Evidence of the Mother Goddess Cult in the Ceramics of Central Anatolia in the First Millenium B.C.
Keywords: First Millenium B.C., Central Anatolia, Pottery, Mother Goddess Cult, Hellenistic Period
Evidence of the Mother Goddess cult can be observed in two groups of ceramics from Central Anatolia in the first millenium B.C. The first of these two groups, whose development and variations may possibly be related, displays female figures that have been interpreted as representations of the Mother Goddess and is dated to the Late Iron Age. The second group, attributed to the Hellenistic Period, exhibits ornamentation in the form of a pair of breasts in relief, which in all probability symbolizes the Mother Goddess. One specimen from the first group was recovered at Boğazköy and two at Maşat Höyük tumulus, making a total of three. Exhibiting strong influence of Late Iron Age traditions, the second group is composed of eight examples characteristic of the Hellenistic Period, one from Maşat Höyük (i.e., tumulus), one from Alişar, three from Suluca Karahöyük (Hacıbektaş Höyük) and three from Topaklı. The decorative motif of breasts symbolizing the figure of the Mother Goddess points in a clear fashion to the influence of the Mother Goddess cult on the pottery of the Hellenistic Period. It is very probable that the Late Iron Age group of ceramics related to the Mother Goddess cult was utilized for storage in association with ritual requirements and, in terms of chronology and conception, they parallel those recovered in Greece, Eastern Anatolia and the Transcaucasus. Those of the second group dated to the Hellenistic period, however, are unique, possessing no counterparts in any other region or period.