Sad news arrived this week with word of the passing of James Mellaart (November 14, 1925 – July 29, 2012), the man who discovered Çatalhöyük in 1958 and made it famous. Here on site the entire team honoured his legacy by gathering on the crest of the East Mound where a speech was given by Professor Ian Hodder, a former student of Mellaart and the director of the current excavations. The speech was followed by a minute of silence.
Yesterday was the last day of excavations on the East Mound. Work will continue on the Chalcolithic West Mound until August 25th, however. At the end of six weeks we have excavated a total of at least thirty burials: fifteen dating to the Neolithic period, seven to the Roman period and eight to the Islamic period. By next week there will only be three human remains team members left on site. Jennifer Byrnes, a PhD student from SUNY Buffalo, will be working with the West Mound team and collecting data on the post-Chalcolithic burials for her dissertation, while Josh Sadvari and I will be finishing up the processing of the burials excavated this season on the East Mound and collecting data for several ongoing research projects.
Apologies for the relatively short post this week. I decided not to go into Konya to use the high-speed internet connection so I’m writing this from site using a USB internet “dongle” (what a strange word) which only seems to work intermittently. I plan to continue posting on a number of topics I’ve been thinking about over the course of the season, including the continued use of the site as a cemetery into the 20th century, and the potential discovery last week of a Sub-Saharan African woman in a Roman period grave. Please stay tuned!