For some years I have struggled with the best way to record the background "noise" that goes into the production of my illustrations. I don't keep a formal diary or journal during the season, but I do have a very disorganised Commonplace Book that combines the functions of journal and sketchbook. This admixture of text and image works well for me, as it allows me to scribble down and record ideas and thoughts in whatever medium works best. However, translating that freeform approach into something that can be filed and catalogued in the digital realm I have always found difficult.
But I am going to try to do just that this year with this web-based reproduction of my Commonplace Book for the year - a sort of Commonplace Blog. It may work - it may not. Entries will be filed in the order that they are created, but that may not strictly speaking end up being chronological, since I may dart back and forth and add notes and thoughts to previous entries. Of course, until we get a new scanner, there won't be any images in this cpb, so that rather spoils both the idea and the effect...
07 July, 8:25am : The Crow Man
07 July, 10:53am : There's now a shortcut to this site on the H: drive which people can cut and paste onto their own networked desktops.
I was particularly taken with something Rissa said last season in the introductory talk she gave about the work of the faunal team. She mentioned the unusual presence of large numbers of Corvid bones on the site, and speculated a little about why they were here. She suggested that it was highly unlikely that they were being killed as crop pests, since there would be no reason to then bring the bodies to the site. And as scavengers, it was also unlikely that they were being hunted for their meat (there's not much meat on a crow anyway). But, given that they can be readily domesticated, respond to human company and can even be taught to imitate human speech, there's the possibility that they were being kept as pets. Their close resemblance to vultures, too, might have given them a special totemic significance. As I say, I was very taken with this idea, and jotted down a quick sketch at the time. However, I didn't have a chance to do anything more with it.
But now, waiting for digging to start up on site, I thought I might quickly do something with the idea. I dragged out my old sketch and worked it up yesterday evening and early this morning into a rough draft which I'll paint up possibly tomorrow, since I'm not planning to go into Konya.
07 July, 10:15am: Boar-Skull Headdress
09 July : Ah, but I did go into Konya, didn't I? And as a result I haven't started the painting yet...
Just posted the following text on the Finds Room window underneath the reconstruction of Kathy's Boar Skull:
07 July, 12:30pm : Vignettes
Boar Skull  Reconstruction
This skull and mandible were excavated last season from Building 45. Kathy Twiss wrote them up this past year and asked if I would supply some illustrations showing a possible reconstruction of the use of the skull. A long discussion ensued about the various possibilities, and in the end we settled on three views, each showing a different use of the skull. The first reconstruction showed the skull and jaw as a portable ornament of some kind - perhaps, as here in this illustration, worn as a head-dress. The second reconstruction showed the skull and jaw as decoration mounted internally, perhaps on a wooden post inside a house. The third reconstruction showed the skull and jaw plastered into a moulded relief feature on an internal mudbrick wall. It's possible that the use history of skull  actually encompassed all three possibilities, and that the object started life as a portable ornament, was then installed inside and eventually was plastered over. This would neatly account for all the evidence from the skull itself. Interestingly, while working on the reconstructions, I found a feature very similar to my reconstruction of the third possibility (the skull/jaw as a plastered relief) in the background of one of Mellaart's building reconstructions. There was no accompanying description or text, but the drawing of it looked very similar to my reconstruction, suggesting that the skull/jaw feature excavated in B.45 is not unique.
For a more complete discussion as well as all the rough drafts, see the Illustration website and follow the link to the Boar Skull.
Went up to site to have a quick tour around. All the sandbags are off in the 40x40, and they're down onto wall-tops already in some places. Lori has a small burial - ?child, and truncated - to excavate, and Rissa is up there at the moment excavating a clustered house-closure deposit consisting mostly of at least six horn cores and a lump of associated plaster and brick that may be a collapsed pillar. There's a lot of burning in that part of the house, and the building seems to have a lot of internal subdivisions. Up in the South Area, Roddy's B.44 is down to construction phase, and he's got an interesting example of a dump of platform material being cut/pushed to accept the brick platform edging. Did some sketching and took a few photos.
Shahina had a quick word with me on Thursday afternoon about illustrations for publication. I had talked to her about trying to get together a selection of illustrations ready for use in magazine articles, etc., based on what she knew people wanted or she and Ian found useful. On Thursday evening she said that she had had a flash of inspiration. I have done in the past some reconstructions based on digital photographs of existing features, etc. - see the reconstructions of the reconstructed house, for example. Shahina said that what would be really useful would be a kind of illustration, but done to reconstruct a house - based on a photograph she knew would be likely to be used. By coincidence (and even more coincidental, since I am in the middle of Mobius Dick, which is all about coincidences and synchronicity), I had already decided to do such an illustration for the construction activities in B44 in any case. Spooky, huh? Now all I have to do is pin Shahina down to a selection session.
Was up quite early to take advantage of the cool morning and painted some on the Crow Man. Spent most of the rest of the morning setting up the printers - which is good, because we now have a functioning scanner, so I can scan the Crow Man when he's finished. But it's almost too hot to paint in the middle of the day - although I did manage to do some more just before three.
11. July : It IS hot, and the painting I'm doing of B.44 is looking very tired as a result. All I have to do on the Crow Man now is the crow, but I'm reluctant to get started while it's so hot. I think I should get up early again tomorrow morning to finish it off.
09 July, 5:50pm : CH04 Buildings, etc.
I had hoped to start in on the final reconstructions of the buildings from CH04, but Shahina is using her computer, so I'll have to wait (I need to scan in some plans, since the ones I have are not final ones, dating as they do from when we were still out in the field). I'll also finally scan the bits and pieces I want to go in here. And since I need Shahina to pick pictures for the other reconstructions, I can't start on those, either. It's a little bit cooler now - perhaps I'll go back to the Crow Man...
