Essay Preview: Goddess Case
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Whether Çatalhöyük was a patriarchy or matriarchy society nine thousand years ago is a subject of considerable debate. Before the 18th century, European scholars generally believed that society began with patriarchy (Hodder 2005: 34-41). However, since 1900s some scholars such as Johann Bachofen and Marija Gimbutas have challenged the idea that “a phase of womens social power had preceded the patriarchal family” (Hodder 2005:34-41).
The discovery of the “goddess figurine” in a grain bin in James Mellaarts 1960s excavations at Çatalhöyük supports the speculation that Çatalhöyük is an early phase of matriarchal society (Hodder 2005: 34-41). However, during Ian Hodders re-excavation in the 1990s, he has worked against the female- dominant interpretation. The coherent lifestyles of Çatalhöyük citizens indicate no significant differences of the domain between the two sexes. One of the strongest scientific evidence Hodder suggests is that “if one or the other was dominant, then we might expect to uncover disparities in diet,” (Hodder 2005:34-41). However no obvious differences have been revealed in males and females diet through the analysis of isotopes in male and female bones by Michael Richards (Hodder 2005: 34-41). Neither does the study of teeth by Basak Boz, Peter Andrews and Theya Molleson show such variations (Hodder 2005: 34-41). Besides, the patterns of wear and tear on the bones demonstrate that both sexes had carried out very similar tasks during their lives (Hodder 2005: 34-41). Likewise, soot deposited in both sexes lungs indicates that men and women both appeared to have lived quite alike lives spending “a great deal of time indoors, breathing smoky air” (Hodder 2005:34-41), especially in the bitterly cold winter . The argument of “men had more of an outdoor and women more of an indoor life” is therefore not supported (Hodder 2005:34-41). There is little indication of daily life being highly gendered (Hodder 2005:34-41).
Burial in Çatalhöyük is another aspect Hodder looks into but no clear distinctions have been detected between men and women (Hodder 2005: 34-41). There were no particular burial arrangements such as burying men on the left and women on the right or in special rooms or the direction they faced in burial (Hodder 2005: 34-41). The artifacts found in graves of men and women do not show vast differences. However, a bizarre phenomenon is unveiled: heads were removed from both notable men and women individuals as a form of ritual after some time of burial (Hodder 2005: 34-41). Furthermore, the practice of shifting the burial room was not determined by the gender of the last buried person. “The burials implied equality” and gender is relatively marginal in assigning social roles (Hodder 2005:34-41). Hodder also claims that men and women played similar roles in their