Excavations in Catalhoyuk
Catalhoyuk is a fully preserved site dating back to the Neolithic period. It's not only the biggest site of this kind, but also the best preserved one ever found. The residents of this area lived here from 7500-5700 BC according to archaeologists studying the location. The site is found in Turkey, around the city Konya. Nearby is the Hasan Dag, a famous volcano in the region.
The Catalhoyuk region is located near two other settlements, including one once occupied by Byzantine people. The other is a mound settlement that was left behind centuries ago. Archaeologists have found evidence that the Carsamba River once existed in this area. They've hypothesized that the makeup of clay and abundance of water made this a good place to grow crops.
The Catalhoyuk excavations began in 1961 when an archaeologist by the name of James Mellaart discovered the site. He continued working in the area until 1965 and uncovered artifacts that showed more about the native people. Mellaart was the heart of the project and created dozens of drawings that showed the artifacts he had found at the site. Later the artifacts themselves disappeared and Mellaart was accused of stealing them. The controversy became known as the Dorak Affair and ended with Mellaart being thrown out of Turkey and banned from returning.
The next series of Catalhoyuk excavations began in 1993. Led by Ian Hodder who worked at the University of Cambridge, he brought equipment previously unheard of during the earlier excavations. He took skills he learned while working with Mellaart and his new gadgetry to examine in depth the paintings on the walls. He also attempted a form of post-processual archaeology and his results made this a popular choice among archaeologists.
The official website for the Catalhoyuk excavations contains information pertaining to the history of the program, information about visiting the excavations, and any current projects. More information can also be found at General Information About Catalhoyuk. This Turkish travel website lists a longer history of the region, including the excavations held there over the years.
The official website for the excavations list their photographs at the Catalhoyuk's Photostream on Flickr. They list images from each season they work at the site and notable events such as a visit by Prince Charles. Images can also be seen at Catal Huyuk: The Temple City of Prehistoric Anatolia. This article about the site lists images and drawings of the paintings found at the site.