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S U M M A R Y

Çukurkent Neolithic Settlement in Light of New Finds
Süleyman Özkan - Mücella Erdalkıran
The village of Çukurkent is located near the junction of the Beyşehir-Isparta and Hüyük-Doğanhisar intercity roads within the Hüyük district west of Konya (Figs. 1-2). This location attracted many scholars and visitors in the early 20th century, and some finds have been published. For the archaeological world Çukurkent is a slope settlement of the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods located about 1 km. from the village.

Despite numerous surveys, pottery finds have never been published comprehensively. The potsherds presented in detail with this article for the first time include six rims, one bottom, two body fragments with lugs, one lug, and one body fragment, totalling 11 pieces (Figs. 3-4). Four of these shards belong to pots, three are rims and one is a body (Figs. 3, 1-4). The first three examples are typical deep pots with S-profile or vertical walls of the Late Neolithic period of the region. The closest parallels of these pots are known from Yılan Höyük, Kanal Höyük, Erbaba, Hacılar and Höyücek. In addition, three rims and three body fragments with lugs have been collected at Çukurkent (Figs. 3, 5-7; 4, 1-3). Two of the pots have hole mouths (Figs. 3, 5-6) and their parallels are found at Yılan Höyük, Erbaba, Hacılar and Höyücek. Another pot (Fig. 3, 7) has a simple rim and a neck flaring towards the body; its closest parallels are known from Erbaba and Höyücek. In addition, there are body fragments with lugs on them (Fig. 4, 1-3). Their parallels are found at Erbaba, Hacılar and Kanal Höyük. The last example (Fig. 4, 4) is a flat bottom, which may belong to a deep pot or bowl, and its parallels are known from Erbaba and Hacılar.

The clay of Çukurkent pottery is usually buff coloured or light shades of brown; the exceptions are two pieces with dark brown - blackish clay. Pottery examples collected at Çukurkent shows that its pottery is closely related with the pottery of Burdur and its environs, and conforms to the Late Neolithic pottery repertory of the region.

An interesting group of finds from Çukurkent is an assembly of 12 figurines, four of which are of clay and the rest of stone (Figs. 5-8). Nine of these figurines are overweight female figures depicted standing, sitting or reclining, as in the other settlements of the region. Furthermore, there are three heads - two of the type affixed later and one broken off. In general, the figurines from Çukurkent are coarsely worked and look quite plain, as the organs are not rendered in detail. Spread across various museums and collections, some of them have already been published, but they are compiled here altogether.

In addition to clay, the figurines of Çukurkent are made of various stones such as green steatite, marble and limestone. This puts them closer to those from the settlements of the Konya Plain; however, their style is much closer to those from the settlements of the Burdur-Antalya region.

Among other stone items from Çukurkent are one intact slab/pallet, two stone vessel fragments and a grinding stone (Figs. 9-12). The stone vessel fragment with ring base, previously mentioned by Todd, should also be included in this group. Particularly the stone vessels of Çukurkent closely resemble those from Hacılar and Höyücek, and the authors are of the opinion that at least the white marble vessel was imported from the region.

On an important route northeast of Beyşehir Lake, Çukurkent is located at the junction of main roads leading to Isparta, Hüyük, Konya and Beyşehir. Thus it was in contact with the settlement of the Lakes District and Konya Plain. This is also verified by the potsherds, mother goddess figurines, stone vessels and obsidian items collected from the site. Some works from Çukurkent suggest that the site was part of a trade network because there is no raw material source in close proximity. Thus the obsidian would have been imported from Central Anatolia while the marble vessel, whose leg is presented here, was imported from the Lakes District.

A point of discussion regarding Çukurkent is the high number of figurines reflecting influence from two regions. Above all, as proposed before, if Çukurkent were a sacred site, its location was very convenient for the people using the above-mentioned roads. Considering the archaeological evidence from a wider angle, the authors are of the opinion that, like at Höyücek in the Lakes District with which Çukurkent was in contact, there were shrines, or at least such areas, in the houses.

This article has brought together all the published archaeological finds, information and proposals about Çukurkent in order to obtain more satisfactory data on the site. Despite the lack of systematic excavations at the site, archaeological evidence available suggests a Late Neolithic settlement here. The concerned finds reflect the influence of Neolithic settlements from both the Lakes District and the Konya Plain. Former researchers claimed that Çukurkent has strata of the Chalcolithic and EBA periods, but this claim needs to be debated through modern survey methods. Another area of research should cover the items collected from Çukurkent and dispersed to various collections. Thus the cultural structure of the settlement will be more comprehensively understood.


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