History : Mar-Apr 2019
18 MARCH/APRIL 2019 TOP: BRUNO COSSA/FOTOTECA 9X12. RIGHT: MAURICIO ABREU/AWL-IMAGES Mountain or Man-Eater? HASAN DAĞI, A DORMANT, 10,500- FOOT-HIGH VOLCANO IN TURKEY’S CENTRAL MASSIF, WAS ACTIVE WHEN ÇATALHÖYÜK WAS INHABITED. A FAMOUS MURAL from Çatalhöyük shows a large polka-dotted figure above a series of boxy shapes (right). It was once thought to depict a leopard skin, but researchers now believe the spotted form in the upper part of the drawing is showing a volcanic eruption. Hasan Daği, a now dormant volcano, is situated 80 miles north- east of Çatalhöyük. The mountain was a rich source of obsidian, the volcanic rock prized by Çatalhöyük’s ancient residents for making tools and mirrors. In 2013 volcanologist Axel Schmitt proved that Hasan Daği erupted nearly 9,000 years ago, which coincides with the age of the building in which the mural was painted. Schmitt believes this wall painting could be considered the world’s oldest map because it shows not only the active volcano but also an overhead view of the village below.