Kultepe? “archaeological site” in Turkey with the oldest women’s rights document 4,000 years old.
Kültepe is an archaeological site located in Kayseri Province in Turkey, nearest modern city to Kültepe is Kayseri, about 20 km southwest. It consists of a tell, the actual Kültepe, and a lower town where an Assyrian settlement was found. Ref
Assyria was the region in the Near East which, under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, reached from Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) through Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and down through Egypt. The empire began modestly at the city of Ashur (known as Subartu to the Sumerians), located in Mesopotamia north-east of Babylon, where merchants who traded in Anatolia became increasingly wealthy, and that affluence allowed for the growth and prosperity of the city. According to one interpretation of passages in the biblical Book of Genesis, Ashur was founded by a man named Ashur son of Shem, son of Noah, after the Great Flood, who then went on to found the other important Assyrian cities.
Assyria did belong to the Empire of Akkad at times, as well as to the Third Dynasty of Ur. Our main sources for this period are the many thousand Assyrian letters and documents from the trade colonies in Cappadocia, foremost of which was Kanesh (modern Kultepe) (49-50).
The trade colony of Karum Kanesh (the Port of Kanesh) was among the most lucrative centres for trade in the ancient Near East and definitely the most important for the city of Ashur. Merchants from Ashur traveled to Kanesh, set up businesses, and then, after placing trusted employees (usually family members) in charge, returned to Ashur and supervised their business dealings from there. The historian Paul Kriwaczek notes:
For several generations the trading houses of Karum Kanesh flourished, and some became extremely wealthy – ancient millionaires. However not all business was kept within the family. Ashur had a sophisticated banking system and some of the capital that financed the Anatolian trade came from long-term investments made by independent speculators in return for a contractually specified proportion of the profits. There is not much about today’s commodity markets that an old Assyrian would not quickly recognize (214-215).
THE RISE OF ASHUR
The wealth generated from trade in Karum Kanesh provided the people of Ashur with the stability and security necessary for the expansion of the city and so laid the foundation for the rise of the empire. Trade with Anatolia was equally important in providing the Assyrians with raw materials from which they were able to perfect the craft of iron working. The iron weapons of the Assyrian military would prove a decisive advantage in the campaigns which would conquer the entire region of the Near East. Before that could happen, however, the political landscape needed to change. The people known as the Hurrians and the Hatti held dominance in the region of Anatolia, and Ashur, to the north in Mesopotamia, remained in the shadow of these more powerful civilizations. In addition to the Hatti, there were the people known as the Amorites who were steadily settling in the area and acquiring more land and resources. The Assyrian king Shamashi Adad I (1813-1791 BCE) drove the Amorites out and secured the borders of Assyria, claiming Ashur as the capital of his kingdom. The Hatti continued to remain dominant in the region until they were invaded and assimilated by the Hittites in c. 1700. Long before that time, however, they ceased to prove as major a concern as the city to the southwest which was slowly gaining power: Babylon. The Amorites were a growing power in Babylon for at least 100 years when the Amorite king named Sin Muballit took the throne, and, in c. 1792 BCE, his son King Hammurabi ascended to rule and subjugated the lands of the Assyrians. It is around this same time that trade between Ashur and Karum Kanesh ended, as Babylon now rose to prominence in the region and took control of trade with Assyria. Ref
Fragment of a stone stele dedicated by Itur-Ashdum, Hammurabi; king Hammurapi at worship.
The cuneiform inscription states that a high official called Itur-Ashdum dedicated a statue of a lamma to the goddess Ashratum in her temple on behalf of King Hammurapi (reigned 1792-1750 BCE). The figure carved to the left of the inscription may represent Hammurapi with his right arm raised in worship. According to the text Hammurapi would have been facing a figure of Ashratum across the inscription. First Dynasty of Babylon,old Babylonian era, c. 1760-1750 BCE. Probably from Sippar, Mesopotamia, southern Iraq. (The British Museum, London) Ref
4,500 year-old dwelling found in Turkey
“It is the biggest building in Anatolia and Middle East ever found.”
A four and half-thousand year-old dwelling belonging to an important ruler is the latest find from an archeological dig referred to as the Kultepe mound, in a district of Kayseri, in central Turkey. “There is no such a huge building like this in Anatolia and Middle East. We are only at the certain part of the building right now. We will see an enormous structure once we discover it all. This is not a private house. It is most probably an administrative body. We believe that this is a building where Kanis King lives or governs his kingdom,” Prof. Fikri Kuloglu, Ankara University archaeologist and head of the Kultepe archaeological excavation, told an AA reporter. The archeologist says the thousands of seals found (probably from Northern Syria) tell that there was “international and systematical trade” in those times and the archaeological excavations in coming years will give further evidence of those trade activities. Kultepe, ancient mound covering the Bronze Age city of Kanesh, is in central Turkey. Kultepe was known to archaeologists during the 19th century, but it began to attract particular attention as the reputed source of so-called Cappadocian tablets in Old Assyrian cuneiform writing and language. Ref
4,000-year-old tablets found in Turkey include women’s rights
The Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum trade colony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri continues to amaze archeologists, with an expert at the dig revealing that tablets citing women’s rights were discovered at the Bronze Age settlement.
The Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum trade colony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri continues to amaze archeologists, with an expert at the dig revealing that tablets citing women’s rights were discovered at the Bronze Age settlement.
Excavations at the ancient tumulus site began in 1948. So far, it has been discovered the center was where the written history of Anatolia began and the largest monumental structure of the Middle East was unearthed in 2013. A centuries-old baby rattle and a tablet about the sale of a donkey were unearthed last year. The 2015 excavation season began in Kültepe with the head of the excavation team, Prof. Fikri Kulakoğlu of Ankara University, told News Agencies on July 16 the site was remarkable not only because the priceless tablets revealed commercial information about the Assyrians, but also about the local social life of the time with all kinds of personal details about individuals. Ref
Emotional letters, complaints
“From women’s rights to the adoption of children and marriages arranged at birth, the tablets include all kinds of civilizational and social data from Anatolia 4,000 years ago. There is also an emotional letter from a woman to her husband and a letter from another woman who complains about her mother-in-law. You can’t find such things in an empire’s official archive,” he said. Still, most of the 23,500 cuneiform tablets unearthed at Kültepe were about commerce. “Kültepe is where the Anatolian enlightenment began. The people in this area were literate much earlier than other places in Anatolia, including its west,” Kulakoğlu added. Some 90 percent of the Kültepe tablets can be seen in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Some of them are exhibited at the site and are expected to be transferred soon to a new archaeology museum under construction in Kayseri, deemed to be the most important museum of the historic Cappadocia region. Ref
Vast site once hosted 70,000
The settlement in the tumulus is composed of segments from the early Bronze Age, the middle Bronze Age, the Iron Age and Ancient Greece and Rome. One of the most important discoveries was a tablet from 2000 B.C., which explains there were local kingdoms in Anatolia at that time and the Kaniş Kingdom was the most powerful one. Only a small area of Kültepe, which is thought to have hosted over 70,000 people four millennia ago, has been excavated so far. Officials say it might take 5,000 years to excavate the entire ancient site. Ref
For most modern readers, “women’s rights” as a concentrated program of activism and legal protections, really only begins in the mid-19th century with milestones like the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. At best, most accounts on the topic might place its origins in the late 18th century, when women included their gender-specific grievances in documents related to the French Revolution, calling for a focused, codified for respect and state protection of their (at the time nascent and highly problematic) theoretical equality and setting the stage for later action. But new findings out of Turkey could push the origins of “women’s rights” much further back apparently, uncovered a 4,000-year-old clay tablet outlining a series of women’s rights from an ancient community on the Anatolian plateau—one known for striking but underreported finds. The find comes from the Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum trade colony, a town of (at its height) 70,000 located just outside of modern Kayseri and dating back to at least 2000 B.C. Ever since the site’s excavation began in 1948, it’s yielded amazing finds, including 23,500 clay tablets detailing (mostly) local commerce and politics, but also extraordinarily humanizing accounts of the lives of the citizens of this central Anatolian merchants hub—like letters detailing familial spats. Unfortunately those of us in the public don’t yet know what this astoundingly old tablet says. But if it lays out anything like a cohesive account of legal rights accorded to women in the town, then the find is exceptional not just as a gender issues item, but as a legal document. Hammurabi of Babylon, after all, laid down the most famous early legal code in the 18th century B.C. (which had some provisions about protections for widows and the like, but still treated women mostly as property in a male-dominated world), potentially a couple centuries after this document. And given what we know about the level of gender equality in ancient Anatolian culture based on findings at Çatalhöyük (which flourished as far back as 7000 B.C.), it seems likely that the tablet will be surprisingly progressive if (like most legal codes) it simply codifies major social norms. Any find that outlines specific women’s rights is also phenomenal as it goes against the trend in most ancient Mesopotamian societies of treating women as the property of their families (even if they were awarded basic property and divorce rights in some legal codes). Granted we know that a number of pre-historic societies, possibly including many covered by Mesopotamian laws, probably had more egalitarian social norms towards women. But these norms rarely got set down in legal codes, enforceable by agents of a government (save in the quasi-progressive ancient Egypt). Even if this new tablet’s protections for women prove to be extremely limited, if it is an enforceable code, then they could constitute a stark contrast to prevailing legal norms. We’ll have to wait a while for the full details of this discovery to become clear as the tablet, and others out of Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum, undergo study. But in the meantime there’s reason to believe that we can expect many more exciting legal and social revelations out of the ancient world given the sheer number of untranslated Mesopotamian tablets out there. By some estimates, the world’s museums and universities contain 500,000 cuneiform tablets, only 30,000 to 100,000 of which have been translated. That’s not to mention all the tablets awaiting discovery at unexcavated sites. Every year, we find something exciting in newly translated tablets. So we can only hope that people pay these tablets the attention that they deserve, and that they paint us a more complex picture of the diverse and ancient origins of modern legal and social concepts, like women’s rights, in the near future. Ref
Though great detail has not yet been provided on the exact content of the cuneiform tablets discussing women’s rights, this is an interesting topic to find in the Bronze Age site, but not the first example we have seen regarding gender equality in ancient Turkey matching the archaeology information that had already depicted that men and women in ancient Turkey lived in equality as seen at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük. Ref
Men and women held equal status in ancient city of Catalhoyuk (around 10,000 to 5,000 years ago)
Çatalhöyük was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. Çatalhöyük is located overlooking the Konya Plain, southeast of the present-day city of Konya (ancient Iconium) in Turkey, approximately 140 km (87 mi) from the twin-coned volcano of Mount Hasan. The eastern settlement forms a mound which would have risen about 20 m (66 ft) above the plain at the time of the latest Neolithic occupation. There is also a smaller settlement mound to the west and a Byzantine settlement a few hundred meters to the east. The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age. A channel of the Çarşamba river once flowed between the two mounds, and the settlement was built on alluvial clay which may have been favourable for early agriculture. Ref
Presenting Çatalhöyük to the World
Çatalhöyük was a place of gender equality, where men and women held equal status.
