What are they excavating at Çatalhöyük?
Archaeologists are excavating the remains of a Neolithic town. 9,000 years ago, this place was one of the world's largest settlements. At a time when most of the world's people were wandering hunter-gatherers, as many as 10,000 people lived at Çatalhöyük.
What does Çatalhöyük mean?
Çatalhöyük means 'forked mound' and refers to the site's east and west mounds, which formed as centuries of townspeople tore down and rebuilt the settlement's mud-brick houses. No one knows what the townspeople called their home 9,000 years ago.
Where is Çatalhöyük?
The site is in central Turkey, southeast of the modern city of Konya. Archaeologists believe the ancient city covered an area the size of 50 soccer fields!
Are the excavations going on now?
The excavations began in the 1960s headed by a British archaeologist named James Mellaart but were stopped due to the technical inability at that time to adequately preserve the findings. The dig restarted in the 1990s and will continue into the second decade of the 21st century! Archaeologists are on site during the Turkish summer, but work on the restoring and analyzing findings year 'round.
Can I visit the site?
Yes! The season varies each year but if you are in Turkey between June and August you may be able to see the excavation in process. The site itself is open year-round. Need directions?
Who is working on Çatalhöyük?
An international team of archaeologists and other specialists work on and off site from countries including (but not limited to) Turkey and the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Poland, Greece, South Africa, Spain and Germany.
Why are they studying Çatalhöyük?
To learn more about the Neolithic Period, or New Stone Age, when people settled down to store the wild wheat and barley grains they collected, eventually beginning to save and plant the biggest seeds, and then raise animals, too.
How old is the ancient city?
It is 8 ,000 to 10,000 years old.