ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Önder Bilgi

Keywords: Pre-Bronze Age, Late Neolithic Age, Anatolia, Anthropomorphic Representations

This article is dedicated to the Director General of TTK, Uluğ İğdemir, on his celebration of his eightieth birthday.

Between the years 1968 and 1970 when we were carrying out research toward the degree of Ph. D. at the Institute ol Archaeology in the University of London, we were allowed to work at the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi (that time called Ankara Archaeological Museum), Afyon, Manisa, Konya, Kayseri Archaeological Museums and Private Koyunoğlu Museum in Konya and Private Collections of Mr. Hüseyin Kocabaş in Istanbul and Mr. Rıza incel at Banaz near Uşak, where we came across some unstratified anthropomorphic representations. These objects, 14 in number, have features that can bring new suggestions to the Anatolian prehistoric art. Regarding these new observations we have decided without delaying anymore to publish these objects in this paper. We would like to thank to the relevant Museum Directors and staffs of that time and especially to the Director of the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi, Mr. Raci Temizer, for their kind assistance and to give permission to publish these anthropomorphic figures.

3 out of the 14 anthropomorphic figures, details of which arc given in a catalogue at the end of the paper, arc from Çukurkent near Lake Beyşehir have been known since 1910 [1]. The first one, made of backed clay, represents a woman seated with her legs crossed (Pl. I Fig. 1). One of her hands is on the leg, and the other is placed on the breast. She has a rather obese body, and her head and neckarc now missing. In the place of the neck she has a round deep hole. The second figure again represents a woman seated with her legs stretched. It is made of limestone. Her head is now lost, and her hands arc placed on either sides of the breasts (Pl. I Fig. 2). The third Çukurkent find, made of a green stone, is a fragment and be­longs to a lower part of an obese statuette shown in a lying posi­tion (Pl. I Fig. 3). These 3 anthropomorphic figures, seemingly accomplished in small sized statuettes, have detailed bodies andlimbs, though their hands and feet are indicated roughly. Because of these features, they arc reminiscent of the examples[2] belonging to Pre­Bronze Age unearthed in the scientific excavations carried out in Anatolia from 1958 onwards[3]. The style in their manufacture and the freedom in their postures would also suggest that they are in the same class of Anatolian figures[4] found in building level VI at Hacılar, which is dated to the Late Neolithic Period. In the manu­facture of the Çukurkent figures, in contrast to the Hacılar ones, however stone is used besides clay. In fact, the examples found earlier at Çukurkent are also of stone [5].

The other 2 anthropomorphic representations in our paper are of the mound near the town Hatip just South of Konya. The first example, carved in green stone, is shown seated with the legs bent at the knees and drawn to the abdomen. Its hands indicated with 3 fingers are placed on the sides of the legs (Pl. II Fig. 4). The face of the figure is rather roughly accomplished, and its chin is shown pronounced. This may be taken as an indication of a beard, in which case this figure would represent a man. In the Early Prehistoric Age, Anatolian anthropomorphic representations are on the whole finished without having sexual organs, and their sexes are indicated with very developed and obesed buttocks and especially with pro­nounced breasts. In our figure the breasts are hardly shown, which also approves that our figure represents a male. The second object is also carved out of green stone, but this represents a head with a exaggeratedly long neck only (Pl. II Fig. 5). Its facial features are roughly indicated, and the chin, like the former one, is pointed. In this case this head may also be taken as part of a male figure. He has a concial head gear, which could be a kind of beret other than a hairstyle. Since these objects are roughly and unproportionately finished, they should date before Pre - Bronze Age and are parallel to the figures[6] found at Çatal Höyük before building level V, which is dated to the Early Neolithic Period, when male figures arc also seen.

The other 2 clay objects -a broken figure and a head with a long neck— are found at Alıçlı Höyük near the town of Banaz in the province of Uşak. The former one represents the lower part of an obese figure seated on its legs. The knees are damaged, and judging by its very pronounced buttocks it represents a woman (Pl. HI Fig. 6). In the latter Alıçh Höyük object facial features arc not clearly indicated except for the eyes (Pl. HI Fig. 7). The eyes in the shape of two large almonds are shown in incision. The hair is also indicated. The outline of the hair is defined in relief, and at the back of the head there are 3 holes in a triangular shape, which would have been used to attach real hair or smilar material. Both these objects arc of the Late Neolithic Period, since the seated obese figure is reminiscent of those found at Hacılar in building level VI dated to the Late Neolithic Period. The head with long neck has also parallels at that site, where eyes on figures are shaped like almonds, and where the outline of the hair is also indicated, though only in incision[7].

