For years I have been a big fan of history.It was alride the lessons I looked at most, and the only books I read were about historical events or people. History was, and for me, a way to escape everyday life, like a movie or novel that is for another.
I have read some of it, from ancient Egypt to 9/11, from the American Aztecs to the Kingdom of Majapahit in the Indian archipelago.From everyday life to the objects one can find in the house.
And then I bought a book that I happened to encounter, about the economy of cities, and the first chapter was about a fabricated city during the Neoliticum (start ca. 11000 BC) that the reader had to help understand how a first permanent settlement arose .Although the city was concocted, it was based on a ‘ real ‘ excavation in the present-day Turkey: Çatalhöyük.
Çatalhöyük, a city without streets.
The entrances of the houses were located on the roof, and the people walked here as well. There is no evidence for any social hierarchy, death was very central, and often the old houses were filled with sand, after which a new one was built on top. This makes the city in some places 21 meters high/deep.
When I read the book, I immediately went back to this chapter.I couldn’t actually stop reading about this almost alien city.
In the evening in bed I could not think about anything else, so the next day I immediately grabbed paper and a pencil after my work, and I went to visualize the story.A map of Anatolia, settlements, tribes, trade routes and merchandise, and of course the city itself. When I started it was about 19:45 and I was still busy for my feeling when it became very dark in the house. I looked on the clock and saw 23:04 stand.
And over the course of the past few weeks, I have not been involved in my spare time anywhere else.I never knew that prehistory could be so interesting. Our history books talk about ‘ stupid ‘ hunters collectors who started to grow corn on a day and thus live in cities, but it is so much more than that. Continental trade routes, exquisitely made products of obsidian, shell and copper, diplomatic between the tribes, religion, splitting labor, even architecture. And this raises questions of course. How did these early city dwellers lived, what did they ate and drank them? Could they sing, dance or make music? What clothes were they wearing? How did they built their homes? Was there standardization in production as we see in Egypt or Rome?
And this is my new passion, researching prehistoric times.There is so much that we do not know yet, and so also so much what is still to be discovered. A kind of last frontier for history.
And how does it feel?It feels good. You lose sense of time, can’t think of anything else, and just want to know more.