Overlooking the Konya Plain in Turkey lies the remarkable and unique ancient city of Çatalhöyük, the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date. At a time when most of the world’s people were nomadic hunter-gatherers, Çatalhöyük was a bustling town of as many as 10,000 people. According to a 2014 report in Hurriyet Daily News , archaeologists have now gained new insights into the ancient city as further excavation work has revealed that Çatalhöyük was a place of gender equality, where men and women held equal status. Çatalhöyük, which means ‘forked mound’ and refers to the site’s east and west mounds, features a unique and peculiar street-less settlement of houses clustered together in a honeycomb-like maze with most accessed by holes in the ceiling, which also served as the only source of ventilation into the house. The rooftops were effectively streets and may have formed plazas where many daily activities may have taken place. The homes had plaster interiors and each main room served for cooking and daily activities. Ref
Çatalhöyük was a street-less settlement of houses clustered together in a honeycomb-like maze.
Through analysis of wall paintings, sculptures, and burials, researchers have concluded that men and women held equal status in Çatalhöyük. “Thanks to modern scientific techniques, we have seen that women and men were eating very similar foods, lived similar lives and worked in similar works,” said Stanford University Professor Ian Hodder, who directed the excavations. “The same social stature was given to both men and women.” The level of equality also extended beyond gender and appears to have applied to the society as a whole. “People lived with the principle of equality in Çatalhöyük, especially considering the hierarchy that appeared in other settlements in the Middle East. This makes Çatalhöyük different. There was no leader, government or administrative building,” Professor Hodder said. Another interesting discovery that emerged from excavations was that burials of the deceased, which were typically in pits under the floor or beneath hearths in houses, were not organised according to family relationships. “We have also seen that people who were buried under houses were not biologically relatives or members of the same family. They lived as a family but their natural parents are not the same. Those who were born in Çatalhöyük did not live with their biological parents but with others,” said Hodder. Ref
A pit burial in Çatalhöyük.
Çatalhöyük was composed entirely of domestic buildings, with no obvious public buildings. While some of the larger ones have rather ornate murals, the purpose of some rooms remains unclear. The population of the eastern mound has been estimated to be, at maximum, 10,000 people, but the population likely varied over the community’s history. An average population of between 5,000 and 7,000 is a reasonable estimate. The sites were set up as large numbers of buildings clustered together. Households looked to their neighbors for help, trade, and possible marriage for their children. The inhabitants lived in mudbrick houses that were crammed together in an aggregate structure. No footpaths or streets were used between the dwellings, which were clustered in a honeycomb-like maze. Most were accessed by holes in the ceiling, with doors reached by ladders and stairs. The rooftops were effectively streets. The ceiling openings also served as the only source of ventilation, allowing smoke from the houses’ open hearths and ovens to escape. Houses had plaster interiors characterized by squared-off timber ladders or steep stairs. These were usually on the south wall of the room, as were cooking hearths and ovens. The main rooms contained raised platforms that may have been used for a range of domestic activities. Typical houses contained two rooms for everyday activity, such as cooking and crafting. All interior walls and platforms were plastered to a smooth finish. Ancillary rooms were used as storage, and were accessed through low openings from main rooms. All rooms were kept scrupulously clean. Archaeologists identified very little rubbish in the buildings, finding middens outside the ruins, with sewage and food waste, as well as significant amounts of wood ash. In good weather, many daily activities may also have taken place on the rooftops, which may have formed a plaza. In later periods, large communal ovens appear to have been built on these rooftops. Over time, houses were renewed by partial demolition and rebuilding on a foundation of rubble, which was how the mound was gradually built up. As many as eighteen levels of settlement have been uncovered. As a part of ritual life, the people of Çatalhöyük buried their dead within the village. Human remains have been found in pits beneath the floors and, especially, beneath hearths, the platforms within the main rooms, and under beds. Bodies were tightly flexed before burial and were often placed in baskets or wound and wrapped in reed mats. Disarticulated bones in some graves suggest that bodies may have been exposed in the open air for a time before the bones were gathered and buried. In some cases, graves were disturbed, and the individual’s head removed from the skeleton. These heads may have been used in rituals, as some were found in other areas of the community. In a woman’s grave spinning whorls were recovered and in a man’s grave, stone axes. Some skulls were plastered and painted with ochre to recreate faces, a custom more characteristic of Neolithic sites in Syria and at Neolithic Jericho than at sites closer by. Vivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement, on interior and exterior walls. Distinctive clay figurines of women, notably the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük, have been found in the upper levels of the site. Although no identifiable temples have been found, the graves, murals, and figurines suggest that the people of Çatalhöyük had a religion rich in symbols. Rooms with concentrations of these items may have been shrines or public meeting areas. Predominant images include men with erect phalluses, hunting scenes, red images of the now extinct aurochs (wild cattle) and