The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Jun 15, 2010 - Social Science - 416 pages
8 Reviews
Thousands of years before the pyramids were built in Egypt and the Trojan War was fought, a great civilization arose on the Anatolian plains. The Goddess and the Bull details the dramatic quest by archaeologists to unearth the buried secrets of human cultural evolution at this huge, spectacularly well-preserved 9,500-year-old village in Turkey.

Here lie the origins of modern society -- the dawn of art, architecture, religion, family -- even the first tangible evidence of human self-awareness, the world's oldest mirrors. Some archaeologists have claimed that the Mother Goddess was first worshipped at Çatalhöyük, which is now a site of pilgrimage for Goddess worshippers from all over the world. The excavations here have yielded the seeds of the Neolithic Revolution, when prehistoric humans first abandoned the hunter-gatherer life they had known for millions of years, invented farming, and began living in houses and communities.

Michael Balter, the excavation's official biographer, brings readers behind the scenes, providing the first inside look at the remarkable site and its history of scandal and thrilling scientific discovery. He tells the very human story of two colorful men: British archaeologist James Mellaart, who discovered Çatalhöyük in 1958 only to be banned from working at the site forever after a fabulous ancient treasure disappeared without a trace; and Ian Hodder, a pathbreaking archaeological rebel who reinvented the way archaeology is practiced and reopened the excavation after it had lain dormant for three decades. Today Hodder leads an international team of more than one hundred archaeologists who continue to probe the site's secrets.

Balter reveals the true story behind modern archaeology -- the thrill of history-making scientific discovery as well as the crushing disappointments, the community and friendship, the love affairs, and the often bitter rivalries between warring camps of archaeologists.

Along the way, Balter describes the cutting-edge advances in archaeological science that have allowed the team at Çatalhöyük to illuminate the central questions of human existence.
  

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Review: The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization

User Review  - Dunkthebiscuit Kendrick - Goodreads

This is the biography, if you will, of an archaeological dig. It doesn't give you more than the bare bones (pun very much intended) about Catalhoyuk itself, but is concerned more with the people who ... Read full review

Review: The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk: An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization

User Review  - Kate - Goodreads

I mostly enjoyed it, but it seemed really disjointed at times, and the ending was very abrupt. This is partially a history of the dig at Catalhoyuk, and partially about the findings of the dig. I ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Its Neolithic
7
A Prehistoric Art Gallery
21
The Dorak Affair
36
Ian Hodder
55
Return to Çatalhöyük
74
On the Surface
91
At the Trowels Edge
115
Burning Down the House
218
Always Momentary Fluid and Flexible
236
The Long Season
252
Till Death Us Do Part
272
Taming the Wild
292
The Goddess and the Bull
309
Epilogue
331
Notes
339

Dear Diary
134
The Neolithic Revolution
157
The Domesticated Human
173
Fault Lines and Homecomings
196
Bibliography
369
Acknowledgments
383
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Michael Balter worked for many years as a political, environmental, and travel writer with hundreds of features in the Los Angeles Times, Travel & Leisure, Islands, and the International Herald Tribune. Currently he is a correspondent for Science and also serves as one of the magazine's chief archaeology and human evolution writers. He lives in Paris, France, and can be reached at michaelbalter.com.

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