discussion that it was just a necropolis but I think it is now clear they did live there…. And they wore leopard skins as I recall….. A year or so ago I read a book on Black Sea Flood when the land bridge to Mediterranean broke and turned fresh water lake into a salt…. and flooded the low lying areas… At around same time Catal Hoyuk was deserted. So author conjectured on was it the Noah flood. And he went on to link their Bull “worship” to later cultures such as Minoans etc…….


    • Ron,

      There is much about Catal Hoyuk that we still do not know. I just hope archeologists will help us understand the history of the site. If the site proves to be related to events mentioned in the Bible, that would be great.

      Claude Mariottini


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