stags, and vultures swooping down on headless figures. Relief figures are carved on walls, such as of lionesses facing one another. Heads of animals, especially of cattle, were mounted on walls. A painting of the village, with the twin mountain peaks of Hasan Dağ in the background, is frequently cited as the world’s oldest map and the first landscape painting. However, some archaeologists question this interpretation. Stephanie Meece, for example, argues that it is more likely a painting of a leopard skin instead of a volcano, and a decorative geometric design instead of a map. Çatalhöyük had no apparent social classes, as no houses with distinctive features (belonging to royalty or religious hierarchy, for example) have been found so far. The most recent investigations also reveal little social distinction based on gender, with men and women receiving equivalent nutrition and seeming to have equal social status, as typically found in Paleolithic cultures. Children observed domestic areas. They learned how to perform rituals and how to build or repair houses by watching the adults make statues, beads and other objects. Çatalhöyük’s spatial layout may be due to the close kin relations exhibited amongst the people. It can be seen, in the layout, that the people were “divided into two groups who lived on opposite sides of the town, separated by a gully.” Furthermore, because no nearby towns were found from which marriage partners could be drawn, “this spatial separation must have marked two intermarrying kinship groups.” This would help explain how a settlement so early on would become so large. In upper levels of the site, it becomes apparent that the people of Çatalhöyük were gaining skills in agriculture and the domestication of animals. Female figurines have been found within bins used for storage of cereals, such as wheat and barley, and the figurines are presumed to be of a deity protecting the grain. Peas were also grown, and almonds, pistachios, and fruit were harvested from trees in the surrounding hills. Sheep were domesticated and evidence suggests the beginning of cattle domestication as well. However, hunting continued to be a major source of food for the community. Pottery and obsidian tools appear to have been major industries; obsidian tools were probably both used and also traded for items such as Mediterranean sea shells and flint from Syria. Ref
Anatolian Cultural Evolution
10,000 Years Ago – Turkey, Anatolian Cultural Evolution round this time there is no identifiable community buildings. Presumed family lineage, age- and gender-based social ranking; village management by council and/or chiefs; pottery production. Symbolisms relating to fecundity, life, and death in naturalistic human and animal forms. Local changes in pottery and lithic typologies and technologies reflect changes in subsistence modes. Then around 9,500 – 7,700 years ago – Catal Huyuk, Turkey, is the “first religious created city” settlement where evidence of religious civilization develop likely contains a spiritual center making it a religious temple city. Catal Huyuk which in Turkish Catal is for “fork”, Huyuk for “mound”. Inhabitant’s likely practicing worship in communal shrines, leaving behind numerous clay figurines and impressions of phallic, feminine, and hunting scenes. Catal Huyuk, a town in Southcentral Turkey with an estimated population of 5,000 -10,000 people, is the apparent center of fertility cult and goddess worship. The houses are accessed via their rooftops, were crammed tightly together, and with little evidence of specialization, hierarchy, or elite. A site of this size might be expected to produce evidence of specialization, elite, and large communal areas, rather than the evidence for a fairly even distribution of labor and resource. However, the site does reveal evidence of rich symbolic and artistic actions, including shrine areas, plastered features, bucrania, wall-paintings, figurines, and burials, focused on particular houses, and described as ‘history houses’. Along with goddess and bull cults has been a broader perception of a ‘cult of skulls’ or skull cult. The skull cult has its roots in the Levantine PPNB, with plastered skulls recovered from sites including Jericho, ‘Ain Ghazal, Kfar HaHoresh, and Tell Aswad. Recent excavations have extended this phenomenon into Anatolia, with plastered skulls recovered from Catal Huyuk, and one skull of an adult male, buried in the arms of an adult female at Catal Huyuk. Such plastered skulls were originally believed to venerate elder, male ancestors. However, recent analysis has revealed that many plastered skulls were of children and females which suggest that these were related to ancestors, the ‘ancestor’ category was not one limited to the elder male image. On this same site, one of the oldest known representation of a drum was discovered in a fresco with more than thirty characters, some of which playing percussions, dancing around a huge bull. Two characters hold what looks like musical instruments similar to the malunga or berimbau, a single-string percussion instrument or musical bow, originally from southern parts of Africa. Although the bow is now thought of as a weapon, a 15,000 years old cave painting in France, displays a bow being played as a musical instrument. Also of relevance in Catal Huyuk is a mural where the color of the dancers’ skin seems to say they might belong to different ethnic groups. Some are black, others white, and others half black and white. Blacks are sometimes covered with a leopard skin. Also found at Catal Huyuk are stone and bone figures shaped in the form of feminine and rooms with altars of veneration. In fact, over 25% of the rooms have altars to a feminine deity. Many of them are linked with images of horns, the horns of the bull. It is a curious anomaly. At first sight, the mother goddess is a symbol of fertility. The horns of the bull are identified with male potency. Yet both are linked in an altar which is seemingly of primary honor to a feminine deity. In Building 42, there was a burial in which a woman held the head of a man. The man’s head had been plastered to create the features of his face and had been painted red; indeed, it