|CH06 on-site blog|
I started doing an online blog last year, and it seemed to work well as a way of keeping people posted on what I was doing. This version will be a little less elaborate in the hopes that it will make it easier for me to do regular updates.
I actually started work yesterday, going back to a few things that I hadn't had time to finish at the end of last season. In particular, I revisited Building 52 and did a painted version of the very basic reconstruction illustration I put together for Ian for Press Day last year (g3145 - model and pen/ink). I was never particularly happy with the illustration - I had to do it way too quickly. And, as it turned out, it was horribly incorrect in any case, since there's another - later - building sitting in the eastern part of the space with the installation (and no, I don't have the space numbers to hand). And until Doru works out exactly how those two buildings relate to each other, a view like this one isn't going to be possible - unless I use dotted lines to show just how much of the building I don't have info on.
In the meantime, however, I can still focus on the space to the north and the installation itself. That's what the painting I did yesterday was - a view straight onto the bucrania, with the bench off to the left. It's A3, so I can't scan it, but I will take a digital pic and put that in here.
I've also been going through the file of old reconstruction illustrations in the Finds Room and writing up new descriptions for each image and filing them together. If anyone's interested, the file is sitting in the back of my room, on the top of the bookcase. Feel free to browse through it.
Oh, and yes: I have started this year's "Life Among the Crates" installation - it's by the Finds Room door...
Our card reader doesn't seem to be working, and so until it is, I won't be able to scan or photograph any drawings, so it'll be a while yet until any image of g3220 is posted here. You can always come back to the Finds Room and have a look at it, I suppose (how analogue!). Ian came in this morning and saw it - and said he liked it. I need to correct the shape of the plaster head somewhat, since my version is a little fat at the moment and lacks the "ear" bulges on either side. I'll get the photos out again and have a closer look.
In the meantime, I've been working on an Ian project. He asked me to do two maps for Sedrettin's book - one showing Çatal and its various locations, and another showing the local villages. I've done a rough draft of the Çatal map (g3221) which I'll show Ian when he gets back next Wednesday. I'm pretty pleased with the map - Ian asked that it focus on the places that receive most attention in the book: the mound areas, the cafe, the guards' hut, etc. Our Dig House is there, but it doesn't get much of a mention, apparently. Although the map isn't to scale, all the structures, etc. are in their correct relative location. I'll copy the other map from the one I did for the Konya Plain Survey article in On The Surface.
Also did some more descriptions for illustrations in my book of reconstructions that sits in the Finds Room. Still some way to go, but it's interesting going back and having another look at images from seasons gone by. Speaking of illustrations from seasons gone by, Kathy returned the originals of the Boar Skull drawings, so those can go into the file as well.
I've just noticed that there's a half-crate of stone sitting in the Finds Room with a ?for John to draw, CH06 label on it. Work with your name on it, literally. I suppose I'd better get started. And if I'm going to be drawing stone, I think I'll get out my stone reconstruction sketches from last year and review them.
Just gone through the stone reconstruction sketches from previous years. There are four of them - Hey, Jules has just arrived! And Richard, Lisa and Nikky - a full car-load! As I was saying, I've been going through the various stone reconstruction rough drafts I've got from previous years. g1228, g1229 and g1230 date from 2001, and were preliminary sketches based on some of Adnan's ideas about the process of gathering stone. I thought of it as a series, showing three stages in the process of using stone. The first (g1228) showed a group of Çatalhöyük people collecting stone. As the notes on the margin indicate, this would be taking place at the same time as they were doing other things, such as hunting, collecting plants, wood, etc. The scene was to be set in a temporary camp in the Taurus mountains. The second (g1229) was to show someone doing preliminary working of stone, shaping lumps of raw stone into big objects such as grinding stones. I set this scene on a Çatalhöyük rooftop, but perhaps it should be set off-site somewhere? The third illustration (g1230) was to show the reworking of broken pieces of stone, such as smashed grinding stones into smaller items such as axes, beads, amulets, etc. This would have been a more intimate scene, set perhaps in the corner of an interior space.
Looking at this series now, I think it still holds true, but it needs some expansion. The first stage - collecting - should really have more than one setting, perhaps including a scene of people gathering smaller, river-worn pebbles from the banks of the Çarşamba. There should also be a lot more people doing other collecting and gathering tasks.
There's one other reconstruction idea which came from Adnan last year. He suggested doing something to show how specific classes of stone objects were used. His first suggestion was showing a macehead hafted and being carried. I did a quick sketch (g3169), but never got any further than that. It might be an idea to show other tool-types as well - grinding stones, sharpeners, etc.
Shahina asked me to redo a map for Yaşar Bey showing the first and third degree archaeological site boundaries, so worked on that as well, today.
That crate of stone turns out to be filled with stuff I've already drawn, so that's one job I won't have to do. Never mind - there are plenty of others! Spent the first part of the day up at the 4040 fiddling around with cables and so on while the shelter went together. Later, got out g904, the reconstruction of the figurine, and decided to finally redo/finish it. The underpainting was too red, so I went over it with a raw umber/yellow ochre/Payne's' grey mix until it was darker and less violent. I'm worried now, however, that the background is too dark - but I like the way it's just kind of peering out of the shadows.
Got the photocopies of the two axonometric drawings I did up on site last year - 05/145, Building 52 - the wall installation; and 05/535, Building 57 - F.2110 (the Victorian fireplace). Traced them onto new permatrace so that I've got copies. Since I've done Building 52 as a painting, it might be nice to do Building 57's fireplace.
Jules started with Yaşar Bey this afternoon, dividing up today's finds into Etütlük and Envanter. No Envanter yet, tho'. Recording meeting in the afternoon and Dig House rules meeting in the evening.
Changed the email laptop over before 7:00am, then warning tape up in the 4040 this morning, then curtains in the Seminar Room after lunch. Finished g904 - renumbered to g3221 - just before lunchtime and asked Başak if she wouldn't mind doing a caption for it in Turkish, then stuck it on the Finds Room door. Give today's press something to look at besides us, locked in the room. Just trying now, post-lunch, to figure out what I should start on next. I'm tempted to do something with Adnan's stone, since some of those images would be very different from the usual Çatal ones - someone holding (and using) a mace, for example. But I might want to talk to Adnan and Karen a bit first, just to make sure I don't miss an important point. I might do F.2110 - the Victorian Fireplace from Building 57, since I've got my drawing of it now. I'll have to find some good photographs of the decoration; was it drawn? If so, not by me.
Scanned g3220, the new painting of Building 52. It's too big for the scanner, of course, being A3, and it means that annoying patches of light have crept in along the join. But this will do until I can take a digital pic of it. So, ignore the patches of light on the floor between the bench and the installation, and at the extreme southern corner of the painting. Interestingly, this is one of the few full-colour images of buildings I've done that haven't included people. I know Ian doesn't like having them in the pictures, and I can understand how they can so easily become weighted down with cultural references and baggage, but they are so useful at keeping that human scale and element in the buildings. Otherwise we simply fall back into the sterile trap Mellaart created - that Çatalhöyük is a place of things, stuff, "art", etc. - not people and their lives. Sorry - bit of a hobbyhorse moment there.
I'll replace this scan with a photographed version as soon as I can.
First Press Day over and done with - and the General's visit. Just moved g3221 (figurine 5043.x1) from the door of the Finds Room to the noticeboard by the door. Now that it's out of the glare of the light - well, the glare of the glass with the light on it - I can see it clearly again. I have to say, I really do like the palette. I'm not entirely sure about the ochre - it's a bit yellow, still. But for this particular painting, I think it works quite well. And I like the fact that it's so dark, too. I'm going to go back and have a look at some other object reconstructions from past seasons and see whether I can rework them like this one.
Roddy mentioned yesterday that he's finished with the final phase of Building 56, and showed me Jason's rectified photo of the phase. He's done the plan, so I'll borrow that off him today and do the first phase reconstruction. Shahina mentioned at the recording meeting that she would like each phase to have a photo and reconstruction done once the phase has been excavated. That suits me fine - less post-ex to mess around with (well, apart from inking-in). I'll also try and scout out a vignette or two from each building and sketch them up on site, rather than try and work through them down here where there are so many interruptions. That way at least I can start building up a collection of sketches to make use of later on (publication, post-ex, etc.)
I'm still thinking of going back and having a go at the two Building 44 reconstructions from last year, although whether I do or not really depends on whether Levent gets me some more foamboard. I've reminded him twice now. Next time I'll just leave a sample on his desk.
Just been up on site to see the feature that Roddy mentioned yesterday - a stripe of black stuff at the base of various platform and wall edges. It's very definite - a line about 1.5cm high running along the bottom edge of platforms, walls and the oven where they meet the floor. It's not from cleaning or trowelling or anything - it's far too distinct for that. And it doesn't appear to be stratigraphic - ie: it doesn't seem to be some kind of foundation material at the base of these features coming through on the sides. It seems to be a line of black material sitting on top of the grey and the white plaster. The floor plaster below this line seems to be noticeably smoother than the rest of the floor. Roddy, Candemir and I talked about it for a while, thinking about possible explanations.
It seems to be too regular for something as straightforward as residue left by sweeping the floor - and it doesn't occur everywhere. It also doesn't seem likely that it's dirt getting in some kind of margin between, say, hangings on the wall and mats on the floors and platforms. For one thing, the line is there on the hearth and the oven, and there wouldn't - couldn't - be hangings protecting them. And for another, it doesn't occur on every wall/feature-floor junction, which you might more reasonably expect. Thirdly, this gap seems almost too regular and follows the rise and fall of the floor too closely (particularly around the hearth). We talked about a variety of explanations - cleaning, some sort of residue left over from oiling or sealing the floors, pigment, staining from an activity, etc. It was hard to make anything really stick. Possibly the most satisfactory interpretation was that it was caused by something that combined all the above. What if it was something like an oil or resin, perhaps put down for insect or vermin control or something, that was regularly wiped along the junctions between platforms/walls and floors as part of regular cleaning/scouring activities. This activity could have been combined with regular scrubbing/hard brushing of the floor in the same places which resulted in the smoothing along those lines.
Roddy said at lunch that the more he thought about it, the more he liked the bug-repellent oil idea. I'll take my sketch (g3222) and maybe work on it a little today?
Drew the stamp-seal from the 4040 [12902.x1]; no doubt it will go to Envanter when Yaşar Bey eventually sees it. Trying to do the same as I did last year and anticipate what will be selected for Envanter material and draw it when it comes in.
Just got an email from a Finnish book publisher wanting an illustration of the Çatal roofs. He sent, as an example of what he'd like, that map illustration from the sixties with the 2001 air-hostesses. I didn't copy his details onto the network, so I can't remember what his name was or anything. I'll get that info later this morning. However, it's a nicely serendipitous request, as I've had the idea in the back of my mind for a while to redo that image - same p.o.v., etc. - for some time. Rather than just send off an image that we've got in the archive, I thought I'd take the opportunity of this request to redo it. I'll need some foamboard to mount the painting on, but I have everything else I need, so I can get started straight away.
Maria mentioned last night that she's on to yet another Byzantine/late burial, and it put me in mind of the fact that, once again, I've not done anything with these late burials for some time. Perhaps it's time for an updated version of the Byzantine Burial painting from 1999?
Did a pencil version of the B56 Bugz picture - g3223.
Made a quick model for this Finnish/2001 view and traced it over onto a clean sheet of A3. Went up about an hour ago to the 4040 to get the western mountains and the clouds. I know this sounds a bit poncey and arty, but I'm particularly taken with the clouds on these cooler, clearer days. The sky is just that right shade of blue that I like to paint; and, of course, with it being cooler and clearer, you can see the mountains, hence me wanting to get them right. Now I'll start adding in people and animals and things. I need to think for a little while and get a good list of people/animal vignettes before I actually start putting them in.