The other 2 anthropomorphic representations we are handling here had been found in the illicit excavations at Hacılar before the scientific excavations started and they are now in the H. Kocabaş Private Collection in Istanbul. Both are made of clay and broken. The first one represents a head with roughly indicated facial features. The eyes are shown with two slits, and the nose is modelled in relief. The ears, on the other hand, are indicated by two vertical pierced lugs generally used as handles on pottery. Inside of the head is empty (Pl. IV Fig. 8). Similar heads were found in fragments in building level I at Hacılar[8]. Since this head is painted with linear lines like the pottery[9] and has a cavity inside, it gives the impression that it was a fragment of a vessel shaped in an anthropomorphic form. We know that vessels shaped in anthropomorphic figures were also manufactured in small sizes at Hacılar. These objects, again un­earthed at the illegal and unscientific excavations, are now outside Turkey in private collections or museums [10].

The second anthropomorphic representation found at Hacılar shows the upper part of a figure in a highly stylized form. This figure, which has parallels made of marble particularly in the old phase of the Early Bronze Age [11]. should be dated to the end of the Early Chalcolithic Period, since it is made of clay, and since there are no cultural layers dated later than the end of the Early Chalcolithic Period at Hacılar. In fact, in the scientific excavations at Hacılar similar highly stylized figures in fragments were also unearthed [12]. On our representation the arms are shown as two stumps, and the head is in the form of a tapering stalk (Pl. IV Fig. 9).

The rest of the 5 anthropomorphic representations we are deal­ing here with are of unknown origin, although the province of the 4 have been determined. The first one of these was confesticatcd at an antique dealers shop in Alaşehir and is now at the Manisa Archae­ological Museum. It represents a seated obese woman whose head and neck arc now missing. In the place of the neck there is a round deep hole. She is modelled more like a statuette, although the feet

are roughly indicated, and the fingers are tried to be shown with a few incised lines. However, the navel is marked carefully. One of her hand is on the knee, the other is on one of the carefully modelled breasts (Pl. V Fig. io). The most important feature in the Manisa anthro­pomorphic figure is in her sitting position. From the front view, she is seen with one leg folded, and the other raised at the knee and drawn to the abdomen. Under the folded leg is placed a small clay support which, on the one hand, enables the figure to stand in a balanced position and, on the other hand, it gives the impression that this leg could be seen raised at the knee and drawn to the abdomen like the right leg from the side view. Thus, this female statuette has two sitting positions, which is to be found for the first time among the other Anatolian anthropomorphic representational art. The second feature to be seen in this figure is that she has a large cavity underneath her body. This may have been used to fix this figure tightly on a special place when it was not standing on a straight surface.

A rough parallel to the Manisa figure is kept at the Afyon Archae­ological Museum. It is seated with crossed legs and has the head missing now. One of the hands is on the breasts, and the other is on her side (Pl. V Fig. u).

A parallel, carved out of white marble, to these clay figures is also known at the Kayseri Archaeological Museum. It was found during a construction of a water reservoir in concrete at Gücük köyü near the town of Çumra in the province of Konya. It is shewn seated with the legs crossed. Its limbs are roughly indicated, though one foot is rendered carefully. The fingers are shown by incision on hands, which are placed on either sides of the breasts. The breasts, like shoulders, are accomplished by cubic outlines (Pl. VI Fig. 12). Though roughly rendered, the facial features are indicated in details. The ears are seen in relief, and the nose, damaged slightly, is better finished in relief. The large almond - shaped eyes are shown in incision like the mouth, indicated by a slit.

These last 3 figures, which show differences in their renderings, have common features to date from the same period. Thus, the Ma­nisa and Afyon examples are finished in freely seated positions and with hand positions have parallels on the anthropomorphic figures found in building levels II and I at Çatal Höyük and in building level VI at Hacılar[13]which both represent the Late Neotlihic Period in Anatolia. The third example in marble from the Konya Plain be­longs to the same period, since its eyes are shaped in the form of large almonds, which is one of the primary characteristics of the Late Neolithic Period in the representation of anthropomorphic figures[14].

