prehistoric mound (37°17′ N, 30°32′ E) situated 1.5 km west of the village of Hacılar, about 26 km (16 mi.) southwest of Burdur on the southwest Anatolian plateau, on the main road from Burdur to Yeşilova and Denizli. This small and rather inconspicuous mound is about 150 m in diameter and fewer than 5 m high. It lies in an intermontane valley at an elevation of approximately 940 m above sea level and 100 m above the level of Lake Burdur. Steep rocks overlook the village from a height of 560 m. At the foot of this great limestone crag is a perennial spring, known as Koca Çay. In this region of the plateau (Pisidia), also known as the Lake District, the proximity of the coast provides for a rather mild Aegean climate. Rainfall is abundant, with a current average of 30–50 cm; an occasional snowfall between December and February is not unusual.

The prehistoric mound of Hacılar was excavated by James Mellaart from 1957–1960, on behalf of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara. Mellaart had first visited the site, already known to the villagers of Hacılar, In 1956. He had been informed that painted wares similar to the sherds he found in the provinces of Burdur, Afyon, and Antalya in his southwestern Anatolia survey In 1951 and 1952 were being illegally excavated at Hacılar. Mellaart considered the discovery of a prehistoric mound with no overlying late deposits to be a unique opportunity to investigate the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in this part of the plateau. The stratigraphic sequence he published suggests that the site was first inhabited during the Aceramic Neolithic period. He briefly investigated seven phases of occupation from the period in an area of 150 sq m with a cultural deposit 1.5 m deep. It was impossible to determine the size of the village, but he did establish that its occupants had been farmers living in permanent mud-brick houses. The houses had plastered floors and walls and were comprised of small rectangular rooms, possibly including a courtyard. Some of the floors and lower inner walls were painted with red ocher. This village was abandoned for unknown reasons, and the site remained uninhabited for an unspecified period of time.

Following a considerable gap in occupation, architectural levels IX–VI revealed evidence of renewed occupation in the sixth millennium BCE. Of these four levels representing a Late Neolithic village, the earliest three were poorly preserved. The last level, VI, produced important data concerning socioeconomic aspects of the Late Neolithic community. The villagers lived in mud-brick houses built on stone foundations. These domestic units, with plastered floors, had a central courtyard and perhaps a second story constructed of wood. The units were no doubt occupied by fully sedentarized farmers. Unlike the mostly single-room houses at the Early Neolithic village of Çatal Höyük (with entrances through the roof), the dwellings at Hacılar were large, about 60 sq. m. They contained built-in features such as ovens, hearths, benches, and small storage bins; access was through a doorway along one of the long walls. The handmade and well-burnished monochrome pottery of the period has its roots in the Early Neolithic pottery of the southern Anatolian plateau. Light and cream wares from Hacılar levels IX–VIII were gradually replaced by the brown- and red-slipped and burnished wares of levels VII–VI. The pottery repertoire of this period consisted of cups, bowls, and jars. In level VI, carved and polished white-marble vessels were produced in small numbers. They disappear in level I. The chipped-stone industry consisted of flint and obsidian flakes, scrapers, angular knives, blades (including sickle blades), and micropoints.

The Late Neolithic village produced a large quantity of terra-cotta female statuettes in standing, resting, and seated positions that vary in height from 7 to 24 cm. Some of these figures wear some sort of a skirt and are sometimes depicted holding an infant, a young child, or a leopard cub in their arms. The community's economy was based on agriculture, supplemented by hunting, fishing, and cattle, sheep, and goat herding. Farmers grew einkorn and emmerwheat, barley, lentil, purple pea, and bitter vetch. Red and roe deer, aurochs, wild sheep, goat, and probably leopard were hunted.

After the destruction of Hacılar VI, by the mid-sixth millennium, the village was rebuilt (level V) and the Late Neolithic culture developed into the Early Chalcolithic. The most characteristic feature of this period (levels V–I) is the popularity of red-on-cream painted wares. The decorative patterns show a preference for geometric and curvilinear motifs. The pottery repertoire includes—in addition to simple cups, bowls, and jars—new shapes, such as collar-neck jars and oval cups.

Building remains from levels V–III are not well preserved at Hacılar. The level II remains suggest that the small walled village was composed of a few mud-brick units built on stone foundations. These units, which included a number of domestic facilities and pottery workshops, were grouped around several courtyards within the village.

Hacılar II was destroyed in a conflagration in the last quarter of the sixth millennium and rebuilt shortly afterward with fortresslike characteristics. The new village, Hacılar I, was much larger and roughly circular. It had a generous central courtyard surrounded by large blocks of rooms built in mud brick and forming the inner part of the casematelike fortification wall. During this period of occupation, Hacılar potters produced wares that differed from those of level II: in addition to red-and-cream monochrome wares, they produced large quantities of linear-style red-on-white painted ceramics. The repertoire of this period includes cups, shallow bowls, deep bowls, and collar-neck jars with square, oval, ovoid, and basket shapes. The female statuettes of this period are rather crude, compared to those from the Late Neolithic levels.

Evidence for the economic activities of the villagers is not abundant, but it can be postulated that farming still constituted the main subsistence economy of the village. This Early Chalcolithic village was abandoned at the end of the sixth or early fifth millennium.

Bibliography

  • Mellaart, James. Çatal Hüyük: A Neolithic Town in Anatolia. London, 1967.
  • Mellaart, James. Excavations at Hacılar. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1970.
  • Mellaart, James. The Neolithic of the Near East. London, 1975.
  • Singh, Purushottam. The Neolithic Cultures of Western Asia. London, 1974.
  • Yakar, Jak. Prehistoric Anatolia: The Neolithic Transformation and the Early Chalcolithic Period. Tel Aviv, 1991.

Jak Yakar