11 July : She also mentioned the aerial views, and I think she means the big one that's on an old Çatalhöyük newsletter - I was reminded of it just now because Jules is using a copy of the newsletter as an impromptu mousemat...
Just added the rough drafts of the Crow Man and the construction activities in B.44 to the website. I hadn't intended at first to turn the construction illustration into a painting - I certainly wouldn't have several years ago. It's interesting, I was going through the possible medium "routes" for that illustration - leaving it as a pencil sketch, taking it to an inked-in version, a digitally-colourised image, etc. - while I was assembling it (putting the chap in, primarily), and I realized that it felt exactly the same as assembling the illustrations I did for the just-published volumes. But instead of automatically thinking of doing it as an inked-in illustration, I thought instead first of doing it as a painting. I don't think I'm any more or less comfortable with one medium over the other (certainly not now, having done so many of both by this stage), so I wonder what prompted me? I wondered about ease of publication, but that hardly seems likely to have swayed me one way or the other, seeing as b&w is still easier and more traditional (and therefore preferable) for archaeology (and archaeologists), so I wonder what it was? Perhaps the acknowledgement now that in this heat I actually find it easier to work with paints here now than pens.
The whole issue of choosing a medium is something I worked a little on for the methodology volume, but haven't really come back to it in a theoretical way since, preferring, I think, to explore the question(s) raised on a practical level (that way I at least have something to show for my explorations, I suppose). I was wondering earlier if, above and beyond the various mundane, publishing-related reasons why one might want to chose one medium over another, what the aesthetic rules were in archaeology that governed choice of medium. I mean, no one expects to see a finds drawing done in oil these days, but why not? Would the end result seem less desirable to us, somehow? One would expect turn-over to be slower, maybe - but perhaps it would be faster in the hands of someone that knew what they were doing (as opposed to the painstaking labours of the archaeological illustrator as amateur craftsman, perhaps?). One would expect the end result to be less accurate, perhaps - but a skilled artist can make even something as fluffy as pastels or collage pin-point accurate. And besides which, what level of accuracy is accurate enough? The thickness of a pencil? The thickness of an ink line? An ink-jet dot? A bristle's-width? Is there a way to quantify those kind of considerations?
Enough! I have beer to think of and a painting to paint...
10 July, 8:05pm : Marina sketching
Just saw Marina sketching out on the verandah. I hope she'll eventually come and do some parallel reconstruction illustrations with me. We have talked about it off and on over the past few days. She sounds interested, but it's really a question of her having time (and inclination) in between bouts of looking after Jo-Jo. But she asked me about Çatalhöyük food yesterday, which may have something to do with something she's working on.
I forgot to mention the painted shell from the little obsidian hoard up in B.44. Saw it in the ground yesterday and then later on in the Conservation Lab. Up in the field you could see the painted red stripes very clearly, and down in the Lab Duygu pointed out that there were actually black stripes in between the red ones as well. There were other shell beads with the painted one, along with a lot of obsidian blades in what looked to me like a sort of plaster-y matrix. But I need to go up this morning and ask Alex and Roddy about it to be certain. Both Mags and Duygu asked me if it would pop up in a reconstruction later - and of course it will: in the construction phase activity painting, of course! I'm bored of drawing plain bead jewellery, so the painted shell will absolutely turn up!
As an aside, I'm still having trouble booking time on the scanner, and so have yet to add in any of my field sketches and so on into this cpb, which is annoying. I have quite a few now, so I must try and shoehorn myself onto Shahina's computer when she's on the phone or something.
11 July, 1:59pm : Managed to scan a few things. Also downloading photos to add in here as well.
14 July, 12:09pm : I'm now just taking digital snaps of my sketchbook, which is a bit more efficient. I wish I'd brought the A bay for the laptop, though...
11 July, 8:09am : Fly Me
Michael came in a few minutes ago bringing back the Health and Safety idea back to life. I volunteered to do various airline style graphics for the vid as an offshoot of my Çatal Air tee-shirt idea. Yet another distraction!
11 July : 5:32pm : TP Bucrania
Well, they deserve it! A bucrania in TP - a welcome change from Late Roman stuff, I'm sure. It's nestling in the northwest corner of sp.248, right at the base of a bench. Although Arek seemed to think it was attached to the bench itself, I'm not entirely convinced - we'll have to see what it looks like as they excavate it. The bench itself is well-preserved, although the top is missing. The bucrania sits on the floor in front of it with the top of a human skull poking up through the fill between its outstretched horns. Unfortunately most of the rest of the burial is missing - eaten away by a large Late Roman pit. The feet of the burial are on the eastern side of the pit. There are also a large number of other bones coming up in the little space, and it will be interesting to see what they develop into. But for the moment, TP is very happy indeed. I rather suspect it's the best-preserved bucrania since that one at the top of the Bach building.
I am struggling manfully to cope with the loss of my Ipod. A veil will be drawn over the cruel twist of fate and incompetence that deprived me of its wondrous volume of music, and instead I will focus on the empty and pallid five weeks that now lies in front of me. I will have to learn to cope with primitive technologies such as tapes and CDs, and learn to appreciate the experiences our ancestors had of life before song shuffling.
Work-wise, the construction activities illustration for Building 44 is now almost finished. Checked with Roddy this morning about the wisdom of including the big pot from there that's now in conservation as well as the painted/shell beads and obsidian from 11617. He gave the go-ahead for all that, so I will put those last few details in and then post the finished illustration on the website. Wrote up some stuff about it this morning, along with some commentary on the Crow Man, too - which is similarly almost complete. Now I will make preparations for moving on to the next couple of illustrations.
