Stone Figures

The distribution of stone figures is in complementary distribution to that of clay figures. Based on Mellaart's publications, only four stone pieces (three statuettes and a human head) were found in levels V through II (Table 5 with references). The two statues from these levels that have been illustrated are both female, and although neither appears to be pregnant they share iconographic elements with the clay figures (Mellaart 1962:Pls. VIIIc, IX). Most of the stone figures (thirty-one of thirty-five figures documented by Mellaart) are from levels VI and VII, and the majority of these are from two buildings in level VIA (Table 5). Both large groups from level VIA

3It is frequently stated that these fat/pregnant figures exhibit a "normal" body type for central Anatolian females (e.g.,Hamilton 1996:225). Observation of women in two Turkish villages where I lived for periods of two to three months during each of fourteen years field seasons between 1981 and 1997 has given me the strong impression that most women of childbear-ing age are relatively slim and almost always pregnant. This does not represent a scientific conclusion, but it is supported by conversations with both women and men in Biriman and Yassi Hoyuk and by comments made about young American women who resembled the Catal clay figures and were emphatically "too fat" for local tastes.

include relatively realistic figures and highly schematic figures. The condition of realistic human figures varies, but many had been broken, and not necessarily at the structurallyweakest point, the neck. Thus at least some of the stone figures were deliberatelybroken before disposal (see also Hamilton 1996:219-221,Table 12.4).

Each of the level VI structures that contained stone figures was burned, and Mellaart notes that after the fire the "Leopard Shrine" (VIA.44) was deliberately filled with trash (Mellaart 1964:78).The available evidence suggests that sculpted figures on the walls of both buildings with large figurine clusters were also destroyed before being damaged by fire: in the Leopard Shrine Mellaart states that before the fire the leopards had been covered with a layer of white plaster (above more than forty layers of painted plaster) (1964:42,45); in "ShrineVIA.10" a relief of a quadruped "goddess"was found collapsed above a series of bulls heads, with no trace of an upper body (Mellaart 1963:70-73,PI. XIII). The cause of the fires that destroyed part of level VIB and all of VIA cannot be determined without more detailed evidence (from new excavation or old field books), but Mellaart does tell us that below level VI there were no fires, and that fires ended each of the following building levels, V to 0 (Mellaart 1964:115).This consistent pattern suggests design rather than accident. On a practical level, burning would have destroyed vermin infesting walls and roofs, reducing threat (bites, disease) from snakes, insects, and other vermin. On the other hand, there is a clear and undeviating destruction of at least one type of relief when buildings were abandoned (the "modeledgoddess"discussed below); itis,there-fore, possible that ritual played some role in the level VI destruction, a suggestion also made by Hamilton (1996:219) and Hodder (1996:365).

To summarize, the material used in manufacture, iconic elements, recovery of groups of statues that vary in form, and ritual destruction all point to the use of the stone figures as cult figures (Tables 2 and 3). Whether this cult was domestic or associated with multihousehold groups (as suggested for Nevali Sori) cannot be determined. Mellaart'sdivision of the Catalbuild-ings into "shrines"and "houses"has always seemed arbitrary based on his own publications, and micromorphological evidence from the site "serves to further blur the distinction"(Hodder 1996:362;see also Hamilton 1996:226227) since to date there are no large buildings that do not have evidence of domestic use. This is not to say that large communal buildings used for ritual were not present within the settlement. Large-scale excavations at the earlier but closely related site of Asikli Hoyuk, to the northeast of Catal, have revealed a settlement with two distinct quarters divided by a broad street (Esin 1993, 1998). To the north of the street are one- to three-room mud-brick houses built side by side, the "pueblo" plan familiar from Catal; to the south of the street are two large structures built of stone as well as brick, with traces of paint on the floors of the smaller structure (Esin 1993:Fig-ure 1; 1998:97). Esin considers these to be ritual structures, an inference strengthened by a similarity in plan of the larger building from Asikli (which has a series of narrow compartments to the north of the large main room) and the Skull Building from Cayonu (see above).

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