Is it goddess or bear? The role of Catalhöyük animal seals in Neolithic symbolism

  • Ali Umut Türkcan Anadolu Universitesi, Department of Archaeology, Eskis¸ehir
Keywords: Anatolia, Neolithic Period, Çatalhöyük, stamp seals, wall reliefs, animal representations, fauna, symbolism

Abstract

Two examples of stamp seals discovered in the 2003 and 2005 seasons, one depicting a leopard, the other, a bear (both unusual with respect to their uncommon amulet forms reminiscent of figurines, and their recurrence in wall reliefs) provide a key role in understanding the symbolism of Çatalhöyük, along with the complex relations between some distinctive animal groups and their ritual role in the settlement. They demonstrate that the depiction of animals seems not to be confined only to the walls at Catalhöyük, but also appear as sacred symbols of the community on seals. The stamp in the form of a bear is another unique form that is also echoed in the large wall reliefs uncovered by Mellaart, which compels us to change some preconceptions about the ritual role of these wall reliefs, which have been interpreted as mother goddess images.

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Published
2007-12-31
How to Cite
Türkcan, A. U. (2007). Is it goddess or bear? The role of Catalhöyük animal seals in Neolithic symbolism. Documenta Praehistorica, 34, 257-266. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.34.19
Section
Articles