Worked on the rough draft of that Finnish view yesterday. At first I stuck very closely to the 2001 picture - same distance, etc. - but as I worked on it, the less satisfied I was. In the end, I moved closer, so that the p.o.v. is quite close to the roof surface. You can see the people much more clearly now, and so the focus is as much on the activity as the structure of the roof areas, which I think is important. So I'm adding in more people now. I've got a trio of plant women in the foreground, and some people working skin and bone in the background. I want to get some sheep/goats in there as well, but am not quite sure how to do it. A butchering scene, perhaps? I'm not sure how much I want to work on it today, since I'll get drawn in and then have to tear myself away this afternoon for Party Business. Shahina and Levent got some foamboard in Ankara - thank you, both. I'll cut a couple of A3 pieces to mount the Finnish rough draft on.
Oh, and Yaşar Bey apparently didn't take that fragmentary stamp seal for Envanter. Holding out for another Bear, perhaps?
Mm. Definitely won't do any more on that Finnish rough draft now, or I will get too drawn in. Ian's back, and said that he had talked to someone up in Istanbul, and heard about Şennur's plan to get me to come up to the Yapi Kredi exhibition and thought it was a great plan. I'll be creating a whole new generation of bolshy archaeological illustrators, I said to Shahina.
I've had a couple of ideas about that Atölye gig. I thought it might be a nice idea to do a very short kind of guide to drawing reconstructions, showing features as we find them and then as they are reconstructed: walls, platforms, benches, ovens, hearths, timber posts, ladders, roofs, wall-installations, wall-paintings, etc. Maybe also some people based on figurines and wall-paintings.
Incidentally, now that Ian's back I should print out the Saddettin map for him to have a look at and either okay or suggest changes. And I need to see if Jason can download from the old digital camera's cards.
Just showed the map to Ian, who said he liked the style, so I can go ahead and get started on the village map and do it in the same way. We'll do specific corrections later, but Ian noted a couple of changes that should be made: "Guards' House" should probably be "My House" (and "Cafe" possibly "My Cafe"); the Datum doesn't need to be on the map. Also, he prefers the spelling "Sadrettin".
Jason's downloaded the photos from the old camera for me, so I've added in some recent images.
Back at work; hard not to wish one was working at Alahan, tho'.
Finished the maps for Sadrettin's book. I've now done three: a map of Turkey with a zoom showing Konya, Çatalhöyük and Çumra (g3225); a map of the villages and höyüks around us (g3226); a map of the site's buildings (g3224). Just need Ian to go over them. He suggested the day before yesterday that g3226 and g3225 could be combined, but it makes the villages very small and hard to read, so I'll have to go over that again with him. We also talked last night about the possibility of illustrating the book with a few line drawings, which would look really nice. However, since the publisher is Mitch Allen, I'm not sure if he would go for more illustrations by me.
Went up to site after breakfast for a bit of a loiter. Hung around the South Shelter for half an hour or so doing some sketching, mostly just to have a break from working on the maps. Despite the heat, it's still a really nice atmosphere in the South Shelter. I can't understand why it isn't possible to remove some of the side panels, though: they're just held on with bolts. Surely it would be easy to unbolt them and let the air in?
Wouldn't mind getting up there a couple times a week to do some more sketches, just because it's so nice. I love the cubic nature of the excavated area and the overarching geometry of the shelter ceiling. It's such a strongly designed space, which is kind of ironic, I suppose, given that it's developed so organically. Roddy is taking off floor makeup and coming down onto a very ashy layer - uniformly distributed across the building, as far as he can see. The makeup layer rises and falls to make the eventual floor surface level. The makeup level also includes pre-forms for the oven and the hearth, which is kind of what I went up there to see. Roddy mentioned it last night, and it's exactly as he describes: the makeup material shaped into rough, low "outlines" of the oven and hearth, as if whoever made the floor was indicating exactly where and in what shape the eventual features were to be constructed. Does this imply a division of labour between whoever does the makeup and whoever builds the features? Like leaving instructions for the builders? Candemir is stuck in a burial - possibly the first of many. Oh well. There's possibly a wall coming up through the fill, so it's possible that they are coming down onto another building.
I didn't do any sketching in the 4040 - well, just a few little squiggles. I'll do some proper ones up there tomorrow, perhaps. Maria's digging out some kind of ?threshold foundation trench fill from that late building. Once that goes, the remainder of the backfill will come out, and then that's that feature finished. Lisa's got a nice big, empty building (B59; How does she find them?) with some very groovy bins: very crisp walls with very even walls. There are some traces of red paint on the western wall of the southern end of the space, which Duygu, Ian and Shahina were having a look at with an eye to getting some of the women to have a go at.
Reminded myself of two outstanding jobs: the phase reconstruction of Building 56, and possibly also a shaded plan - like the one I did of Building 5. Although it's probably best to do the plan that way in ink, so I must make sure I get good scans and/or photocopies of the plans (which are sitting on my desk). Also, Sonya has a squished clayball with a deep thumb hole and mat impressions and there are also some bits of painted stucco/plaster from 4040 that I should draw as well, once Duygu has finished cleaning them.
Told the Finnish guy that I'm out on site and not to worry, that the image would be on its way shortly.
Ian approved the final corrections to the Sadrettin maps, so those are finished now. Scanned Roddy's final B56 plans, so I'll start on the reconstruction of that this afternoon. Kathy came in briefly and we talked about having preliminary discussions on the KFP "Puppy-in-a-Box" and B58 oven/skull/dog reconstructions. Did some tech stuff sorting out a better way of mounting paintings. Also want to do a recon of the B57 oven.
Interrupted with a reworking of the site areas plan for Shahina, but back now to Building 41. Went up to the North with half a mind to have a look at Building 41 to see whether anyone would be interested in a reconstruction of it. Doru and Maria both were, so I think I'll have a go at it. I'll need to wait for a few more days until Maria finishes where she is, but the basic outline of it is fairly straightforward: a two-storey, gable-roofed building with internal divisions. The roof was almost certainly not tile (no tiles were found in the backfill of the foundation trench), but could have been reed/straw thatch like the TP building; or, as Doru suggested, possibly wooden shingles. Some details to consider include the "Log Burial" found in the interior, the moulded plaster that was under the wood and the feature that Maria's digging within the trench which may be an extraction feature associated with a threshold of some kind (it lies equidistant along the southern end of that space). There's also possibly some sort of extension or porch to the South - remember the awning- covered alley in the TP building?
Just did a quick ten-minute sketch in acrylics of the building - sans porch/extension or whatever it is, but with the entrance where Maria's extraction feature is. Also didn't put in the crane or whatever went into the postholes Doru excavated. I'll save those details until I get a plan and know the building a bit better.
Can't remember what I was starting to work on yesterday evening when Shahina called to find me. Whatever it was, it went by the wayside. She said the Yapi Kredi press people wanted an image from us - the 1960s map one. Not only do we not have a high resolution copy of it, she didn't want to send it to them anyway, and asked if I had a substitute. I didn't - not then. I hadn't really done much more on the Finnish picture, which was to be the replacement. However, I said I could get to work on it: when did the Yapi Kredi people want it? Tomorrow afternoon. Hmm; me and my big mouth.
But I got started anyway. There was no way I could do a complete copy of the image by then, but I could plan the job out so that whatever I managed to get done would still be usable. I traced the original image and used that rough to work up a pencil drawing and tried to mount that on this foamboard I've got. But, as my experiments with mounting have made clear, my usual method of using matte or gloss medium just don't work: the medium doesn't adhere well to the plastic coating of the board. I had some success yesterday in the morning with using PVA, so I thought I would use that on the rough draft. Big mistake. It's just too old and too severe. The rough draft wrinkled and buckled, and eventually the whole thing bowed. I tried to correct it by slitting the bulges and gluing them down separately, but that didn't work. In the end, after wasting an hour or so, I had to throw the whole thing away and start over again. I copied the tracing directly onto the foamboard surface with sharpie and then painted directly onto that: the same way I did g3220. That worked much better.
I wanted to make sure that at every step of the way, I had a usable painting, just in case I underestimated how much I could get done in the available time. So I started by putting in the blocks of the mudbrick building structures. After that, I added in the temporary roof structures and ladders, and then moved onto people and their accoutrements this morning. Because I could overpaint, the whole thing went quite smoothly. There are only four people and a dog in it at the moment, but I'll be adding in more figures and details over the next few days. After that, it's next stop is the Finnish guy. The only thing that's difficult about doing a painting this way is adjusting the fall of light across the image. Since with each new figure or detail, the fall of light and shadow changes, I do end up leaving areas where the contrast between light and shade isn't as sharp as I would like. The shelter in the middle of the foreground isn't quite grounded yet with proper shadow, for example. And there are still vague areas where I haven't put in detail yet, but intend too, and so have left what's there at the moment blurry and background-y (the log-pile in the bottom right is a good example: I want to add in some structural stuff on the right-hand end of that building, so the log-pile will be in the background behind it - thus I've left it a bit out of focus, and it looks like I haven't finished it, which I suppose I haven't really. I also want to work on the background a bit more. So bear in mind that for all intents and purposes, this is still an incomplete illustration.
I'm still fairly pleased with the way it's turned out so far (although I think I see the incomplete parts of it too much). It was quicker than I expected, which was good. I have to thank Maria for the fuel: some cities are built on rock'n'roll - this one was built on Spaghetti Pie and Vodka and Tonics...
Jason took a photo of it about an hour ago. He took one shot on RAW, which meant that he could adjust the hue/saturation/etc. more easily. Shahina's got the shot now, too, and so she can send it off whenever she wants.
With a brief interlude correcting the West Mound Fence plans and drawing up plans for the new kitchen sinks, I am back to whatever it was I was doing before I did the painting. I think I'll go up to the South Area and have a look at the burning and burials in B56.
Midsummer's Day. Lots of very quiet people around this morning after last night's Three Doctors party.
Today, to quote the Fast Show, I will be mostly doing finds drawing and building reconstructions. When I was up in the 4040 yesterday, I had a look at the building Lisa and Richard just finished - Building 59. Despite Ian saying it was the most boring building he'd ever seen at Çatal, I think it's quite interesting. For instance, there's the the collection of post scars and impressions in the crawlhole between the main space and the un-dug southern one. There seem to possibly be two posts, one on either side of the hole, and the mark of a third down on the threshold itself. Could this mean that it was a larger feature? Not so much a crawl-hole, more like a real door? I said yesterday to Lisa and Richard that I hadn't seen anything like it before, but now that I think about it, wasn't there a wooden lintel on a door in Building 2? I'll have to check that reference, but I think that's right. Anyway, the post scars are still unusual, and I've never seen them in quite that arrangement before. Because of that, it would be an interesting building to do a reconstruction of, even if I wasn't going to be doing one anyway.
There's also Building 41, which now definitely has an extension out the front. I'll see how much of the building plan I can get off the overall 4040 plan and how much I'll have to add in from last year and this year's feature plans. I also need to find the locations of the "crane" postholes Doru talked about.
Thirdly, there's Building 56, which I have plans for and everything, just need to combine them into one image and draw it up.
In fact, I just spent the morning being IT guy, changing around laptops and unsuccessfully trying to revive an old PC that had lost its will to compute. I'll get stuck into some real work now.
Actually had quite a productive day in a kind of mopping-up sort of way. Captured the plans of all the 4040 buildings which I will now be using to do the final phase reconstructions. Started with Building 41 and took the plan into Bryce to build a model. Kept it relatively simple, but wrapped it up in a UV-mapped texture to get windows, etc. in the right places. Played around a little with the idea of an extension at the southern end of the building, and made it a single-storey, flat-roofed addition with a door from the first floor of the main building out onto the roof. Unfortunately, there are now no clues as to the locations of any entrances, so that will have to be done on some kind of best-guess basis.
Jules and I have got the Wicker Man playing in the background in honour of our Midsummer party tonight: "Much has been said of the strumpets of yore..."
I've just been putting guides on all the 4040 plans from last year and grumbling a little to myself about the size of them. I hate the fact that because everything I do has to be digitally reproduced, it just about has to be A4 or smaller so that it can be scanned easily - to say nothing of transported between site and home. But A4 is so small! I finally gave up with the paintings - you'll notice all of them are A3, now; thankfully, having Jason around means that they can be properly photographed. But I've always been dissatisfied with the straight-forward building reconstructions because of the A4 limit. And, in fact, there's a lot of wasted space on the A4 page because the building is turned to generate the angles for the axonometric projection.