Met with Lori and Başak last night to go over the Bach burials. Got some corrections this morning from Başak to the two infant burials - 6237 and 8184. These corrections were mostly to do with the reconstruction of the phytolith remains associated with the burials. In the case of 6237 the phytoliths covered the entire body, right up to the end of the left femur, which means that the "basket" into which the corpse was placed was very tall-sided, rather more like a bag than a basket. Perhaps it was flexible enough to have been folded over at the top, making a fairly tight package - this would then have preserved the positioning of the limbs. In the case of 8184, the phytoliths are underneath the body only, but irregularly distributed. I suggested that maybe it had been not a basket (which seems to result in more regular placement of phytolith remains on the bones) but a flat woven "plate" or round mat. This, scrunched into the cut, with some fill spilling onto the surface, might have resulted in the irregular appearance of phytoliths on the bones. I think that'll be what we go for, in the end.
We also talked through the other burials. No more changes, since we've already had those discussions through the year, but some agreement on details. I will go ahead and put hair on the bodies to match the hair I give people in the other reconstructions (the ones with living people in them). 8115 needs to have a phytolith over her hip - binding to hold her legs together? 8114 needs to be younger - age 14-16, not in the late twenties as I have him; 8113 is slightly older, aged 18-22, and will probably be in about the same position as 8114 - a little more flexed, and with the arm possibly over the belly (I can mostly reuse the female version of 8114 I did). 8184 I will enlarge slightly and add in the various finds: the malachite in its bag with the pin, the shell with its pigment and the weird lump of ?stuff - clay?. All this will be in a shallow box or tray - no lid, since the clay stuff stained the skull of 8184. Enlarging the illustration will also mean that I can differentiate between the light beads on the left wrist and the dark beads on the right.
12 July, 10:16am : Brickies, Plasterers and Building 44
Roddy caught me after Breakfast and said he had some thoughts about the construction activities in B.44. Apparently he'd been talking the illustration over with Alex and he come up with the idea of separating out "Brickie's" activities and "Plasterers'" activities. We talked it through and this is what we came up with:
The events that are in the illustration at the moment are Brickies' activities - laying the reused bricks for the edge of the platform, etc. And the deposit of bones in the middle of the central east platform would also then be a Brickie's deposit. But the small cut feature [11618} that was filled with  (see e3107) is not a Brickie's thing - it's a Plasterers' deposit. Both it and the scoops on the bench are filled with the same grey plaster, possibly suggesting that they were filled at the same time with the very same stuff. It this is the case, then it suggests that they were done as the building was being plastered - the bench scoops have already been given an initial plastering, and the grey plaster-y fill then goes in on top of that. The cut filled by 11617 Roddy is suggesting was some kind of temporary post/stake hole, possibly associated with the construction of the ceiling - or perhaps even its plastering - and that by the time the plasterers were doing the walls and floor it was not needed. It was removed and the cut feature used to contain a Plasterers' deposit consisting of the obsidian blade fragments and the painted/shell necklace (see e3108). At the same time as they did that they filled in the bench scoops - although they had already started to plaster the building at the southern end. Maybe, Roddy suggested, we're seeing different symbolic deposits associated with different construction materials - bone for brick/make-up, and obsidian for plaster. Black obsidian with white plaster, I noted - and there was obsidian in with the re-plastering of the central east platform in later phases, Roddy remembered. And the painted shell, I suggested, red and black stripes - red for the red paint associated with plaster, and black for the obsidian? Perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves there a bit, but as a narrative it still hangs together well enough to do another illustration - a slightly later phase showing the Plasterers getting started on their work and getting ready to make deposit 11617.
So I will hold off adding in the shell necklace into the current illustration and instead just put in the large vessel and the post/stake on the edge of the northwest proto-platform (right behind the Brickie in it at the moment). Roddy will check and see if there wasn't another post/stakehole associated with this phase elsewhere in the building, and then I might put that in as well. I need to add in the two posts/stakes near the bench scoops as well. Then I'll lay out the next illustration.
12 July, 12:34pm : More Good Stuff
Just went up on site with Jules and had a tour from South Summit to the 40x40. Lots to see there so I'll quickly run through things by area:
South Summit: Confirmed some details of Roddy's Building 44 Brickies/Plasterers story. He also pointed out that they very possibly have a crawlhole and further room coming out of the south east corner - the plaster floors go underneath the wall, which then is most likely to be confirmed as Building 10's wall, not Building 44's. He has convinced Ian, apparently, and now needs to work on Shahina. Comment from him on the planning of these buildings: "It's virtually impossible to tie down a particular phase, as the building is constantly morphing..." He's right.
IST: Another building - sorry, "space" - next to the first, and two more down the hill right next to the fence. There's also an odd collection of stones and a circular plaster lump that will bear closer investigation. Their plan is to do a bit more cleaning, stop and record, and while doing that, open up another trench beyond the site in the orchard - Kasim Bey has apparently given his approval for that. All sounds very good indeed.
TP: ANOTHER bucrania. Isn't one enough? Didn't get a very close look at it as they were putting up their shelter, but I will go up there this afternoon and have a nose around.
40x40: Lots happening. Lisa has finished (!) her building, sp.98. Mira has another "Screen Wall" (see e3110) next to the dump of horn cores, and has asked me to draw some of the plaster pieces that have wood impressions. The plaster part of the wall has a clay/brick core and plaster on both faces, and then tapers up from a wider base to a point somewhere up the wall. The wood impressions and charcoal are on the northern side - the charcoal then continues around to run along the eastern face of the N-S wall. The screen construction is therefore L-shaped. It seems to share some other similarities with the Bach one, namely that it fills or complements gaps in the western wall.
12 July : Mira wants me to draw about 20 chunks of the screen wall. Jason's going to photograph them first, then she'll tell me which way they're to be orientated.
