Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


13 November 2014

Cappadocia’s 11,000-year-old settlement thrills experts

Hurriyet Daily News, 12-11-2014

Cappadocia’s 11,000-year-old settlement thrills experts

After 25 years of excavations, Aşıklı Höyük continues to thrill archaeologists, who believe the number of things left to discover at the site would allow for at least another 25 years of work or more. Professor Mihriban Özbaşaran from İstanbul University, the current head of the excavation and research project at Aşıklı Höyük, was a doctorate student when excavations at the site in the Cappadocia region of Central Anatolia began in 1989.

Her enthusiasm about Aşıklı Höyük appears to still be very strong, even after 25 years at the site, as the pleasure she takes from accompanying and briefing a group of journalists is very discernible. She hopes their visit will shine a spotlight on Aşıklı Höyük, which has been overshadowed by the popularity of archaeological sites such as Göbeklitepe and Çatalhöyük. Yet with its inhabited history dating back to 9000 B.C., Aşıklı Höyük is 1,000 years older than the Çatalhöyük settlement on the Konya plain and as the earliest village settlement founded in the Cappadocia region, the site is no less important.

Excavation studies undertaken at the site have yielded crucial conclusions about the history of the region. Aşıklı Höyük’s importance stems from findings that shed further light on the transition by humans in the region from a nomadic to a sedentary lifestyle, according to Özbaşaran. Nomadic communities, who survived by consuming what was available in nature by hunting and gathering, began to settle down in permanent villages and produce their own goods. “Before, they were in small groups on the move. Here is the first time they started to be together for 24 hours as a community,” she said.

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