had been plastered several times, suggesting that the plastered skull had been retained for some time before burial with the woman. This was a highly charged event, as suggested by the fact that this is the only example of a plastered skull found at the site, and indeed there is only one other example from anywhere in Turkey. The burial was in fact a foundation burial: it had not been dug through the floors of the house, but the floors of the house had been built up above the burial. So this highly charged event had a social significance, the founding of a new house. The event had both practical and religious significance. The religious significance was heightened by the placing in the grave of another remarkable object, the claw of a leopard. The detailed study of the figurines at Catal Huyuk has shown that removable heads and dowel holes in torsos to contain heads were much more prevalent than had been thought. The paintings too show headless bodies associated with vultures. The art from Gobekli Tepe also shows a headless body with an erect penis associated with birds. Overall, it is possible to argue that myths circulated in which heads were removed and carried upward by birds of prey. This process could be reenacted in the removal and replacement of heads on figurines. It seems possible that the process of removing and circulating human heads created ancestors that could communicate with the world of animal spirits (as seen in the artistic renderings of humans interacting with oversized animals at Catal Huyuk) as well as be communicated with by humans (in the caring for and replastering of skulls, and in the reenactment of head removal on figurines). Those studying the figurines have increasingly noted the fascination with body parts, buttocks, breasts, navels and so on. Indeed, the more examples of art found, the more the focus on the human form. It has long been assumed that the primary focus of symbolism at early village sites in the Middle East is a nurturing ‘mother goddess’ who embodies notions of birth and rebirth. But recent finds at both Gobekli Tepe and Catal Huyuk have suggested a link to death and violence as much as to birth and rebirth. Recent finds at Catal Huyuk include a figurine that looks like a typical ‘mother goddess’ from the front, with full breasts and extended belly, but at the back she is a skeleton, with ribs, vertebrae, scapulae, and pelvic bones clearly shown. And in 2004 a grave was found in which a woman held a plastered skull of a man in her arms; she was also found with the only leopard bone ever found onsite, worn as a claw pendant. In fact, there is much imagery and symbolism of death and violence at Catal Huyuk. There are bulls’ heads fixed to walls, and other installations on and in walls, including the tusks of wild boars, vulture skulls, and the teeth of foxes and weasels. The new finds from the earlier sites of Gobekli Tepe and Nevali Cori in Southeastern Anatolia indicate that this focus on dangerous, wild animals is a central theme of the development of early villages and settled life. Death acted as a focus of transcendent religious experience during the transitions of the early Holocene in the Middle East and that it was central to the creation of social life in the first large agglomerations of people. This is because of the role of dead ancestors in the creation of ‘houses’. Certain houses at Catal Huyuk had many more complete skeletons than there were people who could have lived in those houses. For example, Building 1, which was inhabited for only 40 years by a family-sized group, had 62 burials beneath the floors. It was clear that people had been buried into this house from other houses. So while some houses have no burials in them, the average is 5-8, there appear to be a small number of houses that have 30-62 burials and therefore seem to have a special nature and in the upper levels, there are more representations of women in the figurine corpus. Social status early in the site seems to have focused on wild animals, associated feasts and male prowess, whereas in the upper levels the success of the house was represented by the size of the house, by the centrality of the hearth and by representations of women. The teeth of foxes and weasels, the tusks of wild boars, the claws of bears and the beaks of vultures were placed in protrusions on the walls and also found was a leopard claw and the talons of raptors in burials. So there is a focus on parts of animals that are dangerous or piercing; there is little symbolic emphasis on femurs, humeri, molar teeth, and so on. Dangerous or flesh-eating wild animals and birds are also chosen for representation. The economy at Catal Huyuk is based on domestic sheep and goats, but these hardly appear in the symbolism. At Catal Huyuk many figurines are found without heads, and in one case there is evidence for the intentional severing of a stone figurine head by cutting, probably using an obsidian blade. Archeologists have found numerous obsidian tools that show flattened and abraded edges from working stone surfaces. About a dozen clay figurines have dowel holes, suggesting that the process of removing and keeping heads could be played out in miniature. The ability to remove and replace certain heads might allow for multiple identities and potential narrativization, it has been argued that detachable heads at Catal Huyuk ‘were used to portray a range of emotions, attitudes, or states of being’. There are several bodies with dowel holes than heads made for attachment, which could suggest that the head is more determinative and the bodies are deemed more generic, although this may not imply a hierarchy. Among the figurines, almost all of the examples have detachable heads, are large female forms and depict breasts, and one is androgynous. At lower levels of the site, as already noted, obsidian is present in hoards or caches below the floors. In the upper levels these hoards cease and obsidian becomes more bound by new specialist technologies. Pottery too becomes more complex and more specialized after Level V. It gradually becomes more decorated until, by the time of Catal Huyuk West, 8,000 years ago, it is heavily decorated with complex