Anyway, after lunch I need to go back up to TP to have another look at their second bucrania.
12 July, 3:05pm : Crawlhole
Roddy says there is a crawlhole in the SE corner of B.44 (see e3109) - both Shahina and Ian say he can say so... But the room beyond will almost certainly remain un-dug. Shame, but perhaps for the best at the moment.
12 July, 5:15pm : What would you like to do today?
Here's an interesting question for you: if I had free rein to draw a reconstruction showing what I thought Çatalhöyük looked like, what would I draw? Marina was just in, talking about what she was going to do with her reconstruction. She's been getting Slobo to pose for her - and wanted to know what the rooftops of Çatalhöyük looked like. I said no one really knew, and gave her a quick run-down on the different variants I've shown over the years - edge-ridges/no edge-ridges, much rooftop structure/not much, etc./etc. Then I said she could more or less do what she liked, since there wasn't much evidence either way. That got me thinking: I've always bowed to pressure from Ian when it comes to reconstructing the roof. As a result, my illustrations are always very conservative - too so, in my opinion. I've never really just done what I think - perhaps I should? And if I did, what would it look like?
Just wanted to quickly get some notes down this morning - I'll follow up this afternoon as usual. Put the crawlhole into B.44 constr. recon. Roddy wants me to pop up and see the thinness of the East wall (definitely another wing then, not an external wall). Went to IST and had a look at the mysterious plaster "pads" in the external space at the bottom of their trench. Porch/covered work area? Entrance? Internal support structures? Who knows?
13 July, 2:40pm : Edge of site in IST
Musing on the edge of the site again. We know so little about how the settlement ended, and how different the edge of the settlement might have been from the interior. Even basic questions we really have very few answers to:
Some of the answers we do have are very fragmentary, since they come from very small-scale investigations: the KOPAL trench and borings, the South Area deep sounding, Mellaart's lowest levels, etc. Perhaps now that the IST team is going to be working so close to the settlement edge, we may finally get some real answers to some of these questions.
Inevitably, also, we will end up generating more questions as well. For example, just what are those four or five mysterious plaster "pads" at the southernmost edge of the IST trench? As usual, even though they haven't been dug (or even properly cleaned up yet) everyone had their own ideas! Mirhaban wondered if they weren't postholes or post-pads for a structure in the exterior space between two buildings (see e3111-b). That's possible - and similar to the structures I have already posited might have existed around the penning area(s) similar to that we found in the Deep Sounding. Although we didn't find definitive postholes there, everyone seemed happy with the idea of there having been posts - perhaps not set in holes because the pen structures could be primarily supported by the buildings. In such a case, one might expect pads rather than holes for the settings. However, I wondered if they weren't more integral to the structure of the surrounding buildings - perhaps supports for walls that faced out onto exterior space and had no other buildings further down the slope of the tell to support them (see e3111-c). But it's Ian who takes the prize for the most Mellaartian interpretation of all. Apparently, according to Mirhaban, he looked at them quite calmly and said: "Ah, so you've found Çatalhöyük's front gate..." (see e3111-a). Trust Ian...
We shall, of course, have to see. All three interpretations may well be wrong, but as Miraban and I were saying, it is good to consider options like this, even very early on in the process, since it keeps your thinking flexible - and here, particularly, where every season and every trench throws up so many novel features, that is a distinct bonus.
13 July, 5:15pm : Guneş agreed about the importance of using visual representations to keep ones options open.
13 July, 3:27pm : Skulduggery!
And now Roddy says that his skulls are "arranged"... Sounds like a third illustration is going to be needed.
Just went up on site twice today, first with Dan - who arrived yesterday evening from Antalya - then with Shahina after breakfast. Everyone surprisingly chipper considering we were up till one or something on the terrace. Simon has these great planks - well, phytolith remains - running at the bottom of and perhaps also on the exterior/midden side of the foundation cut for the east wall of B.44. And then up in 40x40, clearly seen in section in the cut of the foundation trench for a late ?Roman building is another great Neolithic foundation trench - this one a slanting cut through midden on the north side, then down onto an earlier wall on which the inserted wall sits. Roddy said it was either or - either foundation trenches through middens or sitting on walls - but here was both.
And Roddy's skulls are indeed pushed to one side, and the long bones with them. Is this "pushing" to then insert a proper burial, or have they been arranged like this in the cut? He's still digging the feature, and so I'll have to wait for the moment until he gets a better picture of things. Good stuff, though, as he says.
Starting today on Roddy's plasterers drawing. I want to get that done quickly while it's still all fresh in our heads. Pretty soon he'll be finished with that burial and then he'll move onto taking out the room fill, and the illustration will lose its relevance. I also need to scan the existing painting and pop that on the website.
16 July, 5:11am : Updates
Did the rough draft of the plasterers and will have to catch Roddy so he can have a look at it and tell me if there's stuff that needs changing. But that was the only solid piece of work I got done today. The rest of the time was spent playing catch-up - kind of nice, as it was so cool that it was kind of pleasure to do some problem-solving and organizing of things. Part of that was in response to a request from Mirin for a complete list of illustrations showing burials and burial reconstructions. So I put together a quick, separate gallery just of those. Rather more of them than I suspected! Something of a nice surprise.
After putting together that gallery I then did a bunch of other organizational stuff, as well as changing a couple of details in some paintings - putting the post in the first construction painting, for example, and taking out the bracelets in the skull burial painting.
Talked through the screen wall a little with Doru - must show him the reconstruction of Building 16 that has the plaster, brick and wood wall in it.
Just got Roddy to approve the rough draft of the Plasterers, so I'll start that tomorrow.