But - doh! - I just realised, of course, that I don't need to restrict myself to A4. I can do the guides and the pencil at A4 out here, then at home, enlarge the rough to A3, ink it in at the larger size and have them scanned on an A3 scanner. That way I can get the proper (usable) level of detail in the final drawing. Why didn't I think of that before? Shows how sometimes having all this technology blinds you a bit. I bet if I were doing this all by hand and just with an old photocopier, I would have been doing this all along. Double doh! Still, glad I realised all this before I got started, eh?
Just had an excellent meeting with Burcu and Sonya about their community project. Part of Sonya's whole idea involves a cartoon/comic strip "newssheet" about Çatalhöyük for kids from Küçükköy. The basic idea is that every two weeks throughout the season we would print up a newssheet about the site and what's happening, done in comic strip format. These sheets would include both "background" information - about the various materials, the various ideas and interpretations, the various buildings and excavation areas, etc. - and contemporary stuff about what's just been discovered. These stories would link together the current excavations with the local villagers and reconstructions of the Neolithic.
As a narrative device, I came up with the idea of using a brother and sister from present-day Küçükköy who have an uncle and aunt who work at the site. They start thinking about Çatalhöyük and wondering what it was like in the Neolithic. Their wondering links them then both to our work on the site as well as to a Neolithic brother and sister. This would hopefully provide a workable framework for connecting the past, the present, the people in Küçükköy and us. A couple of things I thought would be important to have would be: real people, real work and real time references; some kind of future link at the end of each newssheet; general background as well as references to specific discoveries.
I also finally got someone to take on board the idea of an interpretation panel in Küçükköy! Sonya and Burcu will talk to the villagers about it soon and see if we can't get that installed somewhere central in the village. We also talked about doing the parties again - which apparently those who came from Küçükköy talked about a lot afterwards; kept bringing it up for the rest of the year, so Sonya said.
Anyway, Sonya's off in a week's time, so I need to get a "look" together before she goes, definitely. I put together an outline sketch of the initial page that we'll do - a two-sided sheet introducing the site and the characters (including some of us, incidentally; they'll end up like the SMM cartoon characters did). Burcu will get some examples of cartoons for me to look at tomorrow. Sonya and Burcu are also going to do an update on the whole community project on Sunday, so I'll put in my two pennyworth then as well.
A couple of interesting things came up in the site tour on Thursday afternoon; my favourite was Richard's garden in 4040. He and Lisa have been clearing fill out of a feature separated from their midden by a line of wall. Richard described this fill as being completely unlike midden - rich, dark and clean. It then turned out to be the other half of a feature Doru dug last year, connected to Building 52. The fill was the same, and there were some bits and pieces of older buildings showing through it. The wall that bounded the western side of Richard and Lisa's fill seemed to have no function save from separating the rich fill from the midden. Richard then suggested that the fill looked like garden soil. Was this then a plot for growing small crops within the settlement? Separated from the midden, it must have looked like a small walled garden sitting between the houses. Must get the plans for this and Building 60 off Richard and Lisa!
Spent the rest of the day adding more people into g3230. Put in the woman with the papoose climbing the ladder (although I had to move her), someone carrying a basket on the big roof, a woman sorting things into baskets and a man who's been carving a wooden bowl on the foreground roof, plus four others in the mid-ground. I still need to put background people in. I also put highlights on the roof with the woodpile, which brings it out a bit more, and put some baskets and drying things on the foreground shelter roof.
As Sonya is leaving on Tuesday, and as her Community Archaeology seminar is this evening, I thought I'd better get to work on the comic and get the look of that straight. So that's what I've been working on all day. The first thing I needed to do was get the people looking right, since they would not only be the principal focus of the comic but also set the tone for the rest of it. I thought it was important to find a comic style that would be accessible to children right across the age spectrum, and so I went for something fairly young-looking, but that could support a lot of detail if necessary. Yes, all the characters will look like child-like - but that's kind of the point. If they look too adult, then kids automatically put them at a distance; adult-looking characters run the risk of being far too didactic. If the intention of this comic is partly to introduce the concept that archaeology is about developing and refining ideas about the past rather than handing out truths, then the style of the comic must complement that intention. This splash panel sets out what I think is a good style for the project: simple colours and strong line-drawings with realistic detailing. Hopefully this will end up being easily accessible without looking too dumbed-down. I like the idea of being able to include a fairly high level of detail in order to be able to maintain a relatively sophisticated level of information and discussion. After all, if we're going to be running stories trying to explain micromorphology and radiocarbon dating, the visuals need to be able to accommodate those concepts. I feel happy that this style can cope with both cartoon-y versions of us as well as the odd linear accelerator or microexcavation lab!
This afternoon I'll work on the rough outline for the first newsletter. I asked Sonya and Burcu if they wouldn't mind me scripting this one more or less by myself, since it's the first one and I need a bit of space to get used to how the visuals, layout and story are going to work. The script as we discussed it a few days ago, runs roughly something like this:
Brother and Sister live in Küçükköy. They see Çatalhöyük everyday and want to know more about it. They know that every summer, archaeologists come to Çatalhöyük. They are not sure what they do there. Their Uncle and Aunt work at Çatalhöyük in the summer, and say that many hundreds of years ago, there was a town there bigger than Küçükköy. But what's happened to the houses? What's happened to the people? Did children like Brother and Sister live there? Brother and Sister want to know more, but how are they going to find out? Maybe they'll learn the answers if they visit Çatalhöyük...
So hopefully this initial script will act as an introduction for more such newsletters if Sonya's project gets off the ground.
Didn't do any blogging yesterday because the network was down in the morning, and then I got busy with other things. Mostly worked on the comic strip in the morning. Worked out the final version of the script with Sonya and Burcu, and settled a number of remaining questions about tone, style and direction. I put the narrative all from the point of view of the two kids, and, at Sonya's suggestion, made sure that the direction of the script was much less about 'getting answers' and much more about 'finding out'. Burcu picked names for the kids and their Aunt and Uncle. The boy is Burak, the girl Bilge, the Aunt Emine and the Uncle Ismet.
Above are the final panels - minus artwork, and with the text in English - for this season's "pilot" comic strip. The scripting isn't much changed from the outlines I did a few days ago (g3233), but at Sonya and Burcu's suggestion, the middle of the script has been expanded to include much more detailed and specific information about the site - that it's Neolithic, that they used stone tools, etc.
Also above are three guides to Bilge, Burak and Mustafa. These guides will help me keep the appearance, design and proportions of the characters consistent. I won't do a guide for everyone, but I will do for those characters that reoccur regularly, such as these three, Uncle Ismet and Aunt Emine, Shahina, Ian, etc. I've also got a blank character guide which I can use to create one-off people.
That took me most of the morning, and then I got a call from Roddy via Jason to come up to the South Shelter and have a look at Candemir's skeleton . When I got up there, Candemir and Roddy pointed out phytoliths on the elbows, shoulder, back and legs. The phytoliths were extremely well-preserved on the bones, and you could see the twist of the fibres really clearly. Each set seemed to consist of one wider and one more narrow phytolith band, indicating perhaps that each set represented not a discrete binding, but a continuous winding of the same two ropes around different portions of the body. If that is the case, then the binding starts at the shoulder, winds around the upper arms and across the back, then loops down to pass around the elbows and possibly around or behind the knees, then from there crossing down to the lower back and across the legs, then down to the ankles. This pattern will become much more clear as Candemir continues to dig the skeleton, but for the moment, that's how it looks (Well, that's how it looked yesterday; I haven't been up and had a look yet today).
Roddy also had something to show me - that small cluster of obsidian debitage  just next to the makeup for the bench. It's clearly related to one event: perhaps someone sitting on the makeup of the bench sharpening some kind of tool in preparation for using it elsewhere in the building - maybe fixing scaffolding or temporary roof supports or something? In those makeup layers he's also got a temporary post-setting like the one he had in Building 44. There was also that ashy/rubbishy stuff that now turns out to be midden-y - Roddy suggested a bit of fly-tipping going on on the building site? Anyway, when he comes back from France (laden with gifts of cheese, corkscrews and champagne, naturally), we'll maybe do some of these as little vignettes. Which reminds me, I really should go back to those two from last year...
Shahina just came in and reminded me that we needed to talk about outreach/community projects with regard to the Visitors' Centre and our interpretation panels, etc. She wondered if we couldn't make use of the comic style that I'm using for Sonya's book to produce a new set of panels in the Visitors' Centre for children. We can summarise the panels that we've got up there now and add some cartoon illustrations to them, but otherwise keep the same style that we've got going in there so that things don't look too "bitty". She also wondered if I could complement Jason's photos of various community activities with some line-drawings - rather like the ones I did of the traditional costumes and displays we had here in 2002.
Başak came in and asked if I had seen Candemir's skeleton, which, of course I had. So we talked about the bindings a bit. I was right - this is really the first really good example of a bound skeleton. There was some phytolith on a burial in Building 1, but with no real definition to it; there was the phytolith on Dido, which had very good definition, but didn't go anywhere; and there was the phytolith on Rafi that went across the jaw, but had no definition. But now we have this, which has both definition (you can see the twist of the fibres very clearly) and very clear direction and position. So we will definitely do a burial reconstruction for this one. Add it to the list!
Very good Pub Quiz last night; let's do it again!
My to-do list is getting a little out of hand at the moment. I need to complete the comic quickly, because that's the first deadline that's coming up. Then I need to finish the painting for the Finnish guy, have Jason photograph it and send that off. Then I need to quickly zip through the Building 41 reconstruction, the final details on the B52 painting, the CH05 4040 buildings, Roddy's  and B56 construction activities, and get Richard's garden down on paper. While I'm doing the comic, I should really also do some Visitors' Centre illustrations. And while I'm getting Richard's garden plan, I should also get the plan for Building 59.
So my first job this morning is to do the artwork for the comic, then scan and colour it in after breakfast. I need to work out the specifics of various panels, so I'll do each one individually - should make for faster colouring-in, too.
Spent WAY too much time yesterday trying to get my bloody Rotring pens cleaned. Finally got the .70 to work this morning, so did the first Küçükköy panel. It's turned out quite well. I know it's small, but it took a little while to get the technique down. I toyed around with doing a lot more drawing, and then finally decided to do the backgrounds for these panels just in colour, as too much black line made the panels somewhat cluttered. I'll have to watch that when I get into the more detailed scripts. Also spent some time arranging a specific palette, with some cool but not washed out colours for the backgrounds and some richer variations for the foreground. As far as possible I'd like to maintain and keep a standard palette as it lends a lot of consistency to the project. The ink drawing is done on permatrace - and although I'd like to get the other pens working, I am restricted at the moment to that one .70 pen, which isn't ideal because it's quite thick. So I'm doing the drawings at 150% and colouring them at that scale as well. I'll then shrink each one down once its finished and do the layout panel by panel. That should actually work quite well, because it leaves me free to adjust the colours and layout of the panel right up until the final stages. The only problem I can foresee, however, is that I will need to borrow a somewhat more powerful computer at the layout stage; this laptop just won't be able to handle it.
Spent the rest of the day painting a rough vignette for Roddy of the obsidian knapping event around . Just a few more details to finish and then I'll scan it.
Rain! Bloody hell - don't see that very often. Made me think about Çatal and water again, however.
Been here a month, now - hard to believe it, almost. Sunrise like a big pink and orange explosion this morning. I wonder if it had anything to do with our recent cold weather and rain? Pete leaves later this morning. Went through the comic panels early this morning just to sort through them. So many stages to them it's kind of hard to keep them all straight. Realised that I'm supposed to be thinking about a children's' panel for the Visitor's Centre as well. First things first: I need that font that I gave to Milo last year for the panel titles. I can't find it on the laptop - I'll check my font sites.
