3 Neolithic Sites of Türkiye

2/9/24

6 Minute

3 Neolithic Sites in Türkiye

The Neolithic Age stands as one of the most mysterious and intriguing periods in human history, marked by significant transformation. Recently discovered sites such as Göbeklitepe add to the intrigue, challenging our preconceived notions about the development of human history.

Türkiye is home to numerous remnants from the Neolithic Age with sites like Göbeklitepe being densely populated. Let's delve into the key sites in Türkiye that preserve the knowledge of this period, a time when humanity transitioned to sedentary life, paving the way for the emergence of agriculture, religion, and other complex social structures.

Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

The Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük, notable among the oldest sites we’ve uncovered in our journey into the past, emerges as a settlement advanced enough to be labeled a "city". Ruins dating back to 7400 BC have been unearthed, with the earliest settlement floor dating to 5500 BC. Uniquely impressive architectural structures, such as adobe houses built in a contiguous order open to the world through holes in the flat roofs accessed by stairs, and paintings decorating the walls of the houses and statuettes made of terracotta and stone, suggesting a mother goddess cult, have been discovered in the region. Çatalhöyük, located near Küçükköy in Konya, is an archaeological treasure trove offering insights into the Neolithic way of life. To get a sense of the experience at Çatalhöyük Site and to see how it feels to walk among the Neolithic ruins, you can watch our Uncovering: Çatalhöyük video on our Turkish Museums Instagram page.

Göbeklitepe Archaeological Site

Göbeklitepe, a crucial archaeological discovery in recent history, comprises structures built 12,000 years ago when humanity was presumed to be in a nomadic state, primarily engaged in hunting and gathering. Among the questions that remain to be answered is how these circular planned spaces, with its T-shaped, gigantic columns adorned with animal depictions and some human figures, were built construcred at such an early stage of history. Although the exact purpose of the buildings remains unknown, it is assumed o be a worship site rather than a residential area. Göbeklitepe is believed to be both the world’s oldest and largest temple, where local hunter-gatherer groups came together for ritualistic practices. Offering a fresh perspective on humanity's transition to sedentary life and the dawn of agriculture, Göbeklitepe invites visitors to reconsider the link between religion and human history. For a brief tour of Göbeklitepe, you can watch our Uncovering: Göbeklitepe video on our Turkish Museums Instagram page.

Aşıklı Höyük Archaeological Site

Aşıklı Höyük, the oldest known village in Central Anatolia with a history spanning 10,000 years, stands out with its uninterrupted settlement over 30 to 35 generations between 9000-8000 BC. Unique structures, presenting similarities with other Neolithic settlements, includes special-purpose buildings built separately from the dwellings. Aşıklı Höyük Archaeological Site also draws attention with its fireplaces, marking the first evidence of humans burning and extinguishing lime. It is also the first human settlement with traces of neurosurgery. A skull from Aşıklı Höyük, belonging to a woman in her twenties, reveals a hole with signs of cell regeneration indicating that the procedure occurred while she was alive, and that she survived for about a week afterward. For those interested in visiting Aşıklı Höyük, the archaeological site is located in Aksaray, and some of the artifacts excavated in the region are displayed in the Aksaray Museum.

The Neolithic Age was a pivotal era in human history, witnessing the emergence of the first structures and the organization of settlements. Although we still do not know exactly when and how these changes took place, ongoing excavations at Neolithic sites worldwide and in Türkiye continue to illuminate the steps of this historical evolution. We invite you on a journey through Anatolia to see the places and artifacts that bear witness to the most fundamental transformations in human history.

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