The last 2 figures of our paper are finished in the standing posture. The first one is of the Konya plain and now in the Koyunoğlu Museum in Konya. It is carved out of white marble and has the head missing now. Its arms are bent at the elbows and placed on the chest, though the hands are not indicated. The figure represents a rather obese woman with legs indicated carefully. She wears a small rectangular apron below her abdomen, which appears to cover her sexual organ (Pl. VII Fig. 13). Parallels carved in stone or marble to this figure can be seen at Çatal Höyük[15]or Çukurkent[16]. Consequently, it can be dated to the Early Neolithic Period, since its style and proportions are different from the ones of the Late Neolithic, generally modelled proportionately in clay.

The last figure of our collection of unstratified anthropomorphic figures is of unknown origin or province and is kept at the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi. This figure is different from the above - men­tioned ones in its accomplishment in being manufactured in two dimensions in addition to its highly stylization. In this sense it rather looks like the broken figure from Hacılar described above. Its head, neck and the tips of the feet are now missing. This figure with its distinct features is reminiscent of the marble anthropomorphic represen­tations of the old phase of the Early Bronze Age and particularly of the Early Bronze Age II[17]. But, on the highly stylized Early Bronze Age figures rarely can we see decorations or limbs similar to the ones rendered on our figure. On our figure there are small round impressions on the arms -indicated by mere stumps-, on the buttocks -their obesity stylized by projections on the sides- and on the place of the sex organ. Above all, on the abdomen of this figure there are small stabbings encircled by a large incised line (Pl. VII Fig. 14), similar of which can be seen on a highly stylized figure from Bü­yük Güllücek dating from the late phase of the Late Chalcolithic Period[18]. Basing on this resemblance, we may date our unstratified figure to the end of the Late Chalcolithic Period. In this respect, antropomorphic representations, which begin to appear in Anatolia for the first time in the beginning of the Neolithic Pericd generally produced in realistic forms, would start to be stylized towards the end of the Early Chalcolithic period. They are stylized further in the Late Chalcolithic Period. Consequently in the Early Bronze Age we see them on the whole in completely stylized forms[19]. The Ankara Museum figure in this development would form one of the example of the transition from realistic to the highly stylized anthro­pomorphic representations.


The 14 anthropomorhic figures we have tried to introduce in this paper have shown new features, which would bring new con­tributions to the development of the Anatolian representational anthropomorphic art. First of all, in the Neolithic Period besides Çatal Höyük, Hacılar, Can Hasan and Çukurkent anthropomorphic figures are also found in the district of Uşak. Anthropomorphic figures found at Çukurkent would show that this site is as important as Çatal Höyük and Hacılar at least in the Late Neolithic Period. On the other hand, at Hatip Höyük just South of Konya there is a culture contemporary with the Neolithic of Çatal Höyük.

The most important conclusion we can draw from the existence of these figures is relevant to the technique of their manufacture. The heads with rather long necks and without showing any breakage, modelled in clay or carved out of stone (see Pl. II Fig. 5 and Pl. Ill Fig. 7) should have been used as component parts to complete the clay figures manufactured without heads, but with holes in the place of the necks (see Pl. I Fig. i and Pl. V Fig. 10). However, these heads, examples of which were also found in Anatolia and published [20] should be differentiated from the ones unearthed in the Early and Late Neolithic levels of Çatal Höyük, in the Late Neolithic of Ha­cılar or in the Early Chalcolithic of Can Hasan. These latter heads have no projections to be attached to the meddled human bodies and can be seen generally without necks or with a cavity in a short neck as at Çatal Höyük [21], carved out of flat stones as at Hacılar [22] or sometimes with a cavity in their necks as at Can Hasan[23]. These features would also indicate that they are not produced as compo­nent parts. In fact, there have been found in Anatolia no anthropo­morphic figures with projections in the place of their necks to hold tightly the above-mentioned heads which have a cavity in their necks.

On the other hand, stalk heads are known in the Anatolian anthropomorphic representations. Examples of these can be seen in abundance in the Late Chalcolithic Period and the Early Bronze Age [24] in addition to the figure of Hacılar from the Early Chalco­lithic Period we mentioned above (Pl. IV Fig. 9). The individually manufactured heads are not seen in the Late Chalcolithic Period or in the Early Bronze Age. So the figures with stalks have no such heads, if not they would have been produced in perishable material such as wood. But, until now no trace of wood has been noticed on the stalks of these figures to support this theory. Moreover, beside stalks for the representetion of heads these figures have heads in round [25]or other forms[26] stylized like their bodies. Since the stalk heads occur for the first time at the end of the Early Chalcolithic and in the Late Chalcolithic Periods [27], the existence of these individu­ally produced heads would be evaluated basing on other evidence.

