|Entry: || Haven't made a diary entry for a while now, so to summarise the goings on over at Little Britain over the past few weeks, heres our elongated version of a report we did for the government rep.|
ÇATALHÖYÜK SOUTH SHELTER
SIMON MCCANN AND GARETH CHAFFEY
Left as an island since the Mellaart excavations of the 1960s, work began on what was to be called Building 42 on the southern side of the South Shelter on 29th June 2004. Although some excavation had been done directly to the south of this area in 2001, during work that prempted the construction of the shelter itself, this area has remained untouched.
It was soon apparent that we had a continuation of Space 202, allbeit a fraction (approximately 0.40m) left by the levels of truncation. With the benefit of a section on two of the four sides of the area, and paperwork relating to the southern face, we were given a unique opportunity to see what and when we were likely to encounter layers and buildings.
Once the area was cleaned back and planned, work began on taking out room fill (10404) in order to reach a plaster surfaced platform that was visible in section. When cleaning back from north to south, we uncovered the features of a house almost identical to those found my Mellaart. From north to south, we have a plastered platform F1501, of which there are at least 3 phases, dropping c. 0.01m onto another platform F1502. Central to F1501 was a rectangular cut (south facing), approx. 0.2m x 0.1m which has been interpreted as a niche or pillar cut. In direct relation to Mellaart excavations, these may have been some form of support for plastered pillars used to support bulcrania. Another similar cut was found central to F1502, this time west facing. Upon the surface of this platform were several pieces of discarded plaster, which were initially linked to the niches although upon excavation are more likely to be associated with the plastered bench F1503, a feature directly to the south of the platform. At least 3 if not 4 phases of construction are visible. The whole of this area was covered with a high quality, lime rich white plaster. This then drops c. 0.1m down to a series of floor surfaces.
Two cuts were excavated, one, F1505, within the plastered surface of F1502, and another, F1506, cutting hearth F1507. Both were initially interpretted as graves but both were empty, with the former being interpreted as a basin, and the latter as potentially marking the end of the hearth’s life (an obsidian point was found within a lower fill).
Upon removing the upper surface of the plastered platform F1501, a grave cut was seen, although heavily trunacted by the Mellaart excavations. This grave is of interest as it shows a different process and method in burial that directly links mortuary practice and the replastering process. The grave was cut into the make up layer (10448), the packing layer between plaster surfaces (10407) and (10451). Normally burials relating to platforms are cut into the plaster and then replastered. Does this represent a change in burial methodology higher in the sequence of buildings? Beneath the burial a shell was found, as were two haematite beads below the skull.
Work has begun on the removal of the upper surfaces of plaster and interpreting the phasing of the platforms in relation to one another, and the use and reconstructions of the bench. After the removals of these features, work will comence on the large midden upon which this building is built, and the building directly below.
Builing 42 is currently working within the ‘Fast Track’ strategy, i.e. no seiving and no sampling, as so little of the building actually remains. Once down to the building below, this changes to ‘Medium Track’, whereby sampling is done at the excavators discrepancy, and dry seiving is used.
There you go. All very interesting I think you would agree.Entered By: Gareth Chaffey