Today is goddess day. It seems appropriate in light of that, somehow, that we were completely out of coffee this morning and so everyone is in a particularly grumpy mood. It also seems appropriate somehow that Dan gave his talk last night. I think his ideas are great - in fact, I had one or two reconstruction-based ideas of my own spawned from his work. Anyway, things seem to be shaping up into an interesting day. I think there are a lot of people who are secretly looking forward to the arrival of the Goddess women - and to the "discussions" that are apparently going to take place later in the day. Puts me in mind of what I said a few days ago about what I would draw if I were given completely free rein - which reminds me of the stuff inspired by Dan's work.
17 July, 10:28am : Bones and Mirrors
Ian came in earlier to get me to proofread my contribution to Jim's obsidian mirror chapter. I'm afraid I am not a natural writer! Academic English is clearly not my first language! Nevertheless, I can see all the ideas there - I'm just struggling to communicate them. Having said all that, Louise said after breakfast that she's completely addicted to "Death Among the Crates", so perhaps I'm not going too far wrong!
Just gave Başak the link to the illustration website and the new render of 6237 in a basket. She asked for an alternative view to show the body in a basket with a lid, so I will do that quickly just now and then get on to the plasterers' reconstruction.
17 July, 1:37pm : G Numbers (i)
Shahina remembered earlier what it was that she wanted to talk to me about. Apparently she wants to use "G" numbers instead of "E" numbers for reconstructions, thus separating them out from finds illustrations. How exactly we're going to make the changeover, I'm not quite sure. But I think it will have to involve me going through the illustration lists I have at the moment, giving all reconstructions "G" numbers on that list and then one week go through and make the physical changes to file names and labels. Ugh. But it makes sense, since we can now incorporate reconstructions from elsewhere and earlier into the record - like Mellaart's, or Sharon Moses'. A lot of work, though... Just had a thought - I can simply change the prefix and then fill in the gaps as and when.
Yep - just confirmed that with Shahina. Shouldn't be too difficult, to be honest.
17 July, 1:59pm : G Numbers (ii)
Just changed all the e-numbers in the CH98 archive pages to g-numbers. So now it's official. Won't do the rest right now.
Not long after I arrived on site, Rissa happened to mention to me that Marina was something of an artist herself, and that maybe there was something she could do on a Çatalhöyük theme while she was here. Marina and I talked, and we came up with the idea of perhaps each of us doing a reconstruction illustration of the same idea and then comparing our results. Since I had an idea at the back of my mind anyway, I suggested that we each do a piece illustrating the potential role of crows on site as companion/symbolic animals. I talked Marina through what I knew of the idea following Rissa's seminar on the faunal bone last season. I gave her the bare bones - ha, ha - and said she should talk to Rissa and others in the lab to get more information and then compile the illustration in whatever way the information lead her. I suppose I had something of a head start, since I already had ideas in mind about how I was going to structure the illustration. But we both began at more or less the same time with more or less the same information at our disposal. While I sketched and then painted my version, Marina set about compiling things for her own version. She got Slobo to pose for her, asked various people questions about the architecture of the Çatalhöyük houses, and borrowed my book on birds for Crow references. We worked separately from each other - not necessarily in secret, but without consulting each other so that our images wouldn't be influenced by the other's work.
It took a little longer than we both imagined to complete our illustrations - Marina was busy with babysitting and I with other illustrations - but yesterday we finally compared our results. On the verandah outside the museum block, Marina showed me her finished drawing. What struck us both immediately was how similar the two drawings were. There were many potential avenues we could have gone down, showing any number of situations in which the ideas Rissa had suggested in her seminar could have been illustrated. In fact, one could say that there were probably some much more informative ways in which that information could have been visually presented - I had originally conceived of a much more speculative illustration showing something like a "Crow Society" - but it was interesting that both Marina and I ultimately chose to depict one person and their crow companion in quite an intimate way. In both illustrations the person is feeding the crow (although my crow doesn't seem to be as interested as Marina's), and in both cases those two figures are not only the focus of the illustration, but they are the only figures within the illustration. In both cases, too, the age of the human figure could be interpreted as self-representational. A curiously parallel set of drawings. I suspect that we were both taken by the idea that crows could imitate human speech and saw in that ability the potential for the development of a much more intense human-animal relationship than one simply based on food or other needs.
I've posted the results both on this site and on the window of the Finds Room. I very much enjoyed the exercise, and I hope Marina did too. She and I have decided to do a second one. This time she gets to pick the idea - so she is going on the Priority Tour this morning to see what jumps out at her. I've already told her she can't pick the TP bucrania or the burnt building in the 40x40 because I'm going to end up doing those later on, but I'm fairly certain something else will suggest itself.
By the way, if anyone else is interested in getting involved with this, you'd be more than welcome.
18 July, 8:26am : Burnt Architectural fragments
Mira's collection of brick, mud, daub, wood-impression and plaster fragments from the burnt building in 40x40 is getting much bigger. Talking with her yesterday while the goddess women jingled around us in Building 5, she said that she was now identifying four different "classes" of material, each relating to a different structural component of whatever it was burned and collapsed:
1. Mudbricks, possibly with traces of plaster on their broad face, implying that they were laid on end or on edge.
2. Big chunks of mud daub with impressions of large, rectilinear pieces of wood.
3. Chunks of mud daub with impressions of stakes or smaller pieces of wood, some with plaster on one or two faces of the daub; the ridge pieces seem to be included in this category.
