Çatal Hüyük, Werner Herzog, and Wall Painting.

This reproduction depicts the prehistoric village of Çatal Hüyük in Turkey (7500-5700 BCE) from an aerial perspective. All of the buildings were linked together and entrance was through the roof, so instead of streets on the ground, they were on top of domestic dwellings. According to some archaeologists, the brightly colored triangular form may represent an erupting volcano, Hasan Dağ, located just beyond the village. There is also some speculation that the yellow form is an apotropaic leopard pelt. This may be the oldest known map, but since the original Neolithic painting was found in a house shrine, it may also have some kind of religious significance. 

In Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Herzog points out proto-cinematic drawings in Chauvet Cave, France (32,000 BCE). No ordinary person will ever see these very important Paleolithic paintings, some of the earliest works of art, in person. Thankfully we have this film, which provides something close to the experience


  1. To Jamie's Students:

    Get Psyched!!!

    -Somebody Who Knows Jamie

  2. Hey -- Thanks for putting up the reproduction of the map from Çatal Hüyük -- I had plans several years ago to paint this on a large canvas & I had a copy of the map from Horizon Magazine, but I mislaid the issue and it was driving me batty trying to find a good reproduction rendering of this significant and very cool example of prehistoric art. Nice blog, too!

  3. Thanks for your comment! Your project sounds interesting, I'm glad that I have reunited you with the map. It is marvelous!

  4. Recent archeological evidence suggest that this painting isn't a land scape of a volcano but more likely a stretched leopard pelt. There is a huge amount of symbolism revolving around the leopard at Catalhuyuk. Their art was most likely had an apotropaic purpose rather then as map (or art as we see it today) as some have suggested. Also those shrines are actually homes that people lived in. This is fairly recent research that was published in like 2005.

  5. Interesting! Do you have any idea what kind of protection they might have been using it against? I will have to look into this.
    I do know that the shrines were in the houses.

  6. Hi,

    I wish know if the image available in this page can used in a book.
    I'm from Federal University of Espirito Santo, in Brazil, and wish use this image in a book that be published soon.
    I hope you understand my motives, and I wait an answer.


    Giulliano Kenzo

    1. Giulliano,

      I'm sorry to tell you that this is not my own photograph. I found it online. Best wishes on your book!