Small Clay Figures ofAnimals and People

Small lightly baked clay figures were found at Catal Hoyuk in levels IX to IV, stuck between the bricks in house walls and clustered in trash pits (Table 5; Mellaart 1962:Pl. VIIa-b,1963:Pl. XVIIIa, 1967:180, Figure 66; see also Hamilton 1996:217-219, Figure 12.1:544-545,498).Forms include humans with pinched heads and cylindrical bodies with outstretched arms, seated figures with pinched out legs, horned animals, and animals with pronounced snouts. The clay figures are simple, and coincidence is therefore an issue; nevertheless, similarities between the Catal small clay figures and contemporary figures from Gritille are striking, and may indicate a set of beliefs and practices that extended over large areas of Anatolia in the ninth millennium bp (compare Figure 4d with Mellaart 1963:XVIIIa,center). The fact that fragile clay figures such as a bovid and a human with extended arms remained intact (Hamilton 1996,Table 12.4)indicates disposal without much handling, perhaps soon after manufacture, thus eliminating interpretation as toys. Disposal in inaccessible places and in large groups indicate use as vehicles of magic, that is, in personal or household rituals (Tables 2 and 3). Based on the uniform treatment of the small clay figures from Catal-their association in the ground—I would argue that representations of humans, wild animals and domesticated animals are linked as part of a single symbolic system and any attempt to assign meaning to the figures must take the entire range of beings into account.

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