Well that was a bit of a waste of time. Spent most of the morning sifting through various of my and Milo's files looking for any clues as to what that bloody font was, and didn't find anything. Milo didn't keep a record of what fonts he used - which I suppose is fair enough; I never do, and it was my font in the first place. But it's a pain, because I don't know what I'm going to do now. Besides which, I was thinking about it again, and I'm really not sure I have the time to sit around and do two complete children's panels for the VC. Isn't that why we have Nick on board? Maybe I can just do some temporary ones to go underneath each adult panel in the VC and leave the big one to Nick and his team next year. That would be best, perhaps.
Forgot to say that I didn't find the font anywhere online though. Did pick up some new ones that might come in handy, including some good comics ones that I can use if I do end up doing smaller kids' panels. I'll have to talk to Shahina about it all, though.
Did more comix stuff: the arrivals panel and the Ismet/Emine panel from page one. It's moving a bit faster now as I'm getting more into the swing of it.
Oh, by the way, Jason has got me set up with a Çatal online blog. I'll have a look at it all tomorrow at some point and maybe transfer some of this blog there.
Went up to the 4040 just before three and had a quick look at Maria's feature - it's an infant Byzantine burial. Very nice, with broken tiles stacked up to make the sides and some larger chunks of rubble to makes the walls. I really want to do some more of those Byzantine burials, particularly after seeing the robe in Karaman for myself with Pete on Friday. Pity we didn't have more time to take a proper photograph - I'll ask if we go back there again. Anyway, this is all part of my plot to try and redress the balance and get some more Byzantine reconstructions out of Çatalhöyük, despite the objections Ian raised all those years ago to my first Byzantine Burial painting. I shall get the 4040 Squad to review the Building 41 model tomorrow and then use that as my starting point.
Up to 4040 first thing to take some photographs of Maria's infant burial - F. 1476. Got some nice pics which I'll put into a reconstruction, I think.
Also took a quick look at Building 51. Doru has excavated the niche which was just coming through at the end of last season, and which I never saw. The niche has got paint around the exterior edge, and some red paint on the inner southern wall. The niche is rectangular, but has an inner lip where the roof and walls of the niche move in ever so slightly. There's also a large piece of wood coming through the bottom surface of the niche - a small plank or piece of wood put into the bottom of the niche before it was plastered. Was it from the burnt building, Building 52? Or is it just functional - to keep the niche floor from wearing out or collapsing?
Doru pointed out that you can see the burnt material of B52 through gaps in the floor of B51. The floors of B51 are not very thick - and there are only two of them. Interestingly, however, you can also see layers of what look like burnt plaster in the two platforms. Were these burnt in situ? Are they remnants of features associated with B52? Or did they reuse burnt material from B52 to construct B51? Hard to say at the moment; we'll see more as Doru starts to get through the building.
I'll also get started on the Building 41 painting. I'll start by doing an enlarged rough from the model and then work forward from that.
Also, post-rain, I wouldn't mind doing something with Çatal water; I've got a rough draft, g3245, that I should work up.
Did, indeed, work up g3245 into something rough (g3246). I'll mount it up and paint it, I think. Not much to it, data-wise; it's just a "lets think about water on the site" image. I've only got one person in there at the moment, but I'd like to add the second, standing against the back wall.
Went up to the South Area later on in the afternoon and talked through the binding of 12875 with Basak. We're still talking through it all, but it's looking as if there are two sets of bindings, one for the upper body, one for the lower. The two meet at the waist in a large knot, possibly with the loose ends trailing across the lower back. The top set of bindings hold the upper arms together and the elbows; the lower ones wrap around and between the legs and around the ankles. Once Basak and Candemir have finished excavating the skeleton, we can go through all our notes on the binding and see exactly what we come up with. Hopefully we'll be able to reconstruct the exact pattern of the binding in some detail and with some certainty. It would be great if we could, as this is our best ever example of such a bound burial.
Rather a lot of half-finished reconstructions sitting on my desk at the moment, and rather a lot of interruptions. Up early this morning to try and clear some stuff out of the way. Still wish I could get the mounting issue resolved more satisfactorily - that way I could take some of these rough drafts and paste them directly onto the foamboard. I know the problem has a solution - but what? Wot a pain in the arse. I'm now trying a print onto card and using mate medium to secure that to the foam board. I'll be surprised if it works, to be honest.
That's more like it. Did a colour version of the Rainy Day picture (g3247). Binding the card to the foamboard seemed to work, which is a bit of good news at last. Hope it lasts. I'm going to start in on the Building 41 painting in a little while, I think. Quite like the colour version of Rainy Day; it's not meant to answer any particular questions about water collection, runoff, etc. - just to serve as kind of an introduction to the topic. After all, what does happen to all that water? Do we find traces of it? Are we seeing it in middens, on walls, floors at all? If not - why not?
Just remembered that I should print out and finish the B51 reconstruction from the end of last season - the one drawn directly over the final photo shot.
Had a quick talk through the above reconstruction ideas with Shahina (always easier when we're actually here, on site), and got straight what she thought would work best. She does want me to continue to do the standard projected reconstructions, which she still finds useful - as do I (and which reproduce very nicely, incidentally - see the repros in "The Leopards Tale"). But she also wants to have something that mirrors the photographs but doesn't mind if I "pull back" to get a better view into the building and show more, etc. So that's good. I can get started on the 4040 ones taken from the plans and ink-in the ones from CH04 (if I can get new pens in Konya, that is); and I can also work on the photo-aligned ones as well. Glad that's sorted out; I'll start with Building 51, since that's the one I've already begun. After that I'll move to B58, since that's now open as well.
San Tropicana Independence Day! Free Voodoo fritters!
Scanned all the building reconstructions from ÇH04. They're just the pencils, since I never inked them in for some reason. If I can get some new Rotring pens from Konya (I've decided that the ones still here aren't recoverable - they're too badly damaged by old ink), I'll ink them and the ÇH05 ones in.
Sp. 112/231 Sp. 229 Building 42 Building 43 Building 45 Building 48 Building 49
I'll add in the ÇH05 buildings to this list as they get completed, and that will bring the 4040 up to date, I think, as far as these projected reconstructions are concerned. After that I'll hunt out photos (using the new photo catalogue) and do the photo-aligned ones.
Now that it's sunny again, I'll try and book Jason later and get the roof painting photographed and then send that off to the Finnish publisher (get that job finished - ha, ha). And I'll also maybe have a look at getting the online blog started as well; log on and check that out. Terrace party tonight to inaugurate a new dance floor Light Era.
Up in the 4040 this morning, talking a bit to Doru about B51 and B52. He's got a fairly good idea now of how the former sits inside the latter (although I suppose that should really be how the latter sits inside the former?), and what bits of B52 are reused and reworked into B51. At present, it seems as if B51 was built quite quickly into the remains of B52. Demolition rubble was moved aside or shaped to provide a small makeup layer in the northeast corner; other features were reused, such as the northeast corner platforms and the niche. Part of an internal wall was reused as the western external wall, but a completely new southern wall was constructed. Some basic plaster was slapped on everywhere, and new features such as bins, a post-and-wall and a fire installation were built. Maybe, as Shahina suggested, the destruction happened outside of the usual construction season, so it "wasn't possible" to rebuild Building 52. And perhaps, too, because the building contained installations, it also "wasn't possible" to simply knock them all down and rebuild, because they hadn't been treated properly - hadn't been broken up and/or retrieved. Constructing Building 51 may have had two immediate effects: it provided a temporary place for the inhabitants of Building 52 to live (it was only occupied for a short length of time, after all) and also gave the inhabitants an opportunity to "properly" close B51 as the final phase of Building 52 - as a substitute for not having been able to properly close the bit that burnt.
Posted my first online blog, so parts of this are out now in the real world. I summarised what I've done so far in June, and posted the summary with a couple of pictures - the painting of Building 52 and the test page of the comic strip. Also used the portrait above instead of a photograph. Well, it seemed appropriate.
It'll be interesting to see who reads and comments on the blog. There are only two entries so far - mine and Sonya's, and so it's hardly riveting reading. But everyone's been invited to join, so we'll have to see who takes up the offer/challenge. It's not too hard to write this blog or to write diaries, but to go online and post stuff from here is still a little awkward. Maybe we could run something on the server and then publish it to the web once a day or once every couple of days?
Now engaged in painting the piñata...
There's nothing like a really nice weekend to put you in a good mood for the rest of the week. Well, I say weekend, but of course, it isn't really.
Got an email from Sonya asking how the comic strip was going. It's going well, but I haven't really worked on it for a while, so I got all the files out and have been doing that all day. The results look quite nice, if I say so myself. They're not finished - I need to do the layout for both pages and then get the translated text from Burcu - but, even so, the individual panels still look pretty good.
Posted another online blog entry this morning, setting out what I was going to be getting up to in the week ahead. There's a nice selection of finds to draw now, too, so I'll start in on them tomorrow, I think.
Well, didn't get a chance to do any finds drawing yesterday, but I'm almost almost finished with the comic pages, so I'll definitely start in on the finds tomorrow (I promise). Just as well, as they're beginning to pile up a little. Well, not pile up in the way that they do at the end of the season, but there are enough of them now to warrant clearing my desk of other stuff and spending a good few days on them.
But I need to finish the comic first, and that involves booking time on a faster computer in order to do the layout. So, I've asked Shahina if I can use hers after breakfast. It shouldn't take me too long to do the layout itself - after all, all the panels are now finished, and I did the actual structure of the pages two weeks ago - so perhaps by lunchtime I should have some kind of semi-finished version to show. I'll print the pages out and review them - I may need to make some corrections to the individual panels; then I'll turn it over to Burcu for translation. There's the possibility that I'll need to enlarge some of the text boxes, since they were designed for English, so I might need to shift some of the illustrations around after Burcu gives me the Turkish text.
Finally sat down with Guneş and Mihriban yesterday evening and had a look at the Musular material. Both had mentioned to me that Guneş had done some reconstructions of the site and was wondering if I would have a look at them. I've always liked both Aşıkılı and Musular, and so the obvious thing to do was to offer to do a couple of illustrations for them as well - an offer they both seemed quite keen to take up. So we said that we would all sit down at some point and go over the Musular plans and photos and Guneş' drawings. Yesterday evening we grabbed five minutes and did just that.
I remembered all the main features of the site: the main building with its red floor, the built-up and rock-cut drainage channels and the "entrance" with its rock-cut "ramps" on either side, possibly - Guneş said - for some kind of fence or wall, probably ceremonial in nature rather than defensive. Guneş has done an excellent model of the main building in 3DMax (so jealous!), with some nice textures taken from photographs of the site. He's rendered it with a photo backdrop from the site itself, and it looks very nice indeed. That model will save me a lot of work, since I won't have to work out the reconstruction of the building itself. What both Guneş and Mihriban asked for was at least one view, possibly two, over the site as a whole, showing the main features plus some activities - cleaning and preparing hides, also, presumably, some people coming back from hunting, repairing and preparing hunting tools, dumping stuff in their middens, etc., etc. Guneş is going to put his photos, model renders and drawings on the network at some point, so I'll grab them from there and then get to work.
Guneş suggested that there might be material in this project for me to write a monograph, but I never have time for that sort of thing. Instead, I suggested that there might be a paper in it for the three of us - the process of reconstructing a site that has never had any reconstructions done of it before, contrasting that to Çatal, perhaps, and then also the whole process of having two illustrators doing illustrations of the site, and the particular challenges of getting an illustrator in who has never worked there. I'll certainly write stuff down as I work on the material, and then we'll see where we go from there.
But first and foremost, I'm really looking forward to doing the illustrations, particularly because I have such fond memories of the trips out to Aşıkılı Höyük in those early years. Always thought it was a great site - and now I get to do reconstructions of Musular - perfect! (Funnily enough, Guneş said he was probably the person who gave us our first tour of A, and I think I remember him - he had long hair back then).
Also talked to Kathy very briefly before she left about her article on Building 52. She's coordinating everyone else who's working on it, and so she wanted to ask if I would be willing to do the illustrations for it. Of course - but it would be nice to know what each contributor might want before we actually get too far into it. I don't want to be called in at the last minute, otherwise I'll end up just focusing on one or two aspects of the article rather than the whole thing.
