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920 m
Investigation Method:
Aceramic Ceramic


Location: The site is located 26.5 km southwest of the city of Burdur and 1.5 km west of the village of Hacilar.
Geography and Environment: The site lies in a valley 940/970 m above sea level along the northern flanks of the Taurus Mountains. The valley is 100 m above the level of Burdur Lake. The eastern part of the valley faces the Taurus mountains. The mound; which lies east of Koca Stream; has a 135 m diameter and is 5 m high [Mellaart 1970a:xii;189]. The Aceramic Neolithic settlement at Hacilar is the earliest settlement at the site. O. Erol's research in the area determined that these first inhabitants came to the area after Burdur Lake receded to 930-935 m [Erol 1972:35].
Research and Excavation: Excavations on the mound were conducted from 1957 to 1960; under the direction of J. Mellaart of the British Archaeological Institute in Ankara. It takes place in the registered archaeological sites list prepared by Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Stratigraphy: There appear to be three main cultural phases at the mound. The latest is the Chalcolithic phase; comprised of two layers; I and V. The next phase at the site is the Neolithic which is also represented by two layers VI and IX. The oldest phase at the site is the Aceramic Neolithic phase; which immediately overlies virgin soil [Mellaart 1970a: 92]. Recent research at the site questions the assignment of this layer to the Aceramic Neolithic. The discovery of ceramics in this layer suggests that the layer is actually Early Ceramic Neolithic in date. A sounding was dug at the site in 1985-86 under the direction of R. Duru; to research the Hacilar necropole [Duru 1994b:4]. During this excavation; ceramic sherds were found on the red painted Aceramic Neolithic floors [Duru 1987c:335; 1994b:5;fig.3/1-8]. After comparison of the ceramics with Kuruçay ware; Hacilar sherds were assigned to the Early Ceramic Neolithic [Duru 1994b:5-6]. Thus; it has been suggested that the layer originally assigned to the pre-Pottery Neolithic is actually Early Neolithic in date [Duru 1989a:101;104:1994b:7].
Small Finds: Architecture: Aceramic Neolithic: The earliest layer at the site; which is immediately above virgin soil; is the Aceramic Neolithic; comprised of seven (VII) occupational phases. The architecture in this phase is comprised of small rectangular mudbrick rooms with plastered walls and mottled red plastered floors. The walls are one brick thick. None of the structures were found complete. Since no doorways were found; it is suggested that the entrances to the houses were from the roof [Mellaart 1970a:3-4]. The lowest occupational phases; VII and VI are known for their plastered floors. Although only exposed in a small areas; occupational phase V is comprised of small rectangular rooms with mudbrick walls. The structural elements include ovens; rectangular hearths and silos. Occupational phase IV yielded floors on stone foundations as well as ovens and hearths. While some of the floors and walls are plastered with clay; some have been painted red and burnished. Ovens and hearths can be found not only within the rooms but also in courtyard areas. The relationship; however; between the courtyards and the houses is not clear. No structures were found in occupational phase III. The upper most occupational phases II and I were mostly destroyed by Late Neolithic layers. The floors of phase II are painted red and beige and repainted red. A rectangular hearth was found near the eastern wall of one of the rooms of occupational phase II. The thickness of the walls suggests that the structures were only one story high [Mellaart 1970a:3-5]. Because the Early Neolithic settlement was destroyed by Late Neolithic occupation and each occupational phase is less than 0.25 m in thickness and because the excavation was conducted in a 150 square meter area of which almost 70% was courtyard; the plans of the structures were not fully understood. Late Neolithic: The Late Neolithic habitation at Hacilar; built approximately 1000 years after the Aceramic Neolithic habitation was abandoned; is comprised of four occupational phases: IX - VI [Mellaart 1970a:8]. The architectural remains from this period; which were built partly over the Aceramic Neolithic habitation and partly on virgin soil; are very poorly preserved. The only architectural remains found in occupational phase IX were a support wall while occupational phase VIII yielded two walls forming a corner of a rectangular structure [Mellaart 1970a:10]. Occupational phase VI; however; is well preserved and provides information on settlement patterns. The large mudbrick structures built around courtyards are placed on stone foundations. There are no