4. Very fine, possibly burnished plaster with faint traces of red paint.
These pieces, Mira suggested, might be parts of several different features. No.1 pieces seem most likely to be the base of the "screen wall", possibly continued at its upper portion by the No.3 pieces - the mudbrick wall becoming a wattle and daub construction higher up (very similar to my reconstruction of the interior wall in Building 16). The No.2 pieces seem to lie directly on top of a layer made up of No.4 pieces. Mira suggested that the most colourful - but not, in my opinion, the most fanciful - interpretation might be that these were components of a ceiling construction: wooden planks sandwiched between two layers of thick daub, with the thin plaster layer on the ceiling, burnished and then painted with red paint, possibly in an overall pattern. That made me think of the blue plaster in Building 49 from last year, which I suggested may have come from a ceiling. Anyway, we shall know more as she digs more, but she has quite a collection of examples now, and is keen for me to draw them - so I'd better stop typing and get started!
18 July, 6:03pm : Write This
Met Rob Swigart this afternoon, who's writing a textbook/novel about Çatalhöyük - Ainile Tepe, rather. Talked reconstructions, people, buildings, complexity theory, and the future until teatime. Dan got working on models of his towers three-to-five, and after that I got back to some more of the burnt stuff, having confirmed some of the conventions with Mira. I'll write them up separately.
And the natives are getting restless concerning the tee-shirt, so I have started to play with some designs. Guneş says that Miraban could find a textile place in Konya that could do the tee-shirts perhaps at cost as a contribution to the Project. Some ideas combining Dan's stuff, 40x40 and TP references. Will know more soon.
I am getting a bit behind, so I will have to work this evening and do the Plasterers' deposit painting, otherwise I'll never get it done. I also need to talk to Marina about a new reconstruction and get some sketches finished, scanned and up here in the cpb.
... because I'm writing less and less in this book! This is the time when stuff starts to slip through the cracks, and I end up with big holes in my memories of what happened in a particular season. Unfortunately, this is just the time when something like this blog would be really useful... I've just realised I can't really remember what I got up to yesterday - I must have done something...
I remember working on Ian's Tikopia diagram in the afternoon, and redrawing the "Women in a Çatal Building" illustration I did for DIG a couple of years ago. There was a seminar on searching the database that I didn't go to, and I got a phone call from Freja earlier in the day. What else did I do? Oh yes, I remember - Mira had found that stone mortar/bowl in the burnt part of Building 52 in the 40x40, and I spent much of the day working on getting the conventions for drawing mudbrick right. Finally settled on copying them from the photographs Val has already taken, thus making sure people can understand what the photographs show.
Today I cracked on with Mira's daub - hopefully we are now in agreement about the conventions. Spoke to Val briefly about getting a bit more shadow on the photos in order to show more of the depth of the impressions.
Plenty of time gone by and not a lot of writing - never mind: that just proves that it's getting towards the end (is the middle of the season closer to the beginning or closer to the end?) and getting steadily busier every day. Here's a rundown of the various projects I've got going at the moment:
Building 44: Still trying to find time to finish up the reconstructions of Building 44's construction phase(s). The brick one I finished a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've been trying to get the "Plasterers' Deposit" one done. The two figures are more or less finished, and I just traced the bricks off the first illustration and transferred them onto the plasterers' one. Roddy and Alex are still trying to work out the earliest phase to this building - Roddy did give me some notes about the possible "House of the Dead" interpretation, but it's too early for them to say for certain what's going on. In the mean time, Roddy has another interesting deposit in the southwest corner - the corner room from the earlier building infilled with a huge deposit of worked and unworked stone. Very unusual (although, with all the stone in the 4040, it's been a season for it; Adnan and Karen must be very happy). Just as a note to B.44, because I don't think I've mentioned it anywhere else, Roddy says that they're not going to dig the eastern portion of the building this season, but may tackle it next season.
IST: The Istanbul team now have their chosen area laid out, and the shelter is going up this week. Their area covers the lowermost portion of their scraped trench, over a couple of buildings, including the burnt one that had the putative "post-pads" next to it - although those turned out to be nothing more than rubble lumps. Shame. I suppose this means that Ian's gateway has disappeared into thin air. They have Neolithic walls turning up, but later than they had hoped - and disturbed by a number of late features: pits, a "Roman" surface laid directly on the mudbrick, etc. (Just had a thought about making the most out of the "Roman" surface feature for the IST team, actually - sketch to follow...).
TP: Done several viewpoint renders of a model of space 248, and just need Arek to decide which one he likes best - or to pick a new one. Once that's done I'll take the plans and put the bodies on, and then start working it up into a more finished version. Not a great deal more to say on TP, but once they work their way through all the truncated neo stuff associated with this space, they might just get a proper, mostly undisturbed Neolithic layer. Although having said that, they have now got what seems to be a particularly deep Byzantine burial - oh well.
4040: Marina and I have chosen the stalactite in the bin in Building 52 as our next joint reconstruction idea. I did a sketch last week which I worked up into a rough draft this morning and then mounted. I might do that quite soon, otherwise it might get lost in the shuffle. Apart from that I've been keeping my eye on various things, but I won't even start the building reconstructions until the end of the season when everyone is pulling their archive reports together. Other 4040 stuff includes Mira's lumps of daub, for which I've almost finished the photo-tracing and just have to fill in the detail from printouts.
Went up to see Doru today and he explained what he saw as the chronology for the burning. Came down and worked up his explanation into a diagram which I've left with him for the moment.
Envanter: Only a few Env finds at the moment, which I'll draw after I clear Mira's daub from my desk.
Burial Reconstructions: Lori, Başak and I have to go through my model of Bach's Northwest platform, but that requires that I make the model, which I haven't done yet! I've finished all the corrections to the pencil burial reconstructions, so all that needs doing now is the inking-in.
The Leopard's Tail: The Tikopia illustration is finished, although Ian needs to check the font. The rough drafts of the "Women in the Çatal Building" and the aerial view are complete, and the latter is mounted and ready for painting. The others I'll redraw over the next few weeks.