We also had a quick word about the puppy burials in  and . A short summary:
- At least two dogs.
- One adult, one younger, about 18 months - full size, but bones still unfused.
- Both about 30cms at the shoulder - large Terrier size.
- 2 tails, articulated, which possibly suggests removal and retentions separate from the other portions.
- 2 forelimbs from the adult, including the scapulae but not much of the paws. No gnawing, possibly suggestive of burial and retrieval.
- 1 hind limb from the younger dog. Again, no paws, suggesting it was removed from an already decomposing body. A little possible gnawing, but nothing like what you'd expect if it was left out in the open.
- A pelvis - not sure which dog it comes from. Again, a little possible gnawing, but nothing like what there would have been if it was left out for scavengers.
- 1 side of a jaw.
- An Atlas vertebra.
Both fills were within Feature 1556 - the clay-lined box in Building 47. At this stage, I think I'll just concentrate on a vignette of the dog bits going into the box, rather than try and do anything with the Building as a whole. But this may have to take a back seat to finds drawing for the next week or so.
Doru's just driven off, which reminds me that I need to mount up the rough draft of the Building 41 reconstruction. No - I won't mount it, I'll just transfer it. I'm fed up with trying to get stuff to stick on that foamboard.
Just realised I never posted the vignette I did of . Stringy saw it a couple of days ago, and said he quite liked it. Roddy, have you seen it yet?
Just did some laying out of the comic strip. I've decided to do it in Word, since that makes putting the text in later a whole lot easier. It's not ideal, but I think it should work for our purposes at the moment. Perhaps next year I'll use Publisher or something similar. It should certainly make printing it nice and easy, too.
I'll need to adjust a few of the images a bit because I'm not doing the layout in Paint Shop or Illustrator, so it looks as if I'll be comic-izing for at least the rest of the day...
Comic all finished yesterday, and just enough time at the end of the day to do a couple of other small jobs, including sketching the puppy burial from Building 47 (g3258). The comic pages can be viewed as pdfs via the little orange links to the right.
Loaded up new software in the morning, but got away from computers in the afternoon, and spent most of it up on site. TP is taking out the midden material on top of their Level III walls, which means that they've now finished completely with their Levels I and II buildings - or rather, all the phases of building which fall into Mellaart's Level I and Level II. Arek was talking about the continuity between buildings and whether or not it was possible to split up the building levels so precisely or exactly. It would be interesting to look at a sequence of buildings built in the same location over several of Mellaart's levels and divide them into a sequence which was more about continuity of form and features. Would that overlap with Mellaart's chronological levels or not?
IST has some interesting features coming out of their burned building, building 63. There's a groove running between F.1993 and F.1994 in the south-west corner of space 285, with a pedestal/pillar feature against the southern wall and a hearth-like area to the east of that (still on the platform). Guneş reckons the groove may be the footing for some kind of wooden dividing wall. It seems a little narrow for a full wooden wall, but what about a screen? What about something like the screen Marina depicted in her reconstruction last year? I'm not ashamed to steal good ideas when I see them, so I have plundered Marina's screen, adapted it a little and stuck it in a sketch.
Another interesting feature in IST is a plaster-lined feature of some kind - a basin or similar, in the northern part of the building, space 289. Mihriban was still digging it while I was up there today, so it isn't finished. It had a small pot and a long lump of hard, plaster-y stuff sitting on top of a layer of scattered phytoliths and some carbonised something or other. It'll be interesting to hear what Arlene makes of that, but it didn't look to me as if it had much in the way of structure, which possibly suggests that it wasn't matting or basketry. I did a quick sketch of it, but will wait until it's fully excavated before I do anything else with it.
There's also some red painted plaster coming up on the walls of sp. 285 (actually, possibly on the walls of the earlier building, or of an earlier phase of that building), a small bucrania in a shallow pit to the south in the ?exterior space, and a pit-like feature just to the east of the ?hearth on top of the platforms in space. 285.
Plans of the IST have just materialised on my desk - thank you Guneş.
Finds drawing all yesterday. Did Sonya's clay objects and a handful of figurines. Time just flew by... Added the following blog entry to the online blog:
Spent all of yesterday doing finds illustrations - a whole collection of clay objects that Sonya left for me to draw, and several animal figurines that are part of this year's Etudluk [museum study] collection. The clay objects are really unusual - small shapes with pointed tops and bottoms; one that's triangular. Very different from anything I've ever seen here before. They aren't fired or baked, so no idea what they could be used for, either. But that's Çatalhöyük in a nutshell, isn't it? The moment you think you've seen it all, something completely new turns up. Plastered skulls, strange figurines, unbaked clay objects, lamb burials, crane bones, bear stamp seals, buildings-within-buildings, pits dug through middens - every season something turns up that's completely new even to the most experienced excavator or lab team member. It's no exaggeration to say that finds like these completely change our understanding of this site, and demonstrate how important it is to be flexible, to keep an open mind and be prepared to alter ones interpretations (dramatically so, if that is what is required) in order to take new data into account.
On a lighter note, I've finished all the artwork for the comic newsletter. The text is now being translated, and once that's finished I'll incorporate it into the artwork and make any final alterations to layout, etc.. I think it looks good - I hope the kids in Küçükköy like it, too.
I'll do a bit more finds drawing today, but what I really want to do is get that Building 41 model finished and then mounted up ready to paint.
Late night coming back from a great day in Ankara yesterday, so slept in a bit this morning. I'll make up the time this evening.
Figurines this morning until about twelve, then switched over to some draft reconstructions of the three phases of the IST building, Building 63, taken from the plans Guneş left on my desk before the weekend. Wanted to post another online blog entry specifically about finds illustration, but our internet connection is down - confusion over payment at the Koç end, I gather.
Spent some of this afternoon re-drawing and correcting the phase reconstructions of Building 63. I went up to the IST trench after lunch and talked through the two drawings (g3260 and g3261) with Guneş and Mihriban. Originally, Gunes' sketch showed three "phases" - actually just a sequence of reworkings of the space. I picked out the earliest and the latest for reconstructions, and drew up rough draft of each from the plan, reconstructing the features in each phase according to Gunes' notes and the unit sheets. I then took them up to the IST trench after lunch and went through them with both Mihriban and Gunes, and we went through them feature by feature, noting changes that needed to be made. This process is always the same - although I can get a lot of information from the unit sheets and plans, there's nothing like talking to the people who actually did the excavation. Not that there's anything deficient in the way that things are recorded, but it's like the difference between doing a reconstruction of something you're familiar with and something you're not. I've done both, and I much prefer to the do the latter. While researching records is all very well, there's an obvious understanding of the archaeology that always comes out in the former. It's a natural consequence, I think, of the way that a three-dimensional time-space object like an excavated building or landscape gets converted into series of two-dimensional photographs or highly structured textual records. The original 3D archaeology is still there, of course, but it takes much longer to get out than it does when you're standing in the actual building talking with the people who dug it. My experience is not unique, of course; anyone who writes up archaeology feels the same, I'm sure.
Anyway, long story short - we talked through various corrections, chief among them were the following:
There aren't really three "phases", but there is certainly an early phase and a later phase, and a phase between them in which some additions are made to the layout of the building. The later phase is represented on the ground now in sp.289 and sp.283, while sp.284 and sp.285 are still at the later phase. We decided that it was probably best to concentrate on the later phase for the moment until sps.284-5 are brought into phase with the rest of the building. In any case, the later phase has all the interesting features!
This later phase has, between sp.289 and sp.283, a threshold that was probably wooden - and may have been accompanied by wooden jambs as well; there was quite a lot of charcoal in this area. (Interestingly, this doorway would then have been similar to the doorway in Building 60, and visually a close descendant of the post arrangement in Building 23).
Features also associated with this later phase include: a sloping floor in sp.283, the hearth in sp.284 (feature number?), and a third bin in front of the surviving other two - you can just see the arm of it leaving the front of the eastern bin.
There is also a plaster "shelf" on the western wall of space 283 - where the piece of pottery is now sitting. The figurine from last season was found in the fill just below this - was it originally sitting on the shelf? That's a reconstruction idea for a bit later on, I think!
A nice detail from sp.284: a collection of deposits on the floor near the northeast corner of platform F.1993 - phytoliths, charcoal and animal bone. The bones are nice joint pieces, and according to Arlene, the phytolith is neither mat nor basket, but may represent a bag. Was this originally hanging from a ceiling beam? That's certainly Mihriban's idea - rather like the bags of stuff found in Building 1, perhaps? Again, a nice vignette to include - not in the projected reconstructions, but in the more perspective-y one later on, perhaps.
Also for inclusion in a more perspective-y reconstruction will be all the stone and the clay - shaped grinding (?) implement, and the possible wooden screen between F.1993 and F.1994.
You can see all the notes for these changes on g3261, above. I incorporated all the changes and alterations we talked about into a new draft, g3262. Notice, however, that I've left out details like the roof, the stones, the bag hanging from the rafters, the wooden screen, etc. The reason for this is that the axonometric projections that I do at this stage has a distorting effect that makes details like that look really quite odd. I've noticed over the years that the most successful of these projected drawings are those without detail that has not fared well from this distorting effect (actually, there's no real distortion, as all the axes share the same scale, but the effect on curves and diagonals is to give an unnatural-looking line; although there's no real distortion, the eye is fooled into thinking that there is). Consequently, I think these details are now better left to a perspective projected drawing, which is what I'll do next. However, it remains that for reconstructing the architecture, these axonometric projections are still completely worthwhile. And certainly for me, they remain the foundation on which I then base all the other reconstruction images I'll produce.
First job for the morning is to convert the axonometric reconstruction of Building 63 into a rough model which I can then use for the perspective projection illustration. Creating a model allows me to choose the point of view with greater freedom.
Interrupted to go up to the South Shelter and draw some plaster in Little Britain. The model of Building 63 is finished, however, and rendering, so that'll be ready by the time I get back downstairs.
Basak reminded me while I was upstairs that we need to sit down and talk about the burial from Building 56. We should do that this evening, before things get too busy.
Didn't get a chance to talk to Basak about the burial, unfortunately - and won't tonight, because I'm going to go with Maria to the bus station. We really need to do that soon before we both run out of time. Also, the three of us - Lori, Basak and myself - need to sit down and go through the space 87 burials for the BACH publication before too long.
Did elevations in Building 49 all day long - well, apart from the last half an hour in the afternoon, when I skipped out and went down to the South Area (and had myself a time...) for a quick look at Roddy's oven. I also took a quick break and popped next door to Building 58 for part of the early afternoon to draw some red paint.
In the evening, finally delivered the reconstructions of Building 63 to Mihriban and the rest of the IST team, which they seemed very pleased with. There are two "final" rough drafts now, g3262, which is the axonometric reconstruction of the features of the later phase, and g3263, which is a perspective reconstruction based on g3262. The process of generating this perspective view was pretty straight-forward, and the one I now use for most of my perspective illustrations of buildings. I generated a quick model from the plan and axonometric reconstruction, picked a point of view and produced a render from it. On a technical note, I used my usual quick 'n' easy suite of Carrara and Bryce to produce and render the model.
A few notes about the features as reconstructed in g3263:
The groove in the platform both Mihriban and Gunes considered to have been a feature probably shaped to receive a timber of some kind, possibly, Gunes suggested, for a wooden screen. The design of the screen here as I've drawn it wasn't suggested by anything found in the excavation, rather by ethnographic parallels: shaped planks or bundles of smaller-diameter branches lashed together to form a screen. The screen is held in place by a groove in the timber that fits into the slot, and is then also lashed or otherwise attached to beams in the ceiling.
The basket hanging from the roof timbers was suggested by Arlene's interpretation of [feature number?; unit number(s)?] as a fallen basket containing emmer and joints of meat. Although, as Fuzen has pointed out, it seems unlikely that meat and grain would have been stored together. Were the grains and meat part of a cooking event taking place on the floor, rather than a storage event taking place above it? But this doesn't seem likely either, since the bones don't appear to have been cooked. Maybe there was some kind of double storage container - or maybe the feature represents both something on the floor and something collapsed onto it from above?