streets or alleyways. House plans differ although two roomed; L-shaped houses are common. Each structure has one 40-45 square meter rectangular room. In addition to this large room; side rooms for cooking and other tasks with ovens and hearths; platforms probably for grinding; grain storage cells; decorated table like platforms; benches; built in closets and dividing walls have been found. Entrance into the rooms is usually through the openings centered along the longer side of the rectangular structures. Windows; which are approximately 0.55 m wide; have been made to admit light. These thick mudbrick walls; which have been preserved to a height of 2 meters in some places; were plastered several times. The floors have been plastered with clay. The houses with 1 m wide walls were probably two stories high. The find positions (proveniences) of the intramural ceramics also suggest that these structures were two stories high. Large wood columns have been placed centrally in the rooms to support the second floors and the roofs. The roof was probably made with wooden beams and covered with branches; shrubs and hay and rush matting. This site occupational phase was destroyed by a large fire. Pottery: Late Neolithic: Hacilar Late Neolithic ware is usually hand-made; monochrome and burnished. Although rare; painted sherds have also been found. The painting consists of bands; lines and spots. The pottery from the oldest occupational phases (IX and VIII); is buff; cream or light gray in color. Occupational phases IX-VII yielded carinated forms; flaring rimmed vessels and forms with vertically or diagonally placed single or double lugs; Round bases are the norm. Bowls and jars are the most common vessel shapes. There is no difference in the pottery from occupational phases VIII and IX where closed bowls and jars dominate. In one of these levels; an oval-shaped vessel and a painted sherd were found. In levels VII and VI; in addition to monochrome reddish brown ware and buff ware; painted pottery is common. The gradual changes in the ceramics are continuous and the forms can stylistically be seriated. Painting is found mostly on pilgrim-flask-like forms with four lugs. This form first appears in the Late Neolithic and continues in the Chalcolithic Period. In occupational phase VI vessel shapes grow in size. The quality of the ware and burnishing is better. The most frequent colors are reddish brown; red and buff. Mottled colors continue. Another interesting feature about the ceramics from this period is the appearance of relief decorated vessels and animal-shaped vessels. The reliefs are also mostly of animals although human figures have also been portrayed. Anthropomorphic vessels; which are more typical in Hacilar I (Chalcolithic); also appear in occupational phase VI as a woman's head. Although very rare; painted decorated vessels were also found in Hacilar VI. The painted decoration; which is geometric in motif; is made in red on light-red; buff or cream colored ware. Very rarely white paint is also used. There is no difference in shape between painted and monochrome ware [Mellaart 1970a:99-109]. Clay Finds: In addition to ceramic production; in the Late Neolithic at Hacilar; animal shaped vessels; animal heads placed on vessels; and animal and female (goddess) figurines have been found. A large clay bull-head was found in a house belonging to occupational phase VI. Figurines were also found in occupational phases IX and VI of Late Neolithic Hacilar. They range between 7 and 24 cm in height. It has been determined that the head; legs and arms were made separately and later attached onto the torso. Female goddesses are found in a variety of positions: standing; sitting; lying; with their children. Some are portrayed with exaggerated breasts; stomachs and hips. The arms are short while the hands have been sculpted with care. A few had fragments of preserved paint; suggesting that they were painted. Among the other clay finds are flat clay figurines; clay balls for slings; spindle whirls; oval-shaped spoons and ladles and clay vessels probably for incense or oil lamps. These were all found in the Late Neolithic Hacilar VI [Mellaart 1970a:18;20;108;164;166-177]. Chipped Stone: The most common raw material for chipped stone tools in the Aceramic Neolithic is flint and obsidian. Among the few tools collected (a total of only 11 tools were found in this phase) blades made from the local flint and sickle blades were obsidian. Analysis determined that the obsidian was brought to the site from the Acigöl Region. The Late Neolithic chipped stone industry at Hacilar is a blade industry. Close to 50 tools were found in occupational phases IX-VII; while this number reached 500 in Hacilar VI. The most common forms are micro-blades; followed by; in order of