Neolithic mural may depict ancient eruption

Jan 08, 2014
This is the Hasan Dagi volcano. Credit: Janet C. Harvey

Volcanic rock dating suggests the painting of a Çatalhöyük mural may have overlapped with an eruption in Turkey according to results published January 8, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Axel Schmitt from the University of California Los Angeles and colleagues from other institutions.

Scientists analyzed rocks from the nearby Hasan Dagi volcano in order to determine whether it was the volcano depicted in the mural from ~6600 BC in the Catalhöyük Neolithic site in central Turkey. To determine if Hasan Dagi was active during that time, scientists collected and analyzed samples from the summit and flanks of the Hasan Dagi volcano using (U-Th)/He zircon geochronology. These ages were then compared to the archeological date of the mural.

Volcanic rock textures and ages support the interpretation that residents of Çatalhöyük may have recorded an of Hasan Dagi volcano. The dating of the volcanic rock indicated an eruption around 6900 BC, which closely overlaps with the time the mural was estimated to have been painted in Çatalhöyük. The overlapping timeframes indicate humans in the region may have witnessed this eruption.

Alternative interpretations of the mural include the depiction of a leopard skin, consistent with other art at the Çatalhöyük site.

Schmitt adds, "We tested the hypothesis that the Çatalhöyük mural depicts a and discovered a geological record consistent with this hypothesis. Our work also demonstrates that Hasan Dagi has potential for future eruptions."

Explore further: Volcano's legacy still washing up on beaches

More information: Schmitt AK, Danišík M, Aydar E, Şen E, Ulusoy İ, et al. (2014) Identifying the Volcanic Eruption Depicted in a Neolithic Painting at Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia, Turkey. PLoS ONE 9(1): e84711. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084711

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User comments : 3

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Returners
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2014
Couldn't hurt to place a picture of the mural adjacent to the picture of the mountain. You know, so people can at least see it and draw a conclusion for themselves.
goracle
not rated yet Jan 09, 2014
Couldn't hurt to place a picture of the mural adjacent to the picture of the mountain. You know, so people can at least see it and draw a conclusion for themselves.


It's in the article. http://www.ploson....0084711
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2014
@goracle-- Thanks for the link to the article.

To my eye the drawing looks a lot more like a volcano than a leopard skin.