designs. By this time of the West Mound as well, burial in houses of adults largely ends. It is presumed that burials are offsite and perhaps in cemeteries. Catal Huyuk acts as a bridge between societies in the Fertile Crescent to the east where agriculture and settled life began the earliest, and in societies in Western Anatolia, Greece, and Southeast Europe where agriculture and settled life did not begin until 9,000 years ago with economies that quickly included domestic cattle. To the east, there is more evidence of collective ritual and there are more claims for social differentiation related to ritual. Scholars agree that the major monuments of this area and period from 12,000 – 9,000 years ago, such as the temples of Gobekli Tepe, the towers of Jericho and of Tell Qaramel, the large circular buildings at Jerf el Ahmar and the Skull Building of Cayonu, indicate collective rituals. There is little clear evidence of concentrations of power that depend on or are related to the control of production of the temples. To the west of Catal Huyuk, there is less evidence for large scale rituals, temples, or religious monuments. Indeed, early Neolithic sites to the west of Catal Huyuk are more similar to Catal Huyuk in that the symbolism is often house-based and associated with clearly egalitarian villages. These societies had a fully fledged agriculture in which domestic cattle and sheep played key roles, allowing smaller scale societies to spread over a diversity of environmental zones. It seems that the shifts made at Catal Huyuk around 10,500 years ago contributed to the ability of societies to break out of “history making” toward more flexible and individual house-based production. Ref
Primal Organized Religion
13,000 – 9,370 Years Ago – Gobekli Tepe, Turkey, found the “first human made temple” at a Southeast Anatolian site and north of the Harran plain consisting of three circular structures of ritualistically engraved monolithic standing stones making a temple complex. The tall “T” shaped stones are elaborately carved with boars, felines, bovines, scorpions, vultures, and snakes abound, twisting and crawling on the pillars’ broad sides. There is a set of arms and hands seen on the pillars that could be related to a birth, but how it is represented; it seems to allude to possibly showing the concept of a birth through three states or realms. Likewise, the other reliefs (artistic representations) on the T shaped stones may be stylized animal spirits, with the seemingly most symbolically used animal being snakes, which are 28% of the engravings and shows it is more important than other animals. The sacred status of snakes goes back to the oldest place of worship in Africa; it was a natural stone snake rock being worshiped as well as there is a common connection in many mythologies to snakes goddess, part of goddesses, or a familiar for such. That is not to say there are not many snake gods as well. Gobekli Tepe proves proof of complex societies involved in some kind of organized religion before settling into more concentrated sedentary communities. The place where Gobekli Tepe resides is also known as “belly hill” and could have also held a significance long ago, possibly a reference to pregnancy; an interesting thought as a female figure was found connected with felines that may express a connection to one of the later themes associated with an ancestor mother or goddess cult. The throne seated female figure, made probably no later than 10,000 years ago, is carved in containing depictions of felines; this could maybe a proto-Kubaba. Kubaba is a prominent goddess and in Sumerian called Kug-Bau who is the only queen on the Sumerian King list. Ref
When I describe the evolution of religion, I will use the prefixes (primal, proto, and progressed) for the set of stages of development of religion. My use of primal, proto and progressed as prefixes for subclasses I have organized such as early superstitionism, early religionism and organized religionism all connected parts in the evolution of religion. The “Primal” prefix is meant to express the very basic aspects appear but not yet fully evolved or beginning assemblages are starting to come together but lack form, The “Proto” prefix is meant to express the “earliest form of” or all parts of the earliest aspects are now assembled. And, the “Progressed” prefix is meant to express the “concepts or behaviors more fully solidify” or all parts of the aspects are now further developed from previously assembled concepts or behaviors. I would first like to point out that there seems to be some scant possible hinting of the earliest pseudo-superstition before 1 million years ago and possibly back to 2 million years ago, yet likely this is not yet full superstitionism and defiantly not religion, but there are still elements there that are forming that will further religions’ future evolution. This pseudo-superstition starts with symbolic, superstition, or sacralized behaviors that may have been possibly exhibited even if only in the most limited ways at start to further standardize around 1 million years ago with primal superstition. Then the development of religion evolution increased around 600,000 years ago with proto superstition and then even to a greater extent around 300,000 years ago with progressed superstition. Religions’ evolution moves from the loose growing of superstitionism to a greater developed thought addiction that was used to manage fear and the desire to sway control over a dangerous world. This began to happen around 100,000 years ago with primal religion, next the proto religion stage is around 75,000 years ago or less, the progressed religion stage is around 50,000 years ago, and finally after around 13, 500 years ago, begins with the evolution of organized religion. The set of stages for the development of organized religion is subdivided into the following: the primal stage of organized religion is 13,000 years ago, the proto organized religion stage is around 10,000 years ago, and finally the progressed organized religion stage is around 7,000 years ago with the forming of mythology and its connected set of Dogmatic-Propaganda strains of sacralized superstitionism.
