Monday, April 18, 2005

Claustrophobic Neolithic

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a new expedition to Çatalhöyük, the overgrown village that was called the first city. Attention is now being paid to whether or not the settlement had female-centered worship.
Excitement over the possibility that goddess worship existed as long ago as the Stone Age brought wide attention and crowds of new visitors to the site after the team announced last year that a "robust female limestone figure" had been unearthed.

Although badly eroded, it clearly represented a woman's body -- and it was the first intact figurine that the expedition's teams had found since Mellaart discovered a far more dramatic statuette of a majestic woman seated on what might have been a throne with her arms resting on the heads of two animals that appeared to be leopards.

But Mellaart's mother goddess was found in a grain bin, and the Hodder team's 3-inch figurine was found amid trash left in a grave, suggesting they were something less than figures of worship or power.
Thanks to Orbis Quintus.

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