Konya Museum: Went in yesterday and drew some stone and some figurines. Back again next week when Lynn goes, probably.
Stone: Karen is beginning to give me stone for the Bach publication; Mira has been asking about other illustrations, but my register still isn't digital after 2001. Should I do that now? And what about other Bach finds? No one has been asking for any.
18 July, 11:15pm : Illustration Register
Spent the evening putting the illustration register into Excel. I've now completed all the Finds Illustrations up until the end of CH04. I'll print out the Bach stuff tomorrow morning and leave it with Mira. And all the reconstructions are now in a separate G-series.
Went up to the 4040 today and stopped by Building 52. Doru says that his excavation today only confirms the sequence of events he laid out for me yesterday and which I turned into an illustration. We shall see what further digging brings, but that can only be a good sign. I suggested that we could turn the collapse and burning sequence into an animation - probably not this year, but perhaps for when Ian puts the 4040 work on exhibition in the Visitors' Centre. It's a good, compact sequence of events, and action-filled, so better to be represented by something moving than simply by a still image or even a series of still images. I drafted some storyboard sheets this afternoon and numbered the animation project g3122. We shall see what becomes of it. At the moment I have no idea how I'm going to animate it or anything, so it's all to play for.
I spent the rest of the day drawing Mira's daub, and will go back to it at five. I should have it all finished by the end of this evening, and will then move on to the stone Karen and Adnan have left here so far.
Clark stopped me just now on the verandah and asked for a copy of the Reed-Puller illustration. I think the black and white one has disappeared into the ether, but I know the colour version I did a few years ago is at home, so I must remember to email or post a CD to Clark when I get back there.
25 July, 12:23pm : Daub
That's the last of the daub traced. Now all I have to do is add in the details, which I'll do this afternoon.
25 July, 11:30pm : Stone Seminar
Karen and Adnan gave their seminar on the ground stone this evening, and despite all expectations to the contrary, it was extremely interesting. Not only did they present a lot of good information about the ground stone at found Çatalhöyük, they also provided a theoretical and methodological context for their work which was, in itself, extremely interesting. I must admit, I didn't know anything about new approaches to the study of ground stone, so the idea that one could treat it like a branch of lithics, with many of the same parameters, was new to me. But it makes sense, of course, to talk about raw materials, debitage, traditions and technologies. Put into that kind of context, the ground stone suddenly starts to be much more interesting. Now, all the things Adnan used to talk about - about acquiring the stone, transporting it to the site, reusing it, etc. - sits in a much more structured framework, and is easier to understand as part of a multi-branched process rather than a somewhat random collection of activities. Karen made the difference between expedient and curated ground stone technologies at the site, and how that was determined by the availability of material. Adnan also talked again about how the collection of the stone should be seen in the context of other off-site activities, such as herding, plant gathering, etc. They also made the point that to say there is no stone on the Konya plain is untrue - there are lots and lots of river pebbles coming up from the Çarşamba; it is true, however, to say that this material is not common. After the seminar, I said to Adnan that we should go back and review that series of stone reconstructions showing the process of collection/quarrying, working/use and re-use/re-working - perhaps with a view to adding in more scenes, such as discard, etc.
Adnan and Karen have also started to give me some Bach stone to do for publication, which is good. Now there is the material from the museum and the material from Bach; the museum stuff includes macehead and at least one very interesting stone vessel, as well. These objects gave me ideas for more reconstructions - a macehead in use (Kasim Bey will love it), and the sharpener, as Adnan said, being carried out on expeditions beyond the mound. Perhaps I could set Adnan up for some photos for these.
Lynn arrived a few days ago, and so conversation in the back of the Finds Room has focused on figurines and some of her new ideas about use, etc. I have to lay claim to conjuring the term "phallomorph" for them as my contribution to the discussion. They also want a new word for "figurine" - what about "kilomorph" - from "kil", the Turkish for clay? I also mentioned my thing about Cappadocia again. I'm not saying that the Neolithic inhabitants of Çatalhöyük thought that their little willy figurines looked like the Fairy Chimneys, necessarily, or that they thought that the chimneys were big knobs, but it's hard to look at them and not see phallomorphs, particularly if you're looking at little humanoid figurines and seeing them as phallomorphic. Lynn also mentioned her ideas about the figurines being worn or carried, as with African examples. I need to think of ways to show that - sort of fade-away or cut-away drawings, or even X-Ray pictures, like those images of boli? She also talked about the need to think of the figurines as part of a process of manufacture, use and discard, rather than static, art-objects. I suggested doing a photo session with them and some plasticene, to get some reference shots of people making figurines. She wanted Jo-Jo in on it as well, since at least some of the figurines are made by children. She also talked, in the context of carried/worn objects, of figurines being "accessorised", so I dragged out the painted version of my reconstruction of the big figurine from CH99 all covered in stuff. She liked it, and wanted a line-drawing version - I think that's back in the UK (in fact, I'm certain it is). I must email that to her. Lynn also talked a little about Mellaart and the need to address the power of his vision of Çatal. I pointed out that it still dominates a lot of the ways people think about our stuff and our work.
26 July, Dervishes
And the Dervishes came. I always like seeing them. We talked a bit on the verandah about the original context of the Dervishes - the dark, wooden Dervish halls and the rather more intimate and confined setting contributing to modern dervish art. Hizlar.