Now I will begin the discussion on sexism in the Major World Religions with roughly the beginning of sexism and how it is evident in all the Major World Religions.
From the ancient past, evidence shows that sexism was near nonexistent and females were highly valued. Currently in the world with the male dominant thinking, male centric religions, and the many cultures of societies marginalizing women and promoting of sexism, which all seem to devalue, give a lesser status, or limit the value of women. Moreover, it should be understood that before there were any male god myths, there were only or mainly female goddesses and animals or aspects of nature, which were held as spirits or something like deities. Many present day thinkers may find it difficult to comprehend that women could have been valued, be equal to some extent, or even hold a position of power, especially political power in early historic or prehistoric times. However from some of the earliest writing we see that as far back as at least around 6,000 years ago women were documented as leaders and other positions of political authority that went on for thousands of years starting with Legendary Queen of Ethiopia. Likewise, according to a scientific study, there is further confirmation which shows that sexual equality is nothing new, even if it is something long forgotten. In contemporary hunter-gatherer tribes, evidence shows that men and women tend to have equal influence on important decision-making. Such findings challenge the idea that sexual equality is a recent invention, which suggests that it has been the norm for humans for most of our evolutionary history. Getting back to the timeline, by at least by 12,000 years ago, female goddesses and not male gods were created; however, the female goddesses may have been created as early as 40,000 years ago or earlier. Furthermore, I surmise around 12,000 years ago the possible beginnings of the hints of sexism and latter patriarchy began. Before 12,000 years ago, women seemed to have a special power of giving life but then things started to change, women started to lose this perceived special or magical status. However, as time went on women were starting to be seen as an object, since animals were being domesticated and humans started understand birthing. Nevertheless, do not get me wrong, this was not a dramatic shift; it was a slow process of sexism gaining power that took thousands of years to reach full fruition as we think of it today. One of the oldest written religion is of the Sumerians who’s creator being was a Female and not a Male. The Sumerian religion is around 6,000 years old but it could be much older 7,000 to 8,000 years old. In human history, when did the religious subjugation of goddess and by extension all women occur? Well, this can also be conserved to happen around 6,000 years ago also. Although, it can be hypothesized that male gods hit the scene in full force around about 5,000 years ago, when women started to lose more, and eventually all value. The introduction of Proto-Indo-Europeans marked the patriarchalization of agrarian culture. The earliest extant written sources demonstrate that these invading patriarchal peoples accommodated their divinities to those of the indigenous goddess-worshiping cultures, and they did not immediately belittle the importance of the great mother. Instead, the literature from the 5,000 years ago, recorded after the invasions, demonstrates the fusion of the goddess worshiping with the god worshiping culture. In Turkey, archaeologists found 4,000-year-old tablets that cite women’s rights. However, more progress sexism continued to develop after 4,000 years ago. Even today, women hardly have any value or even regained a fully equal status.. The devaluing, disrespecting, and degrading of women came before societies developed the more fixed class/sex structures as we think of today. Around 2,000 years ago, the manmade god concept which had taken time to develop finally started to be finalized completely as the only or the main gender of believed gods. It can be said that one of the male god concept’s goal was or seems to be for male control and domination of female sexuality and their reproductive potential. Once the male god concept is fully established and by extension men with the promotion of patriarchy, it was relatively easy to maintain and enforce through holy books and laws written by men, which established women’s lower status that deny women of education, their rights to their bodies, and exclude them from decision-making. Eventually, male dominance and its sexism were establish in nearly every known religion as well as every human society and has lasted now for a few millennia. All religions have or are prone and promote sexism, some more than others but it is a shame they all share. Although though there is much more that can be said, I will only offer a few things as evidence of sexism in each of the current major world religions:
Exodus 21:7 God not only sanctions selling ones daughter into slavery, but he also gives out laws on how it should be done.
Leviticus 27:3-7 God places a dollar value on human life; with women worth less than men.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 women who are raped and fail to “cry out” likely enjoyed the attack thus should be killed.
1 Corinthians 11:7 – 9 “For a man is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
Romans 7:2 “For the woman who hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives.
