Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Goddess and the Bull, Catalhoyuk [Çatalhöyük, Catalhuyuk, Çatalhüyük, Çatal Hüyük, Catal Huyuk, Catal Hoyuk] - LexiLine Journal 354

As a graduate of Stanford Law School (class of 1971), I regularly recieve the Stanford Lawyer, which I always read cover to cover, including the class notes of all Stanford Law graduation years, for this latter especially gives me a sound perspective on life.

The Stanford Lawyer Spring 2005 issue which I just received has an interesting commentary by Stanford Law class correspondent Malcolm H. Furbush (class of 1949) which I would like to share with you since it applies directly to our major theme, the history of civilization.
Furbush writes:
"In the spring of 2000 I accompanied my friend Dr. Johan Hultin to visit the area where agriculture began (about 9,000 B.C.) with the domestication of einkorn wheat in the Karacadag Mountains of southeast Turkey near the city of Diyarbakir. The wild einkorn wheat is still growing in some patches in the mountains.... We had heard of the reactivation of large-scale excavation activity at Catalhoyuk (near Konya, Turkey) believed to be the earliest city. The current excavations are directed by Ian Hodder, a Stanford professor.... The purpose of this brief personal account is to introduce a new book, The Goddess and the Bull, Catalhoyuk: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization, by Michael Balter. M. Balter writes about the individuals currently participating in the excavations at Catalhoyuk, their many different fields of expertise, and how they are all adding to a comprehensive understanding of the material uncovered by excavation by following the conceptual approach of post-processual archaeology of which Ian Hodder can be said to be the chief architect. For those of us who have been archaeology buffs for as long as we can remember, this is a fascinating book."
The book looks interesting, but of special interest for us was the use of the concept of post-processual archaeology about which the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-processual_archaeology writes:
"Postprocessual archaeologists state that personal biases inevitably affect the very questions archaeologists ask and direct them to the conclusions they are predisposed to believe."
How true. How true.

Read more about culture history, and processual and postprocessual archaeology here:

AbsoluteAstronomy.com - http://snipurl.com/ggug viz. http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/c/cu/cultural-history_archaeology.htm
About.com - http://archaeology.about.com/od/pterms/g/postprocess.htm
Origins.net - http://www.originsnet.org/moremeth1.html

We would like to think that our own work at LexiLine and elsewhere is the dawn of a new archaeology which we call "evidentiary archaeology" - i.e. the past is what the evidence tells us it was and not what the professors tell us it was. I am sure that evidentiary archaeology would be a revolutionary approach for many archaeologists of any of the above schools.

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