During the excavations at Çatal Höyük were found skulls in some buildings, which were believed to represent “Ancestral Cult” [28]; this may have been the reason of the manufacture of the individual heads. As it is known, the first examples of these skulls were unearthed in an aceramic culture found at Hacılar[29]. In the following period, the Neolithic with pottery, skulls are found at Çatal Höyük as we mentioned before. In the Late Neolithic buildings at Çatal Höyük these skulls are not seen anymore. The same situation is also observed at Hacılar and even at Can Hasan. At these 3 centres no skulls have been found, but there are individual heads, particularly at Hacılar [30]. These should have been probably manufactured to replace the skulls and kept in remembrance of the “Ancestral Cult”. The continuation of this tradition is not seen at the Early Chalcolithic Hacılar, but is observed at Can Hasan, where the individual heads[31] produced in bigger sizes than the complete anthropomorphic representations[32]. This would also show us clearly that these heads are not manufactured as component parts to complete the headless finished figures.

One could incline to regard that the heads with long necks, we present in our paper, may have been used for the same purpose. However, the 2 anthropomorphic figures without heads (Pl. I Fig. 1 and Pl. V Fig. 10), we introduce here, would direct us that they were used as component heads to complete the figures finished without a head and with a hole in the place of the neck. The wooden examples of these heads have also been found. In the find spots of some of the headless stylized figures carbonized traces of wooden heads were observed during the scientific excavations at Hacılar[33]. On the other hand, stone or clay heads could have been also used for bodies carved out of wood, but no where there have been any evidence to support this theory yet.

All these have shown us that anthropomorphic representation modelled in clay may have had individual heads finished in clay, stone or wood. On the other hand, in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods in Anatolia there were also produced some independent stone or clay heads besides complete figures, which are supposed to be to continue the tradition of keeping skulls in the buildings for the purpose of the “Ancestral Cult”.

In addition to these conclusions, we may say that the Manisa Museum example would add a double sitting position to the known postures of the Late Neolithic Period. At the same time, we may emphasize once more that the generalized freedom and esthetics in the presentation of anthropomorphic figures observed in the Late Neolithic Period are never reached in the other periods of the Anat­olian Prehistory.

İstanbul, May 1978


  1. ÇUKURKENT : Head and neck missing. Exist. H. 2.7 cm.
    Baked Clay. Buff slipped and burnished. Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi, Ankara
  2. ÇUKURKENT : Head missing. Exist. H. 1.6 cm.
    Brownish - buff limestone. Polished. Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi, Ankara
  3. ÇUKURKENT : Lower part of a lying statuette. Exist. L. 4.4 cm.
    Green stone. Polished.
    Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi, Ankara
  4. HATİP HÖYÜK : Intact. H. 4.4 cm.
    Green stone. Polished.
    Konya Archaeological Museum
  5. HATİP HÖYÜK : Head and neck only. H. 4.5 cm.
    Green stone. Polished.
    Konya Archaeological Museum
  6. ALIÇLI HÖYÜK : Lower part of a seated statuette. Exist. H. 4.7 cm.
    Baked clay. Buff slipped and burnished. Private Collection. Banaz / Uşak
  7. ALIÇLI HÖYÜK : Head and neck only. H. 6.4 cm.
    Baked clay. Reddish - buff slipped. Burnish worn out partly.
    Private Collection, Banaz / Uşak
  8. HACILAR : Head only. Exist. H. 3 cm.
    Baked clay. Buff slipped and burnished. Decorated with brownish - red stripes.
    Private Collection, Istanbul
  9. HACILAR : Upper part of a statuette. Exist. H. 5.5 cm.
    Baked clay. Buff slipped and burnished. Private Collection, Istanbul
  10. ORIGIN UNKNOWN: Head and neck missing. Exist. H. 4.9 cm.
    Baked clay. Red slipped and burnished. Manisa Archaeological Museum
  11. ORIGIN UNKNOWN: Head and neck missing. Exist. H. 3.9 cm.
    Baked clay. Brownish - buff slipped. Burnish worn out. Afyon Archaeological Museum
  12. ORIGIN UNKNOWN: Intact. H. 5.3 cm.
    White Marble. Polished.
    Kayseri Archaeological Museum
  13. ORIGIN UNKNOWN: Head and neck missing. Exist. H. 4.3 cm. White marble. Polished.
    Koyunoğlu Museum, Konya
  14. ORIGIN UNKNOWN: Head, neck and the tips of the feet missing. Exist. H. 7 cm.
    Baked clay. Buff slipped and burnished.
    Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi, Ankara

Şekil ve Tablolar