The Goddess and the Bull

The Goddess and the Bull : Catalhoyuk - An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization

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Veteran science writer Michael Balter skillfully weaves together many threads in this fascinating book about one of archaeology's most legendary sites- Catalhoyuk. First excavated forty years ago, the site is justly revered by prehistorians, art historians, and New Age goddess worshippers alike for its spectacular finds dating almost 10,000 years ago. Archaeological maverick Ian Hodder, leader of the recent re-excavation at this Turkish mound, designated Balter as the project's biographer. The result is a skillful telling of many stories about both past and present: of the inhabitants of Neolithic Catalhoyuk and the development of human creativity and ingenuity, as revealed in the recent excavation; of James Mellaart, the original excavator, whose troubles off the mound eventually overshadowed his incisive work at the site; of Hodder and his intense, brilliant crew who marveled and squabbled over the meaning of finds in dusty trenches while attempting to reintepret Mellaart's work; and of the recent history of the theory and methods of archaeology itself. Part story of the human past, part soap opera of modern scholarly life, part textbook on the practice of modern archaeology, this book should appeal to general readers and archaeological students alike.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.1 x 27.9mm | 567g
  • Left Coast Press Inc
  • Walnut Creek, United States
  • English
  • 16 bw illus.
  • 1598740695
  • 9781598740691
  • 557,140

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Veteran science writer Michael Balter skillfully weaves together many threads in this biography of the excavation one of archaeologyas most legendary prehistoric sitesa AatalhAyA1/4k, Turkey.

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Review quote

'A canny narrative history of a wondrous archaeological site, full of personality and personalities, and ripe with thoughtful conjecture.' Kirkus Reviews '(Balter) has produced a compelling read, one that achieves the double act of educating and entertaining.' Science Magazine 'Catalhoyuk is not only an archaeological site of tremendous importance, it is one with a dramatic history-both ancient and modern-that Balter tells with verve and an abundance of personal detail. His book is foremost about a site that offers unique insights into the origins of our own civilization; but at the same time it is an evocative portrayal of the process of archaeology itself.' Ian Tattersall, Curator, American Museum of Natural History 'This valuable, engaging study of a major site and the outstanding accomplishments of its excavators will delight archaeology and anthropology students and their teachers.' Library Journal 'I liked it very much. A little heavy on theory for my taste but exciting to read of what could have been the first town. I also approve of burying the dead under the floor. At least you'll remember where you put them.' David Bowie 'This is an intelligent, provocative book by a distinguished science writer...' Pat Shipman, Nature, Vol 435 'It is a compelling story that should be read by anyone interested in how we came to be what we are.' Nicholas Saunders, New Scientist 'Michael Balter has written the most informative and the most engaging book on an archaeological project I have ever read.' Greg Gatenby, Books in Canada

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About Michael Balter

Michael Balter worked for many years as a political, environmental, and travel writer with hundreds of features in the Los Angeles Times, Travel Leisure, Islands, and the International Herald Tribune. Currently, he is a correspondent for Science and also serves as one of the magazine's chief archaeology and human evolution writers. He lives in Paris, France.

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Table of contents

* Introduction* ""It's Neolithic!""* A Prehistoric Art Gallery* The Dorak Affair* Ian Hodder* Return to Catalhoyuk* On the Surface* At the Trowel's Edge* Dear Diary* The Neolithic Revolution* The Domesticated Human* Fault Lines and Homecomings* Burning Down the House* ""Always Momentary, Fluid and Flexible""* The Long Season* Til Death Us Do Part* Taming the Wild* The Goddess and the Bull* Epilogue

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