Neolithic Age


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III. Neolithic Age - New Stone Age  (8.000 - 5.500 BCE )

Kybele Mother Goddess of Anatolia

The word Neolithic consists of two separate words, Neos=New and Lithos=Stone, which make up New Stone Age. Neolithic age was the scene of many major developments and changes that the Human achieved after the relatively static Mesolithic period. The two important events caused this change, first was the cultivation of plants, and the second was the domestication of wild animals that both were acquired wild before. With the beginning of agricultural production by man, there was a problem that the man had to deal with, that was how to protect their crop from animals and enemies. So, human had to leave the caves and rock shelters that he previously lived in and build homes to stay within a close distance from his farm so he could keep his eyes on his farm. Actually Neolithic period is to be considered as the beginning of real civilization. Quite often, this period is referred to as Neolithic Revolution for its remarkable inventions. Because this period saw the major changes in human evolution, for example, village life began about this time, religion became a social product, some significant developments in the art forms, architecture, farming, fire baked pottery and ceramics, advanced tools and weapons etc, controlling the fire. 

 

One of the most striking developments was in the architecture. We don't have yet, any evidence of any fortified town or village in Anatolia. However, Neolithic houses were built adjacent to each other so forming sort of a defense system in place of massive fortification walls. Neolithic people built single-storied houses in rectangular shape, supported by wooden beams and buttresses. Most houses were built with a flat roof that provided working space where they prepared their winter food. Interestingly, houses did not have a door but were entered through openings in the roofs that they reached using wooden ladders. After entering their houses, they pulled the ladder down into their houses to keep them safe from possible enemies and other people in the village. Inside the houses were the raised platforms and benches running around the room which they used for sleeping and sitting. Underneath the benches were buried the dead. They also decorated their walls with spectacular paintings which depict religious figurines, death and excarnation, hunting, wild animals, flowers, geometric patterns, imprints of hands, stars etc. They painted even an erupting volcano. Ceramics and pottery produced during this period are mono-chrome were built in a better shape and polished.  

 

To name some important Neolithic sites in Asia Minor;
The settlements at Cayonu, Catalhoyuk, Hacilar, Norsuntepe and Kosk represent typical Neolithic towns. Although Catalhoyuk in Central Turkey is the most advanced among all, but Cayonu in the Eastern turkey goes back to around 7,250-6,750 BCE. which makes it the oldest Neolithic village in Turkey. The layout of Cayonu gives a square in the center of the town with some rectangular shaped monumental buildings and houses around it. Most of the buildings have the lower parts built out of stones and upper parts out of mud bricks. Apparently the people of this town knew the farming techniques and grew wheat, because many farming tools have been found at the site prove this fact. Besides the farming, various domesticated animals such as sheep and goats were also available in their towns. It is believed that the Dog was the first domestic animal of this period. Also, the figurines of a female deity found at the site are a clear evidence that the religion came to be an important event in their lives. Later, this female deity came to be known as the Mother Goddess of Anatolia, and has been worshipped for millenniums under the name "Cybele".

Another site in the Western Turkey, called Hacilar has built a well advanced civilization following the above town Cayonu. This town has been dated back to 7,040 BCE. The excavations made here have revealed that this town had produced agricultural produce such as wheat, barley and lentils. Also the remains of animals such as goat, sheep, dog and cow have been uncovered at the site.

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Travels around Asia Minor 1976-2002
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Last Update : December, 2011