frequency; blades; blade cores; retouched blades and sickle blades. Ground Stone: Polished celts from the Aceramic Neolithic layers were found together with chisels; beads and marble bowls [Mellaart 197a:6; 149; 153-154;157]. Among the ground stone tools from the Late Neolithic levels are the marble bowls from Hacilar VI; which stylistically resemble the ceramics from this layer. They come in a variety of sizes and have three or four feet. High forms and S-shaped profiles are common. Another interesting find is a mace head made of limestone with blue veins. Hollowed stones; flat sandstone slabs; beads; limestone animal and goddess shaped pendants were mostly found in Hacilar Late Neolithic phase VI. Many mortars and grinding stones were also recovered [Mellaart 1970a:150;158; 161; 176]. Bone/Antler: The bone tools include awls used for leather working; found in all levels from the Aceramic Neolithic to the Chalcolithic; as well as spatulas found in all the Late Neolithic phases. Excavations also yielded ring or bracelet like bone hoops and bone buckles. An antler axe handle was found in one of the Phase VI houses. Several antler sickles were also found in this phase [Mellaart 1970a:6; 158; 161-163]. Metal Finds: The metal fragments found in the ceramic bowls in phases VII and VI suggest that Late Neolithic inhabitants at Hacilar made use of copper [Mellaart 1970a:153]. Human Remains: The fact that no burials were found within the settlement at Hacilar in the Aceramic Neolithic Period indicates that graveyards were outside the settlement. However; the large number of human skulls found near ovens and on floors suggests that these inhabitants had a type of skull-tradition [Mellaart 1970a:6; 88]. The extra-settlement burial continued in Hacilar phases IX; VIII and VI where similarly; no burials were found. Among the remains from the burnt Hacilar layer VI; three burials were found. Two of these skeletons were found together while the third was alone. All three are believed to date to Hacilar VI/V transitional phase. One had burial goods including a red bowl; a woman's head-shaped vessel and a bone needle; while another had beads and a stone bowl. The third grave had no burial goods [Mellaart 1970a:88-89]. Analysis of their teeth has determined that the major part of their diet was based on grains [Mellaart 1970a:170]. Fauna: Analysis of the Aceramic Neolithic Period faunal remains determined that the only domesticated animal in this period was dog. Goat; sheep; large cattle; wild pig; deer; roebuck and hare bones were also found [Mellaart 1970:5; 246-247]. Studies on the fauna from the Late Neolithic period at Hacilar; on the other hand; did not provide any information on the domestication of animals other than dog. It is thought that cattle; sheep and goat may have been domesticated in layer VI; although this is not certain. The hunted animals include types of deer; wild pig; wild sheep; goat and cattle [Mellaart 1970a:9; 245]. Flora: According to the Helbaek's analysis; Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum) and barley in six rows (Hordeum vulgare var nudum) are among the domesticated grains from the Aceramic Neolithic levels at Hacilar. The wild grains include wild Einkorn (Triticum boeticum) and wild barley in two rows (Hordeum cf. spontaneum). Lentils (Lens esculanta) and a number of grasses were also used [Mellaart 1970a:5; 198; Esin 1981:36]. There is a great development in agriculture by the Late Neolithic levels at Hacilar. Wheat; barley; lentils; peas; and bitter vetch were stored in intra-mural grain-silos. The burned layers in Hacilar VI also yielded a large number of seeds and plant remains including a number of fruits such as berry of terebinth; nuts including pistachio and almonds and a number of grasses [Mellaart 1970a:8; 200; 209; 233]. Analysis of the trees used as columns for roof support determined they were pine and juniper [Mellaart 1970a:16]. Other: In addition to textile impressions found on ceramics especially from Hacilar VI; spindle whirls; burnt basket impressions suggests that weaving and textile-work was done at Hacilar.
Interpretation and Dating: The only 14C sample from Hacilar is from layer V and is dated to 8;700±180 BP or 6;740±180 BC (5;568± half life years) [Mellaart 1970a:6]. It is therefore assumed that Hacilar was inhabited for at least a couple centuries in the Aceramic Neolithic; constituting a total of VII phases; in the seventh millennium BC. The Aceramic Neolithic inhabitants; however; abandoned the site; creating a 1000 year hiatus [Mellaart 1961:74]. Hacilar was re-inhabited in the Late Neolithic period and continued to be occupied for approximately 500 years until the Early Chalcolithic (5;450-4;950 BC) [Mellaart 1970a:190].

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