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At Çatalhöyük there was no hierarchy, for there are no spaces here where administrative decisions
could have been taken, or areas where such decisions could have been announced to the people, or
indeed any streets to bring them to such places. There are no gods but rather depictions of ‘fat
women’ with large bodies symbolizing power and fertility, which further cemented the belief that a
matriarchal era was experienced here. But as the excavations progressed minds were confounded.
Men lived longer than women and were taller. But there are no signs of a ruling class that ate more
or better than the others. Compared to men, women had more tooth decay, but their teeth are worn
down in the same way, and the time men and women spent in the house and the tasks they
performed were almost exactly the same: they made tools, ground wheat, kneaded bread, and
prepared to lead a family. More than an age of matriarchy, these findings heralded the existence of
equality between the sexes. Among the skulls that were passed down ceremonially from generation
to generation, or, more precisely, from house to house, there are those of both men and women,
indicating that both sexes could be ‘head’ of their family or line.


Once upon a time we all lived as equals.

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