F.1980 I've reconstructed as excavated - a clay pedestal, whereas the clay box [feature number?] against the southern wall [feature number?] I've reconstructed as a pilaster rising to the full height of the southern wall. There is nothing to suggest that F.1980 was once a pilaster, although if it was, it would have been so in the earlier phase of the building, not in this later phase. There is no definite evidence for reconstructing the clay box against the Southern Wall as either or a pedestal or a pilaster. I have reconstructed it here as a pilaster, but on second thoughts, it almost makes more sense to have also been a pedestal, given its proximity to the hearth. I think you could argue it either way. I reconstructed it as a pilaster because it seemed to be made of a bricky material inside, and thus seemed to be more closely linked to the wall behind it. But that's hardly an argument!
The mat draped over the western wall of sp. 283 I hung there to partly hide the "shelf" [feature number?] that runs along the western wall. Mihriban suggested that the figurine's proximity to this feature might indicate that it fell from here, but she said so with a laugh that indicated this was perhaps pushing things a little. Perhaps - but then, why not? It had to have come from somewhere before it tumbled into the fill: the shelf is as good a place as any. But I was obviously reluctant to place it anywhere in the illustration without good evidence, so the mat as a wall-hanging is covering over that part of the shelf where it could have been - if you want to imagine it's sitting there behind the matting, you can!
I've also added in some of the stored stone into space 283, showing how that space might well have been used.
The roof timbers are a little problematical. I usually make use of opposing or matched posts in buildings to site the main roof timbers; with an incompletely-excavated building such as this, it's hard to know where those first timbers should run. In this case, I've run one along the top of the dividing wall between sp. 289 and sp. 285 [feature number?], north-south and one coming out of the clay box/pilaster against the southern wall. Although this seems reasonable, I'm not entirely sure it's correct, since I have a feeling that the main timbers might have east-west. But we won't be able to argue the case either way until the building is fully excavated - if that even ever happens.
So when is this reconstruction set? I'm not exactly sure, but it will have been sometime not too long before the fire that finally ended the life of Building 63. I'd like to put some people in the finished version both to show scale and also to maybe give some kind of hint that the end of the building is coming - although I don't quite know what, yet. I'll think on that one.
Mike's got an interesting cluster of knuckle bones up in the fill of sp. 292 - the western-most room of Building 67. Sheep knuckle bones that have been filed down on one side together with an assortment of c. 1cm diameter flat river pebbles. A game? Is it the Building 67 Casino? The collection seems to have been dumped into the space along with the fill, scattering through at least 5cm depth of the infilling. There's other stuff in there, too - a few bits of pot, some ground stone, a general collection of broken bone, a nice obsidian blade and what looked to Rebecca like a whole wing.
And speaking of interesting deposits, there's a scattering of obsidian on one of the floor surfaces in Building 49, along with what appeared to be fish bones. Rhian confirmed that they were fish, and said that they were semi-articulated, too. Is this our first proper fish - I mean proper beyond the little fishies that are all throughout the mudbrick?
It's To-Do List time again (in order of priority)
Add text to comic
People to B63 reconstruction
Building 56 reconstruction
Have another look at platform-feature in Building 44
Prep work for VC kids' panels
Get Jason to photograph roofs
Plans from Lisa for midden pit reconstruction
Building 41 painting
Sp. 87 burials
I get to tick two things off my to-do list now: I've put the text on the comic and I've done the prep work for the VC kids' panels. This involved having another look at a technique I started to explore a few years ago - using models to produce stylised comic work. Building models of things to turn into comics may seem a little counter-intuitive, but it actually works out very well. I've admired various attempts at it in the pro market - "Red Star" and the second volume of "Ghost in the Shell" spring first to mind - and I've often wanted an excuse to use the technique myself. This Çatal comic newsletter provides just that. I wanted the backgrounds of the panels to be as visually accurate as I could make them (within the limits of the style) - in the sense that what this comic is trying to do is give as clear a picture of the archaeology as possible. But also, I wanted to develop a technique that was at the same time quick and easy to use - with as quick a turnaround time between script-writing and printing as possible (not setting myself unrealistic deadlines or anything, then!). This should do it. The foreground elements and characters will still be hand-drawn, so as to preserve that look, but the backgrounds - particularly of things like the South Shelter or views across the mound (present-day or Neolithic) - will be views over models.
The test page up above is very much that - a test page. I don't think I'll actually end up doing this kind of shot as a model, but it gives a sense of how the colours and textures will eventually work. This test pages looks a little like a kids' model farm set, I know, but I still think it'll all work out quite well.
And now that all the text is in the comic, I've emailed the final pdfs to Sonya. I've linked to them at left, also. I spoke to Shahina about printing this morning, and she's putting Levent on the case. I don't quite know when the Open Day is, or how the mechanics of distributing the newsletters is going to work - this is kind of where I hand this project back to the people who are really in charge of it.
I think I also get to tick another item off my to-do list, because I did some work on the puppy burial (g3266) - just some pencils taken off my initial sketch (g3258). But - and I hesitate to say this because it makes me sound weird - before I go much further I'm going to have to get my hands on a rotting puppy. Mm-mm. File that alongside the pig's head in the "Strange things I end up doing for the sake of Faunal illustrations". But really, I mean, no matter how inventive one's imagination might be, there are certain things that are just too difficult to imagine all by yourself without help - and a half-rotten, partially-disarticulated dog's forelimb is one of them. I have this feeling that most of the fur would have gone by then, and that the skin would survive but the flesh would be pretty soggy and drippy - but that's what I imagine; I won't know until I get my hands on a dead dog and find out for myself. Someone else will have to take photos, though.
Seminar this evening. I really want to talk to Basak and Lori about the space 87 burials before long, though. Time is beginning to slip away - I can feel it...
I forgot to mention that one of the things I did yesterday was to review my reconstructions from the West Mound. Not that it's strictly speaking necessary, but I would like to go back over some of the unfinished and rough drawings and bring them up to scratch. Two particularly come to mind: g1102/1103/1104/1105/1106, the model of the large burial from 2001, and g935/967, the view into the interior of space 190 (based on g1078/1079/1080/1143 axonometric drawings).
And so that's what I did. I found a copy of g1143 and used that as the basis for a new axonometric reconstruction of the building (well, probably partial building). I've reconstructed a "more substantial" upper storey, based on Jonathan and Trina's interpretation of the small spaces as storage cellars, each being entered separately from a living/work storey above. This is similar, as I understand it, to the arrangement of upper and lower storeys at Can Hasan (someone correct me if I'm wrong). Anyway, this illustration, g3267, then represents the pre-2006 interpretation of the building on the West Mound.
Did a catalhoyuk.com blog entry this morning on reconstructing Building 63 - rather a long one, too. Thought I might as well include it here as well:
Building 63 and West Building
I've been working one two new building reconstructions this week: Building 63 in the Istanbul trench and the West Mound's Chalcolithic building (excavated pre-2006). The former is a completely new building - excavation started last season and continues this season - and the latter is an old building that is going to be re-opened by the new West Mound team. While my approach to both buildings has been basically similar, the actual process involved in producing the reconstructions has been quite different.
Building 63 is the burnt building in the northern part of the Istanbul trench. They came down onto it fairly quickly and exposed the latest phase and its associated collapse during the course of last season. This was, of course, the building in which was found the half-skeletal, half-fat figurine. But the building also presented a number of interesting features, including bins, divided platforms, some pedestals and pilasters and a lot of unworked stone and various stone implements. Only the south-west corner of the building is located within the trench, and so "Building 63" is represented only by the southern end of its western room and the southern end of what may turn out to be its central room (if it follows a "standard plan"). Despite the fact that only a portion of the building has been excavated, I still thought it would be worth doing a reconstruction of it, particularly as the team was beginning to reveal portions of a distinctively earlier phase to the building.
So, the first thing I did was talk to Mihriban and Gunes about the building and had them talk me through the structure and its history as much as they understood it. There could identify an earlier and a later phase, both of which seemed to have concluded with a burning episode. The later phase floors in the western space were had large amounts of worked and unworked stone on them; the earlier phase floors were heavily damaged. There seem to have been two phases of bin construction as well, although the exact nature of that isn't entirely clear. In the eastern portion of the building, the later phase is represented by the divided platform and its kerb, a pilaster against the southern wall and two pedestals against the western internal wall. We now know that during the earlier phase the platform was covered with red paint and then raised by about fifteen centimetres with various makeup layers. There's an earlier phase of one of the pedestals when it was a box-like bin and subsequently filled to incorporate a small cattle skull; whether this feature existed at the same time as the red platform we don't yet know.
Given, then, that the earlier phase hasn't been completely revealed, I thought it best to concentrate on the later one. I started with the an overall plan done a week or so ago, and produced an axonometric (quasi-Cavalier, I suppose you might also call it) projection from it, as I do for all the buildings. This drawing is an excellent way to produce a clear, concise 3D image of the building, extending the truncated features up to their original height and appearance. There is very little speculation in this type of reconstruction; even the roof is usually only indicated in very basic form.
While these projected drawings are very useful, they have a drawback in that their point of view is utterly unnatural. Not only are you, the viewer, perched somewhere in midair looking down on the building, but the building itself is cutaway to enable one to look inside it. This god-like perspective is a convention we're all used to, of course, but it's still very artificial, and gives very little sense of what the building must have been like to move around in. I always think that giving the viewer of a reconstruction a real feeling of what being inside a building was like is almost important as showing all the correctly-phased features. After all, how can you begin to understand how a building functioned if you only ever see it through the conventional window of a plan or projected reconstruction? Surely the artificiality of the view affects the resulting understanding?
With that in mind, my next stage is always to produce something a little more naturalistic - a reconstruction illustration showing what the building would have been like if you were standing inside it. From the plan of Building 63 and using my projected drawing as a guide, I built a very simple 3D model. From this model I generated a QTVR and several renders from different points of view within the building. I was looking for a vantage point within the building that showed off as many features as possible but also gave a good sense of the building's layout. In the end I chose a view from the northeast corner of the trench - actually on the section line, I suppose - looking towards the southwest. This POV allows one to see all the main features in the eastern space, and looks across the platform towards the bins in the western space. Although you can't quite see into the northern part of the western space, as it's hidden by the internal wall, you can clearly see that the building continues that way. I could have cut the interior wall down, but I didn't want to use conventions like that, not for this illustration. For this type of drawing I like to go a little "further" in the sense of being a tad more speculative in reconstructing the details of the features. The underside of the roof is clearly shown, the bins and fire installations are shown being used, and the slot dividing the two platforms is shown to be an emplacement for a wooden screen - Gunes' idea. There's also a basket hanging from the ceiling above a place on the late floor where a collection of phytoliths, bones and burnt seeds were found. I would not call the reconstruction of these details "highly" speculative, but they do go a step further than anything found in the projected drawings. At present, the illustration is un-peopled, simply because I wanted to keep it clear so that the Istanbul team could see all the features and be able to comment on them without having to try and see around people. But it's my intention to add a couple of people to complete the impression of viewing the house as a place that was lived and worked in.
That's as far as I've gotten at the moment, but there is now a third stage. This stage is best represented by the illustrations I did for the upcoming Çatalhöyük volume on the North and South Area excavations. These are vignettes illustrating various activities that created specific events present in the archaeology. Take the cattle skull inside the box/bin feature. That's an event, and while you can reconstruct the feature when it was a bin and when it was a pedestal, you can also reconstruct the event that turned the bin into a pedestal with a skull in it. This goes, again, one step "further" than the second type of illustration I talked about above. Here you are reconstructing people, clothing, attitudes, deportment and so on which give a very particular emotional "charge" to the final image. Are there many people involved? Only a few? One? Are they happy? Sad? Indifferent? Did the event take place in one stage? Many? Quickly? Slowly? Is the event 'ceremonial' in nature, or 'workaday', taking place within the daily routine? Or is it somewhere between the two? Is it dark or well-lit within the building? Is anything else going on at the same time? All these representational choices conspire to create a final image which is highly subjective. Any two illustrators will produce very different illustrations, and even a single illustrator may well produce two very different illustrations if the circumstances surrounding the production is different: Did you sleep well last night? Who is peering over your shoulder while you draw? What kind of comments are they making? And yet, at some point, the image may be picked up and published, giving it a particular status and authority.
