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James Mellaart
James Mellaart
FBA (14 November 1925 – 29 July 2012) was a British archaeologist and author who is noted for his discovery of the Neolithic
Neolithic
settlement of Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
in Turkey. He was expelled from Turkey
Turkey
when he was suspected of involvement with the antiquities black market. He was also involved in a string of controversies, including the so-called mother goddess controversy[1] in Anatolia, which eventually led to his being banned from excavations in Turkey
Turkey
in the 1960s.[citation needed] Mellaart was born in 1925 in London. He lectured at the University of Istanbul and was an assistant director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara
Ankara
(BIAA). In 1951 Mellaart began to direct excavations on the sites in Turkey
Turkey
with the assistance of his Turkish-born wife Arlette, who was the secretary of BIAA. He helped to identify the "champagne-glass" pottery of western Anatolia
Anatolia
in the Late Bronze Age, which in 1954 led to[citation needed] the discovery of Beycesultan. After that expedition's completion in 1959, he helped to publish its results. In 1964 he began to lecture in Anatolian archaeology in Ankara. After his death it was discovered that he had forged many of his "finds", including murals and inscriptions.

Contents

1 Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
excavation 2 Theories about early Anatolia 3 Dorak affair 4 Retirement 5 Aftermath 6 Gallery 7 Works 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
excavation[edit]

Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
excavation

When Mellaart excavated the Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
site in 1961, his team found more than 150 rooms and buildings, some decorated with murals, plaster reliefs, and sculptures. The site has since been seen as important as it has helped in the study of the social and cultural dynamics of one of the earliest and largest permanently occupied farming settlements in the Near East. According to one of Mellaart's theories, Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
was a prominent place of mother goddess worship. However, many other archaeologists did not agree with him, and the dispute created a controversy. Mellaart was even accused of making up at least some of the mythological stories he presented as genuine. The furor caused the Turkish government to close up the site. The site was unattended for the next 30 years until excavations were begun anew in the 1990s. The city as a whole covers roughly 32.5 acres (130,000 m²), and housed 5,000–8,000 people, whereas the norm for the time was around one tenth of this size. The site stirred great excitement when Mellaart announced it and has since caused much head scratching. In fact, more recent work has turned up comparable features at other early Neolithic
Neolithic
sites in the Near East, and this has benefited many people in their understanding of the site so that many of its one-time mysteries are no longer real issues. Theories about early Anatolia[edit] According to Mellaart, the earliest Indo-Europeans in northwest Anatolia
Anatolia
were the horse-riders who came to this region from the north and founded Demircihöyük in Eskişehir Province, Turkey, in ancient Phrygia, c. 3000 BCE. They were ancestors of the Luwians who inhabited Troy
Troy
II, and spread widely in the Anatolian peninsula.[2] It was Mellaart who first introduced the term "Luwian" to archaeological discourse in the 1950s. According to Christoph Bachhuber, current surveys and excavations tend to support many of Mellaart’s observations on changes in material culture at a regional scale.[3] Mellaart cited the distribution of a new type of wheel-made pottery, Red Slip Wares, as some of the best evidence for his theory. According to Mellaart, the proto-Luwian migrations to Anatolia
Anatolia
came in several distinct waves over many centuries. The current trend is to see such migrations as mostly peaceful, rather than military conquests. Mellaart focused on the archaeologically observable destruction events of Troy
Troy
II (ca. 2600–2400 BCE). For him, they were associated with the arrival of Indo-Europeans from the eastern Balkans.[4] Dorak affair[edit] Main article: Dorak affair In 1965 Mellaart gave a report of a new rich find from Dorak to Seton Lloyd of the British Institute. Mellaart said that he had seen the treasures in 1958 in the Izmir
Izmir
home of a young woman whom he met on a train. She sat in front of him in the train car, wearing a gold bracelet which drew his attention. She told him that she had more at home, so he came over and saw the collection. She did not allow him to take photographs, but did let him make drawings of them. He gave the story to The Illustrated London
London
News, and then Turkish authorities demanded to know why they had not been informed. He said that the young woman, named Anna Papastrati, asked him to keep it secret.[5] He asked the Institution to sponsor publications of the story, but they refused with no real evidence. When looking for Papastrati's home, it turned out that the street address did not exist in Izmir, and her name was not found. The only document that can be traced to her is a typed letter that after examination appears to have been done by Mellaart's wife Arlette.[6] In consequence, Turkish officials expelled Mellaart for suspected antiquities smuggling. He was later allowed to return but later banned completely. Retirement[edit] As of 2005, Mellaart had retired from teaching and lived in North London
London
with his wife and grandson. He died on 29 July 2012.[7][8] Mellaart forged documents throughout his career. [9] Aftermath[edit] In 2018 Mellaart's son and the Swiss-German geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger published an investigation according to which Mellaart had fabricated extensive forgeries in support of his theses.[10][11] Gallery[edit]

Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
after the first excavations

James Mellaart
James Mellaart
excavating a mural in Çatalhöyük

Mural
Mural
from Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
excavated by James Mellaart
James Mellaart
showing neolithic hunters attacking an aurochs (Bos primigenius)

Detail of the mural showing the hind part of the aurochs, a deer and hunters

Reconstruction of neolithic mural from Çatalhöyük

Copy of a Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük
mural showing a boar and a deer surrounded by hunters

Female deity figurine

Neolithic
Neolithic
mirrors of obsidian from Çatalhöyük

Works[edit]

"Anatolian Chronology in the Early and Middle Bronze Age" ; Anatolian Studies VII, 1957 "Early Cultures of the South Anatolian Plateau. The Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages in the Konya Plain"; Anatolian Studies XIII, 1963 Çatalhöyük, A Neolithic
Neolithic
Town in Anatolia, London, 1967 Excavatians at Hacilar, vols. I–II, Edinburgh, 1970 The Goddess from Anatolia, 1989 (with Udo Hirsch and Belkıs Balpınar)

See also[edit]

Matriarchy Potnia Theron Religion in prehistory Slow Train to Izmir Venus figurines

References[edit]

^ Mallett, Maria. "The Goddess from Anatolia".  ^ James Mellaart
James Mellaart
(1981), " Anatolia
Anatolia
and the Indo-Europeans", Journal of Indo-European Studies 9, 135–149 ^ Christoph Bachhuber (2013), James Mellaart
James Mellaart
and the Luwians: A Culture-(Pre)history ^ Christoph Bachhuber (2013), James Mellaart
James Mellaart
and the Luwians: A Culture-(Pre)history ^ It could also be, it was speculated, that Mellaart was reluctant to tell his wife that he spent a week at the woman's home. ^ Mazur, Suzan (4 October 2005). "Dorak Diggers Weigh In On Anna & Royal Treasure". Scoop. Retrieved 9 July 2012.  ^ "James Mellaart" The Telegraph 03 Aug 2012 ^ " James Mellaart
James Mellaart
14 November 1925 - 29 July 2012" Antiquity Journal ^ [1] ^ Famed Archaeologist
Archaeologist
'Discovered' His Own Fakes at 9,000-Year-Old Settlement ^ Famous Archaeologist
Archaeologist
Faked Ancient Discoveries at 9,000-Year-Old Site in Europe and Elsewhere

Further reading[edit]

Balter, Michael. The Goddess and the Bull: Çatalhöyük: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization. New York: Free Press, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-7432-4360-9); Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2006 (paperback, ISBN 1-59874-069-5). Pearson, Kenneth; Connor, Patricia. The Dorak Affair. London: Michael Joseph. 1967; New York: Atheneum, 1968.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Mellaart.

Mazur, Susan. "The Dorak Affair's Final Chapter", at Scoop.co.nz, October 10, 2005. The Blog of Matt Salusbury, "The Dorak Affair, an archaeological mystery," a February 8, 2010 post

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 112258510 LCCN: n50007197 ISNI: 0000 0001 2148 0531 GND: 107607743 SUDOC: 068747659 BNF: cb12746140f (data) BIBSYS: 90659548 NKC: j

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