It's not every day you get to talk about finding fantastic stuff here. We dig so differently by comparison to Mellaart that our spectacular finds are fewer and farther between. We still get them, but the pace of discovery is slower. But they do come... I went into the computer room before breakfast and Shahina said "Just wait until you see what Roddy and Alex are going to bring down." I tried to get her to tell me, but all she would say beyond that was: "It's a seal - and you'll love it. You'll absolutely love it." The breakfast bell had just rung, and so I went and called Jules back to the Finds Room door to get her to wait with me for the seal. Roddy and Alex made their slow procession down from the mound; we could see their progress through the windows of the Bot lab. Alex carried a cardboard box, which he then opened up in front of us on the verandah. It was the Bear Stamp, of course - and I couldn't help but think "I told you so". The seal is extraordinary enough in itself, but my curiously spooky prediction - made back in CH99, six seasons ago - is also fairly extraordinary. Even if it isn't actually a bear, the animal connection is good enough for me! And perhaps more significant than the object itself is the fact that we now have a radical reinterpretation of one of the major symbols of the project itself. No longer the Mother Goddess - but the Bear. Another coincidence was what Lynn said yesterday about the lasting power of Mellaart - but the longer we dig here, the more likely it is that we will turn up more things that replace his symbols.
Also, rumours of a plastered bucrania in Building 52 - will go and check it out.
Lab Tour in the afternoon - long, but worth it, I think. By then the bear stamp had been turned into a tee-shirt design - only at Çatalhöyük can an object go from find to tee-shirt in less than six hours!
27 July, 10:45pm : To-Do List...
Perhaps less pleasantly, I drew up a to-do list for tomorrow. Sigh - it's clearly that time in the season...
Phew! That's a lot... But it's museum day tomorrow, so I need to catch up on all this stuff before the week ends.
And Ruth wants copies of the Boar Skull reconstructions.
Updates have flopped by the wayside completely, unfortunately. How long has it been? More than a week, at any rate. And in that time a lot has happened. Fortunately, a lot of it involves ticks next to my to-do list above, which is a good sign. Let me run through that list as a starting point.
Lots of stone illustrations, but not much talk about stone reconstructions, save that Adnan wants them. The sharpener one seems an obvious starting point, as we can bring in lots of images of other stuff: axes, going away from site, etc. The macehead was really only for Kasim Bey, so it's doubtful that it will get done out here in the field - but I may embark on it at home. Adnan definitely wants a reconstruction of that weird stone/clay thing from IST's bizarre building. He says it's unique - and that means a reconstruction would be a good idea. I'd still like to talk to both Adnan and Karen about sourcing and raw material sites, and then get some photos of those places (I think Adnan's got some) and do the reconstructions to agree with them.
TP have left now, but before they went, I did manage to check with both Arek and Tomas about the phasing and position of bodies in sp. 248. How much their story holds together after they've written their archive report remains to be seen, but if I can get some post-ex time from Shahina, it would be good to go back and correct my reconstruction to agree with what they write. Of course, the current version has already gone into the CH05 press pack, but then, it was the best we could do at the time.
Did a lot on them over the oddly-positioned weekend (moved to accommodate Koç and then his lack of landing permission). Finished both the interior view of the quasi-B.23 that I originally did for "Dig". Ian said he quite liked it, which is compliment indeed. Then late yesterday afternoon and today I did a new painted aerial view. Felt very similar to doing the one for the SMM, which I've always regretted not having a better copy of. However, this one went very well, although doing the actual settlement is still a bit of a bugger. Some birds in the sky, too! Ian hasn't commented on it yet, and I hope he likes it. The rough draft to the redo of the DotANE Building One reconstruction is all roughed out - from a model, so the viewpoint is quite low and very groovy. I'll ink it up fairly soon. The plastered skull I redid for the Press Pack, so that's all finished - and acceptable to Lori, Başak and Mirin, which is nice. (I need to get numbers for all of these, which I'll do this evening after I finish this entry). Got the HB people to correct it when it was substantially finished, which worked out well. Added some mottling and reworked the teeth as per their suggestions, but otherwise they were pretty happy with it (oh, and moved the temporal ridge towards the ear more; must watch that ridge, as I always have it too far left or right of the orbit-edge - a stupid error to repeat so often). Looks very creepy (and my vote for what the head of the Fat Skeleton figurine must have originally been like!). Still need to figure out what I'm going to do with the Building 5 reconstruction. Shall I do it in paint, or not? Perhaps line over acrylic washes? That might work well, but it would need to be firmly fixed to the foamboard. Will the gloss medium be enough, do you think? I also need to do that South Area overview, which again would probably benefit from a model. Groan. More steps.
All the burial reconstructions are now corrected, and so all that remains for me to do is the northwest platform model. I'm not sure if I want to actually do that here, because doing it seems to be slowing the computer down too much. I wasted a lot of time over the map mound model waiting for Bryce and PSP to process stuff. Perhaps I could just do a rough mock-up for now and then make a more refined model later. Hmm. That might work. Anyway, with all the burials corrected - and even a bonus "baby in a basket" illustration, I think HB are fairly happy. I need to be keep track of my time and remember to send an invoice with the finished illustrations.
Mira just substituted a couple of new pieces for some of the last remaining old ones, which means I have fewer individual pieces to draw, but they're bigger. But it also means that there are only a handful left, which should mean that they'll all be done pretty soon, which will be good. Mira leaves on Monday, so it would be nice to have them all complete by then.
Obsidian Tech. Illustrations
Did eventually catch Stringy last night, ironically, and had a bit of a gab about lithics stuff. He's left me two articles to read, so I'll get back to you about that one. Had a couple ideas about illustrations showing sourcing which I might sketch up and give to Stringy and see what he says.
Several Mellaart and Bach figurines to draw, but not a huge number. Apart from that, Lynn has been talking about doing various new figurine, people and costume reconstructions. That could all prove very interesting - and add considerably to the existing range of ideas (which are, sadly, some of the last remnants of Mellaart stuff in my reconstructions). Will Ian allow them, though? He's never been particularly happy when I've done "different" stuff.