Sorry - this has gone on rather longer than I anticipated. I'll post this now and write up my reconstructing of the West Mound building a little later. In the meantime, I'm now going back to Finds drawing - I have a tray full of figurines and some rather nice obsidian to draw.
It is a little long, isn't it? But I thought it would be good to cover the various stages in some detail. I'm thinking of using the building if I go up to Istanbul as well. It would work well as an example of how a building goes from excavated features to reconstruction imagery. Although, to complete the sequence, I'll need to do a couple of vignettes as well. Hmm - do I have time for that? I've got to crack on with some more finds drawing for the moment. Actually, to be honest, I haven't heard anything from Nurcan yet, so maybe I'm no longer doing the workshop days?
Site tour this morning for Meryl and Ann - who were leaving; and for Glynis and Bonnie - who weren't. Before and after the tour I finished this reconstruction of Building 56 (g3269) - a view of the interior from the southeast corner by the ladder. Shahina asked a couple of interesting questions about windows and roof beams:
Why no windows? Well, because Ian keeps telling me not to put them in. I used to be of the opinion that the buildings would have needed windows if people were living and working in them, but perhaps, if the main living and working space was actually on the second storey, maybe one wouldn't need windows in what was perhaps a space primarily used for other purposes. Anyway, Ian is still convinced that the soot on the lungs is strong enough evidence for the buildings being thick with smoke - and therefore lacking in windows.
Is the main east-west span too big for a single beam? What about the posthole Roddy found in the middle of the building? The main east-west span is fairly wide, but perhaps with a strong enough beam it's not a problem. The posthole in question was found during the construction phase - in fact, as was one for Building 65. Perhaps during construction, a temporary roof was required, and - lacking the large main beam for the house and/or unwilling to put it in during that early phase - the workies put in a temporary roof and had to support it with a central post.
What's the black stripe? That's the glossy resin-y or oil-y line Roddy identified as running around some of the features but not others. I have a sketch plan of where that stripe went, but I can't remember the unit number - I'll check with Roddy. Anyway, that was the stuff that Roddy and I were wondering was something to do with insect repellent or something like that ( go to blog entry).
I've also done an axonometric drawing of the building, g3270. It's actually a fairly incomplete-looking drawing because of the lack of eastern and southern walls.
Also popped over to the West Mound very briefly with Carrie after breakfast, just to see how they were coming along. Their trenches are over on the other side of the road from Jonathan and Trina's one - which they might open up as well later on. For the moment they're concentrating on their own, one of which is going to be a deep sounding to get a good section through the mound. Anyway, given all the late stuff that's turned up on the east mound over the past few years it's nice to have the West back again so that we can start to make connections.
Thinking about Mike's knuckle-bone and pebble deposit and the possibility, as Mike has been suggesting, that they could have been used for divination. The fact that the deposit contains pebbles I find interesting. Had it only been knuckle bones you could have possibly explained them away as something to do with processing. But the fact that there were pebbles is a bit more suggestive - since to get those pebbles all about the same size you'd have to do some fairly active sorting and choosing. Interesting. Anyway, here's a little sketch done up on site (g3268).
Reviewing my to-do list from last week, I now find that I can tick several things off:
Add text to comic
People to B63 reconstruction
Building 56 reconstruction
Have another look at platform-feature in Building 44
Prep work for VC kids' panels
Get Jason to photograph roofs
Plans from Lisa for midden pit reconstruction
Building 41 painting layout
Sp. 87 burials
Musular reconstructions: get photos from Gunes.
I'll draw up the people for Building 63 and get the midden pit plans from Lisa this evening. I've spoken to Basak and Lori about talking through the burials. Maybe now that Simon's gone we can find some time to do that sooner rather than later. I also need Gunes to make his Musular photos available.
I'm writing this down so I don't forget about it - Louise and Rissa have asked whether I could do a typological chart of horn-core shapes for them. Not only is that easy enough, but I suggested the chart could be converted into a number of selectable icons for their database, which they thought was a good idea. They'd like the chart to show both the skull and the horn, so that the angle from the one to the other is clear; also, they'd like a top and side view - plan and elevation - to show the curve clearly. Simpler drawings can be generated from these for the database.
Just finished the drawing of Lisa's midden-pits (g3273). I need to ask her again about what she wants in the background as far as other buildings. At the moment I've got it fairly open, but she may decide she wants something there. She also might want more people; at the moment I've only got seven in there just to show scale and some activity. I thought that any more might clutter things up, but there's still some room at the left hand side for more people, certainly. I've got smoke drifting in from the lime burning further south, but they may decide the two weren't going on at the same time. The drawing was taken from a model generated from Lisa's plans.
Just took the reconstruction up to Lisa after lunch. She seemed to like it; gave it her seal of approval. I asked her about the buildings in the background and she said she'd think about them and see where she thought there might have been ones up and ones down. I also asked her about two other details: whether there was any evidence of dumping or collecting anything extracted from the pits nearby, and whether there was any indication on the sides of the cuts as to how the pits were dug. The answer was no in both cases. With regard to the former, I'll just keep the two figures in the background carrying large containers of the stuff away; and with regard to the latter, I'll keep the three digging sticks I've got already and add perhaps a couple of antler picks and maybe some spade-like tools or something?
Also just had a look at a feature in Mike's building that Shahina thought I should take a glance at. She thought it might be something burnt in situ, but in fact it turns out to have been nothing more than a dump of burnt stuff: brick, stone and lots of charcoal.
Did a quick vignette of the gaming/divining/counting/choosing pieces being used. Although I didn't want it to be boring, I also wanted to keep it relatively "neutral" and not suggest any one particular interpretation. What do you think?
Up to Istanbul this morning to have a look at progress in their trench. They've got a hearth emerging on the northernmost of their two platforms and a pot buried in the floor next to the platform. Not quite sure yet which floor levels the pot and the hearth belong to, but they're both later than the red paint. In the southern end of the trench, the building emerging there has a blocked-up doorway that's been turned into a niche, plus an odd deposit of sand in the blocked off space - unlike any deposit Shahina has ever seen on the site.
Dan asked me to have a quick look at the strange feature Jodie is excavating in Building 49. F. 1652 is a bin - two bins - that have been built and rebuilt. They sit up against the N-S internal wall and also sit on top of most of the floors in the building. Am I remembering correctly? Didn't this feature get turned into a ladder step or something later on? Yes, it did - filled with a big plaster lump. That doesn't really help any, to be honest. Certainly doesn't explain the large piece of wood running along the bottom of the central n-s core of the feature. Very odd. Still, maybe Jodie will have explained it all by tomorrow (or excavated it away...).
Oh, and according to Lori, the rumours were right: it is a headless pregnant woman at the bottom of that multiple burial. It almost somehow seems too predictably weird, doesn't it? Still, it'll make the reconstruction of it an interesting experience.
I've got the face pot on my desk, and I'll draw it this evening. I also need to write another catalhoyuk.com blog - a shorter one this time.
Catalhoyuk.com blog entry #5:
The big pits in the midden that Lisa and co. have been digging are really odd things. I've never seen features quite like them. They resemble the sort of pits dug to extract wall-installations and paintings, but on a huge scale. And they're dug, so it seems, to get at the mudbrick - the wall itself rather than anything on it. Why? Surely they have enough mud around to manufacture new mudbrick, and why quarry old mudbrick for fill if you're knocking down a building anyway and therefore have enough to do the infilling job out of what you've demolished. Unless there was something particularly special about the building that they were going down to, of course - won't know that until it's dug, and it won't be, so there's another mystery left tantalisingly hanging in mid-air.
I told Lisa a week ago that I would do a reconstruction of it, and I now have. I built a model of the pits based on the plan and then picked a point of view that showed them off best. Lisa seems happy with the image - the only alteration she suggested was a minor one: making sure you can see the walls being dug down to in the sections of the pits. That makes sense. I'll change the drawing this evening to make sure you can see that detail.
Interesting talk with Peter yesterday evening before George's seminar about, amongst other things, the whole diary thing. He seemed to imagine that there were far more diary entries than there actually were. What is it about some people that they're able to maintain a regular digital diary? I'm not a diarist by nature, but I find this blog - and the paper journals that proceeded it - extremely useful, if only to remind myself what I was doing at any point in the season. These digital ones are good in that they can be searched and can easily combine image and text. But if you don't find them useful, they are a real imposition - they're time-consuming, they're intrusive, and - if you don't find them useful - by definition useless, all of which can make them hard to get excited about.
Spent this morning drawing the Face Pot, and then wrote a catalhoyuk.com blog about it:
Drawing the Face Pot
I know I'm beginning to sound like a bit of broken record, but it's worth saying once more: every time you think you've seen it all here, something completely unexpected pops out of the ground. Take our so-called "Face Pot". It's completely unlike anything else we've ever found here. I don't know yet what Nurcan and the other pottery people will make of it - whether it's a trade item or what. Regardless, I think I'm right in saying it's without precedent on the site.
And that's what makes it so much fun to draw! It has been in conservation being stuck back together over the past week or so, which has given the pottery people time to locate any other stray bits of it. Once the pottery lab was happy that all the pieces of it had been located, and Conservation was finished gluing it all together, it was ready for me. I picked it up yesterday afternoon and spent this morning drawing it. It's a difficult vessel, since it's incomplete, and missing three quarters of its rim and most of its base. That makes it very difficult to support while measuring - and given the decoration on it and the somewhat squashed-basket shape, the measuring of even a complete vessel like this would be difficult. In the end the usual combination of several rulers and a support made out of a roll of masking tape covered with a wadded up bundle of cloth seemed to do the trick.
Here's not the finds drawing that I did this morning, but instead a sketch of how the vessel might have originally looked.
Went up to site and drew a little after I'd finished off the Face Pot and then went searching for Shahina. I just wanted to clarify that it was okay for me to write about unusual finds and so on in my catalhoyuk.com blog before they had been "officially" announced somewhere else. My question concerned the face pot, but also - and perhaps more importantly - the pregnant woman burial, which will be bound to cause some consternation when news of that is released. But Shahina said there was no problem, and no need to wait until it was announced elsewhere, "official" or otherwise. All the same, I think I'll check with Jason and maybe delay my blogs until the info and pictures have gone into the "Press Release"/"Latest News" section of the website.
Caught up on scanning sketches after lunch. I need to add more pages to my sketchbook, which is getting rather full. I mention this because it's a nice sign that I've been up on site a lot. I think I put a few sketches in my blog last year, but it was only when I did the sketch self-portrait for the catalhoyuk.com blog that I realised I could actually use my sketches in my ordinary blog as well - hence this season's profusion. (Actually, I think I started using them in this blog because of something Jules said - so thank you, Jules.)
I tell you what else, too - it's nice to have someone else drawing on site this year, too. I've always wanted to get other people to share their drawings - it's a nice way to document a Project like this. I tried to get Katy Killackey to do some drawing while she was here, but she was a little shy about it all. Marina and Lia did some drawing last year, but not very much. However, this year Nancy has been sketching while out on the veranda and the terrace, and she's done some really nice stuff. She let me scan her Çatalhöyük sketches, and I've put them in a folder on the network. Anyone else doing any sketching out there?
I can cross several more things off that to-do list from the beginning of the week. I've added people into the Building 63 reconstruction now, I've done Lisa's midden reconstruction, and I've mounted up the Building 41 painting (finally).
Finds drawing this morning - lots of little animal and humanoid figurines from Lisa's midden. Meeting this morning to discuss the Seljuk training seminars on Sundays. I'm doing the very, very last one - Sunday the 13th, 1:30 - 2:30pm. Gives me a nice long time to get something ready, I suppose. We're supposed to be talking generally about what we do - with reference to Çatal, but focusing on a more general overview of our particular subject. In my case, I think I'm supposed to be talking about finds and reconstruction illustration in general. Do I still have that TP talk handy? Might re-use part of that, I think.
