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CATAL HOYUK

To this date, Catal Hoyuk is the oldest and largest Neolithic Age city found. Approximately 8000 years old, this central Anatolian settlement point is situated to the east of Carsamba River, which is fed from Lake Beysehir, and near the town of Cumra.

The population of the city is estimated to have been in the thousands which would have undoubtedly been the most crowded city on earth, at that time. There are a number of significant details about this city; for example, the first fabric, mirror, wooden bowl, methodic system of agriculture, cattle farming and the emergence of religion in today's format and various other objects were first developed and used here.

Under the light of all these findings, it is widely accepted that the site is one of the most important archaeological places of recent times.

Archeologist James Mellaart began the first excavations in 1961.This round of excavations ended in 1963. The next phase started in 1993. The technological advances made in the field of archaeology, archaeometry, instrumentation and various other related sciences created an advantage for the continuing excavation. This meant that any further finds could be removed with appropriate care and examined in detail with microscopes. If the excavation was not halted in 1963, perhaps many of the items would have been lost forever. It is only with the best chemical technology that many of the wall paintings are preserved today.

At the head of this advanced technological excavation is Dr Ian Hodder from the faculty of Archaeology,Cambridge University. With the permission of the Ministry of Culture and under the guidance of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, the excavation was possible with the financial assistance of the British Academy, the British Institute of Archaeology, European Union, National Geographic Society, Cambridge University and the McDonald Institute. It is planned that the project will take approximately 25 years to complete. Unlike other excavations, this one aims to set an example with its highly developed means of identification and preservation. A wall painting is not permitted to be removed until the appropiate laboratory conditions are provided for its examination.

Along side the excavation and laboratory groups is a registration group to record all the findings. The records of house plans and other information are all made directly at the site using computers. To compliment all this work, another exciting project is underway by a group from the German Karlsruhe University. Experts from the field of art and media technology aim to create an interactive graphic medium of the excavation site and the findings using cameras and computers. Already there is a computer generated animation highlighting Catal Hoyuk's past in stages. With the use of computer animation a sophisticated multimedia environment will be created where one can browse through the streets and homes picking up objects and tap into a vast source of information about the settlement.


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