|Entry: || Diary Craig 8-9-97|
Here goes my second attempt to write a diary of August as the first was kindly wiped by some person who obviously has less working knowledge of computers than an amoebae. This is basically an attempt to summarize most of what has gone on in space 113/150-51 so far this season. It falls into three main areas - most of the space apart from the platform, the platform and walls.
MOST OF THE SPACE
The first group was a series of deposits , , ,  and  which were basically a group of floors and make-ups mainly excavated by Mellaart but with small areas surviving in the south-west corner. A bit tedious and not much use given their truncation. There was also a small deposit  in the north-east corner than I couldn’t do much with. These are all probably phase VII.
The first major thing tackled was  a general layer covering all of the space apart from the south-east platform. This had weathered badly being the level left by Mellaart but seemed to be a general infilling deposit, presumably representing the construction of the phase VII house. Beneath this was a coprolite spread  and a packing or dump deposit .
This then came down onto another general layer  which appeared to be some form of rough sloping temporary surface in the room which is probably associated with the construction of the phase VII building - perhaps they stopped at this stage while they worked on the walls? This surface had the appearance of having been in existence for some time [? Days or weeks ] which is partially confirmed by the coprolite spread  and a small possible obsidian knapping event .
The removal of  revealed the collapsed top of oven 87 -  and  plus its infilling . It also showed that some packing  had been placed against the western side of the platform, this packing was probably partly for support but also to provide a slope up so that  was almost level with the western side of the platform.
Beneath  were some quite thick and generally sterile infilling layer which was arbitrarily subdivided as ,  and . These were made a priority but were generally quite sterile with few artefacts. When this was removed some earlier walls /ridges were revealed with more infilling in the western part of the room. As it was felt that a floor might be close these two infillings which were divided by a narrow wall 252 were subdivided as , , ,  and , ,  and . The southern group  etc came down onto a dirty trample layer  apparently above a floor while the northern group  etc which appear to be in a sunken feature came down onto more infilling  and . In the eastern area there were no more infilling deposits below  etc, instead this came down onto a dark trample deposit divided up as , , , , , ,  and .
The ‘platform’ in the south-east corner was partially investigated by Naomi last year and by Mellaart in the 1960’s. Its description as a platform is questionable as it may simply have been a raised area in one corner rather than a classic platform. It does seem to have stood above the general room level on its northern side but on its western side  sloped up to the top of it over . In the south-east corner of the platform were some truncated deposits  - possible collapsed wall,  - floor/wall plaster and a layer . These are all probably remnants of the phase VII house.
Below them was a large pit  with fills , ,  and . These were made a priority but did not contain much of interest apart from traces of a mat/basket X1 and X2 in  which suggest that the pit was open at this depth for at least a night. The pit seems to belong to phase VII but does not have any obvious function - it was not for burials, there is no evidence that it was for removing anything and there were no primary fills suggesting that any activities had taken place in the pit. One possibility is that it relates to the southern end of oven 252.
On the south-west part of the platform were two obsidian caches  and  in shallow cuts  and  with 35 and 15 pieces of obsidian respectively. The obsidian consists of roughly worked blanks which may be how this material arrived at Catal. The caches may well be how obsidian was stored and an earlier cut  in the same location may have contained obsidian which was removed. If we accept this functional explanation why was the obsidian never recovered and why was it placed just inside doorway 95. Perhaps we are looking at a combination of ritual and functional ie the obsidian had to be stored somewhere but was ritually ‘dangerous’ or some such stupid term and had to be kept in a liminal location. Then for some reason, eg pollution by the death of its owner, it could not be recovered. This is all of course simply a nice little fairly tale.
The obsidian caches were above a series of slumped floors  as was pit  and pit  was also above floor  at the eastern end of the platform.  and  may well be related. Under these floor were a series of levelling/infilling layers , , , , ,  and  and a firm blocking deposit  which filled doorway 250].
The phase VII walls consisted of feature 75 - southern wall, feature 88 - eastern wall and feature 90 western wall. Eastern wall 88 seems to be purely a surviving earlier wall where as 75 and 90 were new constructions. This may be because 88 had been protected by the adjacent wall of shrine 14 and was still stable whereas the other earlier walls had weathered more and had to be partially demolished. The southern wall is particularly interesting as it had a doorway - feature 95 / cut  - which was blocked with  and , presumably when the building directly to the south was constructed. This was subsequently partially re-opened  and used as a niche before being reblocked  and . The part of the wall to the east of the doorway -  and  has been demolished and was definitely later the eastern wall 88. The western wall has not been touched yet but seems to be a single build without features although it is more interesting from the space 112 side.
Apart from some walls which may go soon all the phase VII deposits have gone. I would place in phase VII contexts -
1876, 1874, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1881, 1871, 2023, 2018, 2026, 2038, 2053, 2052, 2039, 2054, 2055, 2062, 2063, 2064, 2065, 2310, 2028, 2036, 2047, 2059, 2050, 2072, 2092, 2093, 2094, 2095, 2098, 2099, 2300, 2367, 2368 and 2369. To this need to be added bits of walls 75 and 90.
Then we have the infilling/constructional phase between Mellaart’s phase VII building and the earlier ?VIII building. We should probably have a new non-Mellaart sequence so this can be phase A -
1883, 1893, 1897, 1886, 2007, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2030, 2019, 2082, 2332, 2333, 233, 2335, 2336, 2337, 2338, 2339, 2354, 2355, 2314, 2315, 2316, 2317, 2319, 2074, 2081, 2319, 2318.
Phase B can be the occupation of the earlier building, so far this is -
2702, 2346 to 2352, 2356, 2357.
I have probably missed some and the phases could be subdivided but I quite like it as it stands. The one big problem is did spaces 150 and 151 go out of use at the same time and were they infilled at the same time? I have a sneaking suspicion that the small room 150 might have gone out of use first but cant prove it.
The phase VII building is rather difficult to reconstruct given Mellaart’s excavations and the fact that we have only dug part of it. There was a platform or raised area in the south-east corner where obsidian was deposited and there was a doorway leading to he south which was blocked and then turned into a niche.
The infilling phase A seems to have been very deliberate and methodical using firmly packed sterile material. In particular packing  and blocking  suggest a well thought out process.
The phase B building which is just being revealed appears to be rather squalid and cramped to a twentieth century perspective. There was a small room space 150 in the south-east separated off from the rest of the room [space 151] by walls 97 and 99 and with access through a doorway 250 leading to the west. The function of this space is unclear, especially as much of it was removed by a later pit  but part of oven 252 came under wall 97 and into this space. Going westwards out of door 250 on a grand tour where was a small area of floor with trample  on it. Swinging northward you have to leap over the internal dividing wall 252 into some form on sunken feature [Neolithic Jacuzzi?] with a post setting on the western wall. As progress further northwards is precluded by the limit of the excavation we climb the slope eastwards out of the jacuzzi scaling a ridge and moving into the kitchen area with ovens 87 and 252 [although these are probably not contemporary and 252 pre-dates 87]. The vast unknown stretches to the north [‘Here be Dragons’] preclude a full discussion but we seem to have a quite complex southern ‘domestic’ half of a building.
Ever onwards into the valley of death we shall ride boldly ride and hopefully demolish phase VII walls, remove the last of the phase A infilling and deal with the phase B floors/occupation spreads/ovens before the end of the season.
1691 words is quite enough for today so bye bye as I cant be bothered to read through this.
PS I AM NOT FEELING FRUSTRATED.Entered By: Craig Cessford