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Paleolithic Age (Old Stone Age / 2 Million - 10000 B.C.)
Paleolithic Age, also known to be the old stone age, began somewhere around 2 million years ago, and ended 10,000 years before our time. This time period marked the beginning of the existence of the ancestors of man.The early man in the Paleolithic age did not know how to farm and raise crops, but instead, lived on picking up vegetables, fruit and on hunting. In search of new food sources, and to be able to hunt animals, man moved from place to place, and gathered in small groups. His dwelling was in rocky areas, under big rocks and in caves. In areas where this condition could not be met, he made easy and primitive shelters out of wood. Around 40,000 BC he started making simple stone tools for hunting and protection purposes. Between 40,000 and 10,000 was the glacial age on the Earth. Unable to move around much due to the climate, the primitive man utilized the skin of the animals that he hunted via the use of successfully carved stones. To make clothes he used pins made out of the bones of hunted animals and sewed the animal skin covers himself. During these hard times of survival, the discovery of fire was made, and along with this, came the ability to control it. With this discovery, man happened to have passed an important step in his development which helped him to be separated from animals. In this same period, the earliest notion of the need to believe in an other world or in a mightier power can also be traced: Food was left in the simple graves that were dug up for the deceased, and this is interpreted to be man's faith in afterlife. To sum up, the hard conditions of life in the glacial age led the early man develop better socially and technically. The passage from the very primitive man, namely Homo Neanderthal, to the ancestor of the modern man, namely Homo Sapiens, who is dated back to between 10,000 and 8,000, may also be considered in this period.In the last phases of the Paleolithic age, the early man could make tools in order to make other tools. The first works of art emerged in this era too: paintings made on cave the walls and various art objects such as low reliefs and figurines.The intellectual life of the man was beginning. Moreover, animal bones, teeth, shells and other ornate objects demonstrate the first aesthetic concern in man.
The fact that Asia Minor is extremely rich in fossils, fragments of human beings and animals, stones, bones and vegetation, as well as of works of art, all of which remained from the Paleolithic age, reveals that Anatolian land was intensely inhabited during this period. The most important place in Anatolia where all the three phases; Upper, Middle and Lower in the Paleolithic Age can be seen, is the Karain Cave on the 30 km northwest of Antalya. In this respectively big cave, there are various living sections from each of the three phases of the Paleolithic Age. Among the finds are many carved stones and bone tools, moveable art objects, the remains of the bones and the teeth of the Homo Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens, as well as burnt and unburned animal and bread fossils. The Karain cave in the Paleolithic Age is not a crucial excavation site only for Anatolia but also for the Near East.
Mesolithic Age (Middle Stone Age / 10000 - 8500 B.C.)
This period gives way to the most impressive development of the human kind, the New Stone Age. The Middle Stone Age is a period of transition of the human from the Old Stone Age to the New Stone Age. Hunting and collecting of plants continued to be the main supply of food, however humans began to store the food in storages for later consumption. Domestication of Animals is the main development of this period. At this time, the dog began to be seen as a domestic animal. From the wall paintings, we understand that the artistic qualifications of this period were almost equal to the preceeding Old Stone Age, and that perhaps a lsmall level of development was achieved. In this time period, the human had probably been busier with the invention of new things, that had made their lives easier.
Neolithic Age (8000 - 5500 B.C.)
This period reveals a new step in the history of mankind with the development of the established and settled societies, and in production of food. Anatolia, once again, gives the most comprehensive sites in the world for this age in the Çayönü, Hacılar, Çatalhöyük and Köşkhöyük excavation sites.
The Çayönü settlement, which is not far from the city of Diyarbakır, has been unearthed by the expedition teams under the leadership of Cambel, Braidwood, Mehmet Özdoğan, Wulf Schirmen, and it is dated back to 7250 - 6750 B.C. In the middle of the settlement is a center, and around it are monumental, rectangular structures and houses. The foundation of the structures are of stone, and over this are sun-dried bricks. The inhabitants of Cayonu are the first farmers of Anatolia. They raised sheep and goat, and the domesticated dog. Female figurines, which are the earliest traces of the Mother Goddess cult, were discovered here.