Titus 2:4-9 “Train the young women to be submissive to their husbands.
Qur’an (4:11) – (Inheritance) The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females (see also verse 4:176).
Qur’an (4:24) and Qur’an (33:50) – A man is permitted to take women as sex slaves outside of marriage.
Qur’an (4:34) – Men are in charge of women and good women are the obedient, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other.
Manusmriti 5.148. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.
Manusmrti (9:2-4) – Men must make their women dependent day and night, and keep under their own control those who are attached to sensory objects. A woman is not fit for independence.
Rig Veda (8:33:17) – The mind of woman cannot be disciplined; she has very little intelligence.
Historical Buddha said the female’s defects greed, hate, delusion, and other defilements are greater than the male’s.
Historical Buddha who refused to ordain women as nuns. He said that allowing women into the sangha would cause his teachings to survive only half as long.
A popular belief in Buddhist countries is that negative karma results in a man being reborn as a woman and in Sukhavati-vyuha Sutra (Pure Land Buddhism) women must be reborn as men before they can enter Nirvana. Theravadan Buddhists claim a woman could never become a Buddha. The Ecclesiastical
Buddhist Council of Thailand, announced publicly that any monk who supports the ordination of women will be subject to severe punishment.
The Kanamara Matsuri (“Festival of the Phallus”) is a Shinto celebration centred on a local penis-venerating shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. The legend being that a sharp-toothed demon (vagina dentata) hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, which led to the enshrinement of penis-venerating.
A spiritual practice specific to women involves a relationship to sight because they are always blind or visually impaired. Male sight, specifically women out of the public eye, occupies a privileged position in everything from ancient myths to the modern wedding ritual and continually exerts an oppressive influence on the lives of women, monitoring and impeding their public movements.
“Feminine Pollution” involves the idea in Shinto ritual, which has been used in the past to justify discrimination against women. Therefore, women have historically been pushed out of the public eye and out of public religious spaces because of their supposed impurity and to this day women are haunted by the belief in their inherent pollution.
The Gurus’ teaching on the role of women is stated as, “we are conceived and born from women. Woman is our life-long friend and keeps the race going. Why should we despise her, the one who gives birth to great men?” – Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the third Guru). Well, that still is saying its men that are great because of whom they are and women great only because they can produce great men still sounds like sexism to me.
Only Men as Guru only Men as the five Panj Pyare yes try to tell me of how Sikhism is completely equal to women…
Shiha Kaur a self-clamed feminist Sikh states,“ ancient cultural traditions sometimes take precedence over the principles of in Sikhism. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, one of the most famous Sikh Kings in Moghul India often considered a model Sikh, had seven wives. Not only does polygamy go against Sikh beliefs but also half of his wives committed sati (widowed woman commits suicide by fire) when he died in 1839. In India today, school attendance of Sikh girls is lower than that of Sikh boys. The Asian Network has reported in the rise of Asian couples travelling to India to abort female fetuses and no sweets are shared among Sikh relatives to celebrate the birth of a girl, as usually happens when a boy is born.”
Jainism does not teach that women can gain ultimate spiritual liberation, though a woman could strive to become a man in her next life so she could then reach enlightenment.
Jains believe, for example, that even microbes in the air and water are sacred life and any action that impacts other living things – such as driving or using electricity – can add to bad karma. Therefore, to Jains the bleeding which occurs in menstruation is thought to kill micro-organisms in the body, making the female body less nonviolent than the male body and the female body more prone to bad karma.
Digambara texts say that women’s genitals and breasts are sources of impurity and have many micro-organisms living in them. Digambara Jain theologians have written that due to bodily secretions, women suffer from itching which gives them uncontrollable sexual urges. They believe that women cannot take higher vows of ascetic renunciation, because naked women would have two deep emotions: shame of being naked and fear of sexual assault which they might face.
Confucius about women is “Shaoren and girls are difficult to handle. If you get familiar with them they cease to be humble. If you keep them away, they get resentful.” (Analects 17:25) This sure sounds insulting to women.
A well-known sexist Confucianism commandments is “Since the age of seven, men and women should not share a room or food” and “When young, a woman should obey the father, when married, the husband, when old, the son” are creations of later generation of Confucian scholars who developed a greater sexist tendency since the Tang dynasty era (618-907 C.E.).
According to the Confucian structure of society, women at every level were to occupy a position lower than men. Most Confucians accepted the subservience of women to men as natural and proper.
Highest leadership of the religion where only men Central figures: Bahá’u’lláh The Báb `Abdu’l-Bahá aso all men.
Women are excluded from serving on the religion’s highest governing body, the Universal House of Justice, which is confined to men only is sexist and does constitute evidence of the Bahá’í Faith support of superiority of men over women.
In 1997, a Canadian fantasy writer was disenrolled, primarily for his outspokenness on email forums for women’s full inclusion in Baha’i administration. Furthermore, in the Baha’i Faith there are particular cases of assignment of different roles to women and men at the level of individual life, family, and society.