Published: 11:42 AM - 09-06-11
IZMIR - Anatolia News Agency
An archaeological dig in Izmir’s Yesilova district has revealed fingerprints dating back to the Neolithic age close to nine millennia ago. No other place in the area has such a long history of human settlement, a scholar says.
The Neolithic society used oil lamps that were made from animal skins, according to the head of the excavation, Zafer Derin.
Researchers conducting excavations in Yesilova Höyügü, the oldest known area of human settlement in Izmir, have announced the discovery of fingerprints belonging to former residents of the area that are more than eight millennia old.
“We have discovered fingerprints that go back 8,500 years [to the Neolithic era]. Those fingerprints are thought to belong to children and women,” Zafer Derin, the scholar leading the excavation, recently told Anatolia news agency, adding that it was the first discovery of its type in the area.
The team discovered the fingerprints from clay pots. “Ancient people made the clay pots with other ingredients and thanks to those ingredients – which we have not yet discovered – the fingerprints reveal themselves,” said Derin, but added that a fire had badly damaged the pots.
The team also discovered that the people left the area after the fire occurred, Derin said.
Noting that the soil in the area also showed that people used the area for agriculture, Derin said: “Ancient people also used this soil to make clay pots, and we have discovered that more than two people were involved in making clay from the fingerprints.”
Learning about ancient culture
Speaking generally about the work at Yesilova Höyügü, Derin said: “Each year during the excavation works, we discover and find new information. This year we tried to reveal a new culture that lived in this area.”
The dig leader also said his team had discovered other tools belonging to the Neolithic era, as well as artifacts that were used for ceremonies.
The Neolithic society also used oil lamps that were made from animal skins, according to the head of the excavation. “After this period of time, the usage of oil lamps spread out,” said Derin.
Derin also said the bull figure that the ancient people drew on their artifacts symbolized man. “The bull is a cult figure,” said Derin, noting that it also symbolized a patriarchal figure in the society.
At the same time, the bull also symbolized fertility, said Derin, adding that the society that lived during the Neolithic age did not use this figure everywhere but only in certain places.
Noting that the discovery of the bull figure was a very important development for the excavation works in the area, Derin said: “Ancient people used this figure in some of the pots and vessels that they used. This is an important discovery for our team.”
Noting that the team still was still unsure as to how people used to live during the Neolithic age in Yesilova, Derin said, “We have learned that people turned some of the rooms in their home into places of worship.”
The team is now set to transport its recent findings to a museum, Derin said.