The Hacılar Settlement, brought to daylight by James Mellart, located 25 km southwest of Burdur, is dated back to 5700-5600 B.C. The walls and the floors of the Hacilar houses, which are made of mud-brick on top of stone foundations, are lime mortared and red-painted. Wooden poles used for supporting flat roofs and ladders were found at these sites. This suggests that some structures had two stories. In every house, there are Goddess figurines made of clay, in both standing and sitting postures. Different from other settlement areas, the dead are buried outside the cities. The pottery in Hacilar is well fired and comes in red, brown and yellow colors.
The Çatalhöyük settlement, 52 km southeast of Konya, and north of the town of Çumra is, dated back to 6800-5000 B.C. and it is the most developed center of the Near East and the Aegean. The excavations have shown that the city with ten different settlement levels was built according to a designed plan. This was achieved by arranging the rectangular planned houses next to one another around the courtyards. There are no stone foundations in Çatalhöyük and all of the houses carry flat roofs. Houses were made up of mud brick, and they were all built in accordance with the same ground plan. They have no doors. Instead, the entrance to these houses are through windows on the ceilings via portable ladders. The windows for air and light are placed on the topmost part of the walls near the roofs. The houses are composed of wide living rooms, storage rooms and kitchens. In the rooms, there are seats and furnaces. The dead are buried under the seats in the houses, after having been dried in the sun.The walls of the houses are decorated with bull heads and paintings. These paintings, which signify the rituality in the community, were placed in a corner in the houses, rather than in a special separate location within the settlement area. Bull heads are formed in high reliefs, like statues, and some of them are made by the covering of original bullheads with clay. In the formation of the wall paintings, red, brown, black, white and pink dyes on top of the gray mud brick are used. Among the motifs used are geometrical designs, flowers, stars, circles, and in some parts, depictions of life as well as human hands, deities, human figures, hunting scenes, bulls, birds, vultures, leopards, wild deer and pigs, lions and bears. A depiction of the eruption of a volcanic mountain ( very likely, the Mount Hasan, near Cappadocia) is the oldest known scenery painting.
In Çatalhöyük, we can also trace the early stages of farming. This is also accompanied with the worship of the Mother Goddess along with the holy animal, the bull. The Mother Goddess stands for fertility and multiplication of man. In the excavations that are carried in Hacılar and Çatalhöyük, hundreds of Mother Goddess statutes have been found. She, with her sexual organs in exaggeration, is almost always depicted nude and lies down in the postures of crouching, and especially in the process of birth-giving . The fact that similarly designed Mother Goddess statues could also be found in the Near Eastern and Aegean cultures signifies the existence of matriarchal societies in these regions in the same time periods. The Goddess Kybele comes into sight around the 7000 B. C. ( Most of the finds from this period are on display in Ankara Museum of Anatolian Civilizations).
As for Köşkhöyük, during the excavations carried by Ugur Silistre in Köşkhöyük, near Niğde, ornate pottery pieces and statues have been discovered.
Chalcholithic Age (Copper Age / 5000 - 3000 B.C.)
In this period, in addition to stone tools, copper pieces also come into sight. The need to change valuable goods (ceramics, textile) for both raw and shaped mines helped trade to develop. This brought about the exchange between people as well as the preparation of inventory listings with the beginning of communication. Symbols, hieroglyphs and writings with pictures came into use. By the end of the 4000 BC, cities emerged and the first steps of the human civilization were made.
Burdur-Hacılar level 5 (5500 B.C.) is the oldest site in Anatolia where metal objects are discovered. Regarding technique and forms; the handmade pottery production reached to an advanced level here, and the single-colored, polished, ceramic pots were produced as an alternative to the metallic pots which were respectively more valuable. The surface of the pots were finely polished with a special technique to create a metallic effect.
