Aerial shot of Building 3, June 2002
At Çatalhöyük each building is excavated according to the single context system of excavation and recording with the underlying concept that a building has a life history. In the BACH Area, our aim in analyzing the architectural features and identifying the sequence of depositional events was to construct the history of Building 3 by defining major changes referred to as “phases,” in which a number of depositional events happened in association. Such major events included moving the location of the main oven in the building and repositioning the bins and basins; or the link between burial events under platforms with their major replastering (sometimes with color) and a reconfiguration of the shape and boundary of platforms; or the partitioning of space, not only by horizontally raised platforms but also by vertical walls.
We identified eight phases in the occupation of Building 3. Each phase has the prefix “B3” denoting it as a phase in the history of Building 3 (the main building investigated in the BACH Area). Some major phases are divided into sub-phases with letter suffixes, identified by fewer changes:
- B3.1A–D is a long phase with 4 sub-phases that includes the initial construction and its early history.
- B3.2 identified by major changes in feature configuration and deposits.
- B3.3 identified by the initial burials and architectural changes
- B3.4A–B identified by several burial events, and the increasing partitioning by walls and a screen of the original open space of Building 3.
We also identified a phase (B3.5A) at the end of its life-history comprising its deliberate closure, collapse, and abandonment.
Finally, post-Neolithic activity (Phase B3.5B) comprised several burials of the late Roman period (4th C end AD) Each of these phases has a complex Harris matrix scheme to represent the detailed stratigraphic relations of its units and features.