"I needed to categorize the clay balls in
some way. I don't know if I will stick with these categories as my
research progresses ... I'll just have to wait and see. Basically I
have lumped the clay balls into three groups."
See Sonya's 1998 field report on the clay balls.
"The minute I saw the clay balls I knew I was going to study them. You
can just imagine --my area of expertise is clay and pottery --I arrive
at Çatalhõyük and find thousands of clay balls all over the site. WOW!!"
There are many different types of Clay Balls found.
Take a closer look
at the types.
How do I study the clay balls?
"I don't have a blueprint to work from. When people working at
the site learned I was interested in studying the clay balls, a
lot of people thought I was crazy. Actually I find all the
different theories people have about what they were used for
Questions and mysteries that I like to think about:
- I want to know what the clay balls were really used for: cooking? counting? sport? building tools?
- Did they intentionally make the clay balls in three sizes? (Small, medium and large?)
- Did one person or a small group of people make the clay balls? Or were they made by many different people?
- Were the smaller miniballs made by children? Who do the fingerprints found on the miniballs belong to?
- Why are there so many clay balls found at Çatalhöyük?
- Do the clay balls have lipids or proteins from food? (I will be testing and analyzing the clay balls for this during my work at Çatalhöyük.)
- Can I boil water faster or cook bread and meat faster by heating up clay balls in a fire and then using them to cook food with? (I hope to test out this theory)
- If the clay balls were used for hunting, how come researchers have never found a mural that includes scenes of people hunting with clay balls?
- What other groups of people from different cultures used objects similar to the clay balls?
- Over the life span of Çatalhöyük, .do the clay balls decrease in number as the amount of pottery shards increases?
- Did the charring found on many of the balls happen while the balls were being manufactured or did it happen after? (I will be testing samples of the clay balls that will help me determine this.)
- Did the people of Çatalhöyük use the clay balls to absorb toxins from food -- like the tubers they ate? (Many other cultures have used clay cookery for this reason)
- What can I learn about the clay that was used to make the clay balls. What's inside the clay balls?
- Are the little miniballs related to the clay balls? Where exactly did the clay come from that was used to make these clay balls?
- Wet clay is really heavy. Why would the people of Çatalhöyük carry heavy clay a long way to make clay balls with when there was plenty of clay all around them?
- What insights will I gain from trying to make clay balls?