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A Long Season Puts Çatalhöyük in Context

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Science  29 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5441, pp. 890-891
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5441.890

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ÇATALHÖYÜK, TURKEY-- A marathon, half-year digging season that ended here earlier this month yielded new dates for one of the world's most famous Neolithic villages, suggesting that Çatalhöyük is not quite as old as the 10,000 years archaeologists had estimated--and certainly not the "first city" it has sometimes been called. This revised chronology, together with other clues, links the settlement with the cultural tradition of others of the time in the Near East, say the excavators. But Çatalhöyük remains unique, with up to 10,000 inhabitants crowded together for reasons that remain murky.