One other important settlement area of the Chalcholithic period in Western Anatolia is the Beycesultan site, going back to 4000-3000 B.C., located 5 km southeast of town of Çivril in Denizli, which was excavated by Seton Lloyd. Here, some of the mud-brick structures with a rectangular plan look like long megaron houses. (Megaron is a long and narrow room that has a hearth in the center). Inside the structures are hearths, seats along the walls and spaces for storage. Here, inside a pot, a collection of silver and copper rings was discovered, which was a part of a dagger and metallic pins. The ceramic of this period had a background of gray, black and brown.
The Canhasan site, 13 km northeast of Karaman, in Konya, unearthed by David French was a bridge between West and East Anatolia, and Mesopotamia for trade and cultural exchange. Copper rings and bracelets are among the most important finds here. Anatolia, which had the most advanced culture on earth during the Paleolithic period had lost its leadership in the Chalcolithic period to Mesopotamia and Egypt, after writing was discovered there. Due to the fact that writing only began to be used in Anatolia a thousands years later, the level of culture here could not go beyond that of Neolithic period primitive village, even though people were using metal in daily life.
Bronze Age (3000 - 1200 B.C.)
The Bronze age began around 3000 B.C. in Anatolia, around 2500 B.C. in the Aegean and Crete, and around 2000 B.C. in Europe. Bronze is obtained by mixing copper and tin (% 90 copper, % 10 tin). In this period, apart from bronze tools other materials such as copper, gold and electron, which is an alloy of natural gold and silver, were also produced for use in religious ceremonies. The people in this period lived in cities surrounded by fortification walls. Houses were built in rectangular shapes on stone foundations with sundried brick walls. Agriculture, animal husbandry, merchandise and mine production were the means of life.
Alacahöyük, 67 km to Yozgat and 3 hours away from Ankara was the most advanced settlement area in Anatolia in this period. The rich graves discovered here are in shapes of regular, stone rooms. The deceased were put in the center of these rooms along with gifts, in a posture were the knees were pulled up to the belly (hocker position). Animals were sacrificed and presented during the ceremony. Bull heads and feet were left on top of the roofs. Goats and sheep were also sacrificed. They might have been served to the attendants at the funeral. The graves are thought to have been used for many generations. Most of the gifts are composed of gold, silver, electron, bronze objects and decorative items such as diadems, necklaces, hairpins, bracelets, earrings made of precious stones like amber, rock crystals and other similar objects. Bronze and gold weapons, sun discs, deer and bull figurines, Goddess statues of religious services are invaluable works of art discovered here. Bronze spear heads were used for the first time, in Anatolia. They resemble very much their counterparts in Mesopotamia and Syria, which is an interesting point.
Another important place in the bronze age is Troy, Level 1. Dated back to 2900-2500 B.C., this city, the first in Troy, now partly unearthed, is surrounded by a 90 meter wall. Houses are in megaron type once again, and the entrances are from the narrow sides. Walls are of stone and set in the herring bone pattern. Level 2., Troy, is dated back to 2500-2000 B.C. It is built on top of Troy Level 1. The inhabitants of this level come from the Aegean and Balkans, like those of the first level. It is also surrounded with walls but this time they are 20 meters longer. The expedition team discovered a royal residence that belongs to a king on one of the hilltops. Heinrich Schlieman, the German businessman who dug the Trojan mound in 1870, discovered a treasury at this level of Troy 2. Knowing Homer's Iliad by heart, he was in search of King Priamos's treasury, and for years he believed that the treasury he had discovered at the site was the very thing he was searching for. In the last years of his life, however, he was to discover that the treasury actually belonged to a different level, the level 2, thus, to a different time period.
The Anatolian Civilizations From 1200 B.C. To Present
There were major changes in Anatolia in the wake of the Aegean migrations, which took place at the end of he second millennium. This event brought about the fall of the Hittite Empire, and during the first half of the 1st millennium B.C., late Hittites, Urartians and Phrygians, who had established kingdoms in different areas of Anatolia, took control of this area. At the same period, the Greeks arrived in Western Anatolia, via islands, as a result of the disruptions caused by the Dorian Migrations. After settling in Western Anatolia, they unified with local people and established the foundations of the Ionian civilizations. In this way the first colony settlements were founded. This period is characterized by motifs drawn by compasses and is called the "Protogeometric Age" (1100 - 950 B.C.). It is then followed by the "Geometric Age", represented with the alteration of round shaped motifs into angular ones.
