A firsthand account of the discoveries at this seminal ancient site in Turkey, one of the first farming settlements in history.
Çatalhöyük, in central Turkey, became internationally famous in the 1960s when an ancient town—thought to be the oldest in the world—was discovered there together with wonderful wall paintings and animals, including leopards, sculpted in high relief. The archaeological finds included the remains of textiles, plants, and animals, and some female terra-cotta figures that suggested the existence of a "mother goddess" cult.
The initial excavation was interrupted in 1965, and answers to the riddles of this Neolithic site remained unresolved until Ian Hodder initiated a new campaign of research in the 1990s. Described by Colin Renfrew as "one of the most ambitious excavation projects currently in progress, undertaken at one of the world's great archaeological sites," this has been a truly multidisciplinary undertaking, involving the participation of over one hundred archaeologists, scientists, and specialists. Hodder and his colleagues have established that this great site, dating back some 9,000 years, provides the key to understanding the most important change in human existence—the time when people moved into villages and towns, adopted farming as a way of life, and began to accept domination of one social group by another. Through meticulous excavation procedures and laboratory analyses, they peel back the layers of history to reveal how people lived and died and how they engaged with one another, with their environment, and with the spirit world.
Full of insights into past lives and momentous events, The Leopard's Tale is superbly illustrated with images of the art, the excavations, and the people involved in this world-famous dig.