See? This is what happens when things get so busy - I lose track of all this journal-keeping. It always happens at this time in the season, and once I'm out of the habit it's hard to get back into it. So, what have I been doing for the past couple of days? It's Sunday today; Thursday was the 27th, which was my last entry; Friday was a day off; Saturday was the 29th, and yesterday was the 30th. Where does the time go?
Thursday was full of finds drawing, and Saturday I spent putting the last person (g3275) into the Building 63 reconstruction (g3263). The placement of the person was Fuzun's idea - a kind of alternative to the basket hanging in the rafters, as it were. The Istanbul team is leaving soon - Wednesday (which means Tuesday will be a farewell party for them) in fact - and so I want to make sure that they have their building reconstruction to take with them. I'd also like to get Gunes to finally give me the Musular photos and model renders - if he's still interested in me doing anything with them. I'd very much like to do them, but I'm not sure how keen he is now. Anyway, with regard to g3263, I'd like to ink it in tomorrow - as much to get it to them before they leave as an excuse to use my new pens! (How sad...)
Saturday I also finally did an A3 rough draft the Building 41 reconstruction (g3277, g3278; g3279); nice to do some later archaeology for a change!
West Mound Panels
And speaking of which, Jonathan just popped his head in and asked whether I could do something for some West Mound display panels which he and Trina want to do for Konya Museum. He asked for a reconstruction of Building 25 so I showed him the one I did this year - an excavation season out of date, of course, which explains why the building didn't look as big as I remember it. But he said the style was fine. He also said he remembered one with a person in it as well (g981) from 2000 and could the reconstruction have some of those people in it. But of course! I've done two new Chalcolithic costume studies, based once more on the high-headdress-ed figurines from Can Hasan (g3282). The first sports a very elaborate headdress/crown/hairstyle - not very practical; so I've also done one that's less elaborate, too - more everyday, perhaps? This one is based on the figurine heads that don't have the sort of wrap thing around them. In the less-elaborate version I've also interpreted the markings on the torso and legs differently as well (g3283), making them much more similar to the costume in g981. Here are two of the figurines I used as starting points for these reconstructions, so you can make up your own minds.
Mike just came in and said he's got the beginning - or ending - of a wallpainting starting to poke up behind a platform in Building 59. He said it's geometric - possibly figurative? Could be interesting!
A request from Ian to get some reconstruction house plans down on paper for the gov't. He wants to coordinate the plans with Chris' ideas on experimenting with different bricks and mortar, so wants an "early" house and a "late" one - "early" and "late" as defined by which type of brick and mortar they used. Spoke to Chris and Serena, and it turns out that Level IX can count as "early" and Level VI/VII can count as "late". That's perfect, since Ian also wanted to incorporate some bits and pieces from the Yapi Kredi exhibition, including some of the leopard reliefs and one of the upraised-arm bear figures as well. He wanted to see if we could do the projection thing on the leopard relief, too. Could we? He didn't seem keen on using a slide projector - but what about using natural light? Hmm. Anyway, I'll pick some buildings and do some initial plans for him.
Shahina dropped by with another request. Can we please go ahead and do those kids panels? I didn't want to, since it would involve having to learn new software to do it properly. But she reminded me that the printers can do the layout if we just give them the text and the images. So I will cobble something together based on the comic newsletter.
And, finally, Ian requested that I be part of the Templeton Seminar group when that happens. Am I supposed to come up with some way to formally contribute, I wonder?
Can't believe it's the first of the month already. Only three weeks to go; had to make a countdown calendar this morning.
New Experimental Houses
Anyway, Ian came in for a quick view over my initial plans and ideas for the reconstruction houses. Yesterday I got out the Mellaart reports and tried to pick a couple of buildings based on the criteria Ian had outlined yesterday and my initial check with Serena and Chris about brick and mortar types. Unfortunately, the Leopard Shrine is a bit later than I thought - VII rather than IX - so that put it out of the running for the earlier one. However, I found a really interesting "Shrine" - E.viii.31 - that has some different architecture and some interesting painting. I thought this would work well for the earlier one, and that then the "Leopard Shrine" - E.vi.44 - could work as the later one. I put these to Ian this morning. He wanted to know, then, what would happen with the bear-relief figure. I said that because he wasn't entirely certain of its provenance, we could install it in our existing building as a display object, rather than as part of a reconstruction. He seemed happy with this, and asked me to put together a plan showing how the buildings would fit together. I said I'd do it this morning and that then maybe after lunch he and I could so a site-visit and see on the ground how the new buildings would all work together. After that I can work on proper plans and views showing the buildings in-situ, which he seemed keen to have as part of the presentation package.
Well, that turned out to be a slightly bigger job than I anticipated - not because of the work, but because of the timetable. I hadn't appreciated that Ian wanted this all done for our visitors today; I thought he wanted them vaguely for some government application later in the season. Good thing I started yesterday, then. Got Ian to firstly agree to the use of Building 44 and Building 31, then scanned in Mellaart's plans of them and turned them into plans and models. Once they were imported into Bryce I added in the roofs, doors, etc. I didn't have a chance to finish them off quite as I would like, but I did enough to be happy about generating several views of the models and including them on a graphic plan of the new buildings. Unfortunately, when I went to print this out on the colour printer, I found that the printer was acting up, and so couldn't/wouldn't print out properly, so Ian had to make do with a black and white print to show the visitors. Later on, in Sadrettin's, when the visitors had gone, he said the graphics had been very useful, which is good. I think I'll go back to them today and add in a few more details - there are very few details in the house plans - and no ovens, pilasters or posts. I also wanted to add in some people, too.
Day off yesterday, which means that another week has come and gone. Spent the end of Wednesday and most of Thursday drawing the new wallpainting in Building 49. Dan and Jodie are being very much pushed to one side by the various people crowding in to deal with that thing. The decision has been made now to reveal all of the north and west walls down to the platform and then to consolidate what's there until the rest of the platform can be excavated - but as the platform has a load of burials in it (probably), that won't happen until next year some time (at least).
West Mound Panels
Still, plenty to keep me occupied in the meantime, starting with the West Mound panel(s) for Konya Museum. Jonathan gave me the text and accompanying photos yesterday, and so I reviewed all that this morning. One of the things that instantly sprung out as far as illustrations was concerned was why not do an overview of the site? Jonathan's text is, as he pointed out, very much based on explaining the archaeology that they found. He makes a number of statements that feed directly into such an overview:
"... . It was made of similar materials to the East Mound houses (mudbrick and white plaster) but had a very different layout, with a series of small cell-like spaces around a central room. Only this main room, which had white plastered surfaces and a large hearth, looks like a living area, while the small cells could have served as store-rooms. On one side of the main space was a room which may have been a kitchen..."
"... some of our finds suggest that links with other communities, both locally and further afield, may have become more important..."
"... Until recently, little was known about the site except its painted pottery, which is comparable with sites like Canhasan, Hacilar and Yumuktepe..."
"... These foreign vessels may indicate that the inhabitants of Çatalhöyük had links with people living in different regions of Anatolia..."
"... Plant and animal remains show they grew crops and herded sheep. We have the impression of a well-organised farming settlement, in touch with similar communities across the Konya Plain and beyond..."
I thought that an illustration which showed this impression of the site would be a good one to have on panels such as these. Not only could it show he differences between the Çatalhöyük West and the Çatalhöyük East houses, it could also provide a neat coda to the Last/Gibson excavations and provide a starting point for revisions based on the new Biehle excavations. My idea - which Jonathan and Trina both seemed to like - was to have a view of the site with some kind of pottery exchange going on in the foreground. We had a look at specific pieces to use for the exchange, and came up with these two: the buff fabric, red painted pot done by the Westies being traded for the dark, incised one. I'll work on the rough draft today and definitely come up with something by Saturday, before Jon and Trina leave.
Space 87 Burials
Another project that's just come up are the burials in space 87 for the Bach publication. Lori, Basak and I have been talking about doing them for the past couple of months, but we finally got around to looking at them last night. They're fairly straightforward, although there are some plans and photos missing - this was the Michael era, and Lori and Basak were tut-tutting about how many of them either weren't done, went missing or were never given to them. The "digiplans" are particularly awful, since whoever was doing them didn't have enough knowledge about what they were drawing to do them properly. There are several things that we can't identify in the plans: are they skulls, pelvises, or what? Dunno. Lori and Basak are going to try and reconstruct the missing plans from existing photographs; missing photographs we'll check with Jason about, but if he doesn't have them, what then? Quite an appalling situation, frankly.
Anyway, the burials make a nice group. I'll try and get most of the roughs done by Tuesday, which is when Lori goes. That will give the three of us a chance to go through them all while we're all still here on site. And if I can get them inked in by the end of the season, it'll mean that Basak can leave with scans ready to go with their chapter, since the "deadline" for submission of final texts, etc. was June 30th.
As usual, the busier things get, the harder it is to keep up with this blog. I think I'm doing pretty well, but here's a quick summary of what I've been up to the past two days:
On Sunday I did the West Mound reconstructions for their new panels. Got Trina and Jonathan to approve the drafts: g3284 with the raised roof over the plastered room, and g3286, the Pottery Exchange. They liked both illustrations, and we discussed a couple of additions of pottery to g3286. To get the shape of the pots right, I did some cgi models of Neolithic and Chalcolithic vessels (g3287) which I'll put into the Pottery Exchange illustration. Sheelagh was very pleased about the dogs in the illustration, and I said I might even put more in. Jonathan also thought the lid being taken off the Can Hasan pot was a good idea - the whole thing about trading the stuff inside it, rather than just the pottery (even though we don't know what it was that might have been traded).
Monday was spent out and about shopping and having Pizza in Real. Sorry.
Today, however I have to get back to some serious work. I need to draw the wallpainting in Building 49, but Can wants to film it, so I'm waiting until he gets up to start that. I also want to do a version of the drawing I've done so far in colour to show the reconstructed design, etc. I also need to find out what's happening with the comic strip, since we've apparently got our Open Day on Thursday, and I don't think Burcu's done/doing anything about getting it printed. Oh yeah, and there are some finds to be drawn as well...
- Wallpainting in B49
- Reconstruct B49 wallpainting from drawing
- catalhoyuk.com blog on wallpaintings
- Comic Newsletter?
- Templeton thoughts?
- Kids' Panels?
Rather a short to-do list, but an awful lot of question marks, which is never a good sign. Neither is the fact that I'm flying in two weeks from today - leaving site in thirteen days. I'd like to stop fooling around with reconstructions and wallpaintings after today and concentrate on finds.
Finished drawing the wallpainting in B49 this morning - Can filmed. Got most of the drawing traced off this afternoon, and will do the rest tomorrow. Inked in the one from B59 as well, so that one at least is ready to be scanned and colourised. Nothing to report on the Comic Newsletter, save that Can thinks we could serialise it next year in a national newspaper. I think they might want a confirmed set of finished strips, so that might have to be an idea for 2008, but it's still a good one. No news yet on whether Levent can get the newsletters printed up tomorrow - and it will have to be tomorrow, too, since Thursday is the Open Day.
No Templeton thoughts, but they arrive in Konya tonight. First seminars tomorrow. And Kids Panels? I really don't think I'm going to get time to do them. Still, that would be a good project for the Museum Studies people when they come back (next year?).
No power for 12 hours from yesterday evening, which rather interrupted things. It's been off and on - mostly off, actually - this morning, so no colouring West Mound, no colourising of the B59 wallpainting, no blog entries, no catalhoyuk.com blogging and no Crates episodes! I'll have to do twice as many for tomorrow.
Traced off all the wallpaintings from Building 49 and will now do ink versions. Also remembered this morning that I need to draw those bloody horn-cores (and move my shelves back to where they belong).
Forgot to say a couple of days ago that I did some models of Chalcolithic and Neolithic pottery as background work for the West Mound reconstruction - here they are. I think the render looks quite good, myself.