Art, which had been always important in Ionia, had witnessed major developments, in terms of both architectural and sculptural characteristics, under oriental influences. The foundations of giant temples were established in this period. The anatomical characteristics of the human body were worked out more realistically on the sculptural work in comparison with the ones from protogeometric or geometric ages. Big marble statues were first made in 670 BC. and the painted pottery of the Eastern Greeks, which were decorated with animal friezes, continued to be produced under the vigorous influences of Anatolia.
The big sized pieces of art produced during the Archaic period, a continuation of the orientalised style, also establishes the characteristics of this style to a certain extent. The statues and the Ionian architecture of the Western Anatolian culture of this period established the infrastructure of "The Classical Age" of the Western Aegean.
There were Carian and Lycian civilizations in the southwestern Anatolia during 700 - 300 B.C. The rock tombs of these civilizations are the most distinguished traces which were left by them in this region of Anatolia. However, the control of central Anatolia was under the Lycian Kingdom with the center of the Kingdom located at Sardis. By extending their boundary up to Kızılırmak, they took over the control of the Phrygians and, thanks to the good relations with Ionian city-states, they also included Ephesus into their territory and became the most powerful state in the region. They minted the first metal coin in the seventh century B.C., and re-proved their importance. After wards, Lydia was vanquished by the Persian Empire in 546 B.C. The civilizations in western Anatolia intermingled with Greek and Persian civilizations resulting in the creation of a Greco-Persian style. This situation was ended with the invasion of Anatolia by Alexander the Great, which resulted in a new period called "Helenistic Age" started (330 - 30 B.C.). After the death of Alexander the Great, as a result of the internal struggles between his generals, this powerful kingdom was shared between them, and most of Anatolia entered the rule of King of Pergamon. Western Anatolia entered the rule of Romans.
Anatolia, which became a part of the Roman Empire by means of a will, was Romanized by peace rather than war, and continued to preserve its own traditional cultural characteristics. These regional characteristics were dominant even in the most powerful periods of the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire split into two, the old Greek city "Byzantion" became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (330 B.C.) and received the name of "Constantinopolis" in honor of the name of the Emperor. Byzantine art is a mixture Roman art, which came into being in Anatolia with dominant regional characteristics, with the characteristics of Christianity. The Byzantium civilization had a life of thousands of years over the span of time between the 4th and 15th centuries.
The Oğuz Turks, who had been living at the west of Transoxiana, accepted the Moslem religion in the 10th century and in order to spread it, started raids to Byzantine territory. The Malazgirt Battle, which took place in 1071, opened the doors of Anatolia to Turks. The Seljuk Turks, who arrived in İznik and accepted it as their capital, turned to Anatolia to a province of the Great Seljuk State. After the collapse of the Great Seljuk State, the Anatolian Seljuk State was established and the capital was moved to Konya.
The Anatolian Seljuk State came to an end as a result of the Mongol invasions, and Anatolia entered the rule of İlkanid Turks. For a period of time, it was governed by different Turkish rulers, then living in different regions in Anatolia. On the arrival of the Kayı Tribe of Oğuz Turks in Anatolia, the Seljuks' Sultan showed the Söğüt area near Byzantine territory as a place for them to settle. Thus the foundations of an Empire, which would continue for 600 years was established. Expanding their borders, the descendants of Osman captured Bursa and made it the capital. After some time, they captured the Byzantine lands on Thrace and moved their capital to Edirne. In 1453 İstanbul became the capital, and became a culture and art city. Ottoman art is a synthesis of the Turkish-Islamic art and Anatolian culture.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire became very weak and was thus occupied from four sides. In 1919, the Independence War started, and in 1923, the Turkish Republic was declared.