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Catal Huyuk Story

Catal Huyuk

Tick – 1,000.  Tick – 2,000. Tick – 3, 000.  Tick – 4,000; 5,000; 6,000; 7,000; 8,000 years ago.  I open my eyes.  It worked!  The time travel machine didn’t malfunction!  I have always been nervous about time travel, especially when I am the first to try the machine, like now, but I should tell you why I’m here.  TIME TRAVEL invites you to join me at Catal Huyuk, Turkey.

Now I find I am on a rooftop gazing out on fields of heat.  In the distance a volcano looms.  Purple clouds float at its summit.  The rolling fields end at its base.  In the other direction there are houses as far as the eye can see.  A long way off, the houses do end.  Out there, there are most likely more fields.  I plan to go down the ladder resting on the wall to find the door.  The door is, is, …is missing!  I scramble back up.  I peer down through a hole in the roof.  A woman smiles and welcomes me in. This is new – the entrance is on the roof!

I find myself crawling down another ladder.  This one leads inside the house.  The house is made entirely of mud, except for the shrine.  The shrine seems to be the main room.  Most likely this shrine is to a goddess.  Lots of animals are placed everywhere.  In the center is a bull.  I’ve heard of the importance of bulls in many cultures around the world.  Probably there isn’t room for a shrine in every house, but maybe every two houses.

This woman has obviously self-appointed herself my tour guide.  You could say that I’m on an official tour of Catal Huyuk.  All the houses are jammed together in clusters for safety.  This city-state appears to have about 6,000 people.  As I stroll around there  is lots of obsidian.  The volcano must produce plenty of it.  People are trading obsidian like money.  Obsidian is used in the making of weapons.  There are most likely many people who make obsidian weapons.

My “guide” comes to the edge of town.  We are walking into the countryside.  Catal Huyuk is on a floodplain. This provides natural irrigation.  Lush green fields surround us.  Peas are on one side, barley on the other, wheat in front.  In a small corner cows graze the grasslands.  All is peaceful; all is quiet.

I check my watch, 7:59.  Uh-oh!  I race back to the time machine and clamber in.  Ten seconds left.  I need to be back at eight o’clock.  The clock counts down.  Tick – 7,000 years ago.  Tick – 6,000.  Tick – 4,000. Tick – 3,000; 2,000; 1,000.  The clock has stopped.  Panic seizes me!  Still 1,000 ago.  Uh-oh!  I’m trapped, 1,000 years in the past.

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