Goodness, I wish I had computers when I was in school or when I went to Catal Huyuk. How much better prepared I would have been to look for significant things. These are not my photos, I didn't own a camera. I give thanks to Flicker and their Catal Huyuk Album. 
Travelling across a wide plain in south central Turkey I crossed irrigated fields of grain; off in the distance rose a mound covered in native grasses and a few trees. Reaching the mound I went up a pathway to a spot about halfway up with a makeshift wood frame covered with plastic. Under the tent scores of archeologists and workers dug holes into the soil to excavate a settlement called Catal Huyuk a city dating back to the Mesolithic (c 10,000 – c 5,500 B.C.), Middle Stone Age. Catal Huyuk began to be  developed in Anatolia in about 7200 B.C. The site was occupied from about 6300-5500 B.C.
The archeologists said there were more than 20 layers of villages, one built one on top of the other. To build a new house, the occupants tore down wall and threw litter into the hole until the ground was level and a new mud structure grow on top. 
catalhoyuk's photostream Flicker looking over the plain 
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A village of about 6000 people lived there during Neolithic Period 5, in fortifications of linked rectangular mud-brick buildings. Food was mostly hunted or gathered, but the inhabitants also raised animals and stored surplus grains. It was a closely packed urban settlement, without streets. Residents accessed main rooms, each about 20x13 ft., through roofs. They covered lime-plastered floors with reed mats. Walls of the main rooms had painted red-colored panels. Built-in benches and platforms lined walls; small niches had ovens carved into them. Figurines and elaborate wall paintings of birds and animal skulls covered several rooms.
Burial practices included putting a dead body on a flat piece of earth to allow vultures and critters to clean flesh and muscle from bones. When cleaned and sun dried, they stored bones in benches inside the residences. Examinations of the skeletal remains revealed inhabitants suffered from hyperostosis. Maybe that's why the city was abandoned. 

"people of Çatal Hüyük got their protein from other sources than animal proteins, especially seeds and nuts. However, while their protein intake was adequate, the lack of animal protein in their diets led to a severe lack of iron, leading to a high incidence of porotic hyperostosis. In addition to the protein sources, diets also included an abundance of cereals, including barley, einkorn, and emmer; many cereals make it more difficult for the body to absorb iron. High cereal intake, as well as lack of animal protein, made for a perfect condition to foster an epidemic of porotic hyperostosis in the population at Çatal Hüyük.

"Another important aspect of this region was the presence of Falciparum malaria, the parasite that causes malaria. By its nature, malaria, similar to other parasitic infections, contributes to iron deficiency anemia. Because early farming practices created marshy environments, it enabled mosquitoes to thrive, thereby increasing the rates of malaria infections in humans (Angel 1966: 760).

Iron Deficiency Anemia: Does Agriculture Really Improve Overall Hea...

catalhoyuk's photostream Flicker

 

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Heh, oops.  Yeah, we had a few stumbles, along the way to civilization.

Yes, too bad they didn't know about nutrition and diseases. Well, we have come a long way in those areas, but alas, we still conduct deadly wars and use our powers to destroy and maim. This is the great "Filter" Ruth wrote about. 

Unfortunately, at many points in history, the habit of waging wars of conquest and extermination has only proven negative for those societies that don't engage in wars of conquest and extermination.  Social Darwinism kind of sucks sometimes, in small-scale societies.  We haven't had much time with global powers, for the memes to evolve.

"people of Çatal Hüyük got their protein from other sources than animal proteins, especially seeds and nuts. However, while their protein intake was adequate, the lack of animal protein in their diets led to a severe lack of iron, leading to a high incidence of porotic hyperostosis. In addition to the protein sources, diets also included an abundance of cereals, including barley, einkorn, and emmer; many cereals make it more difficult for the body to absorb iron. High cereal intake, as well as lack of animal protein, made for a perfect condition to foster an epidemic of porotic hyperostosis in the population at Çatal Hüyük.

I don't know about the particular situation of those people, but the diet of ancient peoples can be analyzed by examining fossilized tooth plaque.  Contrary to common ideas, Neanderthals ate mostly plant food.  The tooth plaque of various more recent Homo sap. teeth has been examined and it is also mostly from plant food. 

An interesting blog at Scientific American about the real Paleolithic diet:  Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians

Plants don't run away, so hunter-gatherers have generally gotten most of their food from plants.  It wasn't easy to kill large game with Stone Age tools. 

It's interesting that this mentions cereal grains though, because people with celiac disease (a kind of gluten intolerance) do have problems absorbing many nutrients, including iron.  Iron deficiency is a common symptom of celiac disease. 

It also seems likely that when cereals first became a staple, people were less adapted to gluten so they had problems.  Celiac disease is less common in populations where cereal grains have been grown for a long time, such as in the Middle East. 

About 10% of people have a reaction to gluten via the innate immune system.  The innate immune reaction to gluten may imply that gluten is somewhat bad for people in general.  

If a vegan diet involves consuming more gluten, it could be damaging.  Gluten has certainly been a powerful toxin for me!  with the susceptibility to autoimmune diseases and allergies that I inherited.

Interesting read.  My wife is a vegetarian...not a Vegan, thank the non-existent diety...and it's easier for me to eat what she does.  But I'm beginning to show signs of an iron deficiency...I'm a regular blood donor and advocate of the practice for everyone who doesn't have a medical reason not to...and the last two times I was rejected from donating because of my low iron level.  

My question is at what point and what effect the domestication of animals...penned cows and chickens are a lot easier to kill than mammoths...has had on the development of city/states from hunter/gatherer societies?

Thanks for all the comments and ideas expressed here. Lots of questions arise. Is it not interesting that we can look to what some call, "the oldest human development in the world" to help us understand human flourishing. For whatever reason Catal Huyuk did not flourish and possible causes of failure can be found.
As to vegan diets, so many of my friends have tried but became anemic. I am a carnivore, not bragging or complaining, just stating my reality. I have always had gardens, wherever I lived, and love fresh fruits and vegetables. I limit my meat protein to about three ounces per serving at dinner. Breakfast is usually hummus and Dave's Killer bread covered with copious amounts of seeds. Lunch is usually left over dinner.
For those of you who have successfully mastered vegetarian diets, do you have some advise to share?

For those of you who have successfully mastered vegetarian diets, do you have some advise to share?

Joan, personally I check my nutrient intakes with a computer program.  I take a multimineral so I don't worry about minerals.  I've never become anemic.  Some suggestions: 

- the standard vegan diet is heavy on food allergens:  gluten, corn, soy, legumes in general.  Getting a blood test for celiac disease might be a good idea for anyone; in some countries they screen everybody for celiac disease.   Even if that's negative, if you have mysterious health problems like I did, it might be a good idea to try a hypoallergenic elimination diet and food challenges.  If you find yourself developing an unaccountable love for a particular food, and it's a major food allergen, that's a red flag that you may have an allergy to the food.  For example, this guy, who was a corn maniac and had chronic blisters on his hands, found the corn was causing them.  I was a milk maniac,  I was eating about 6 cups of milk/day!

- There are a couple of vegan RD's (registered dieticians) online who help vegans eat right.  Jack Norris runs the veganhealth.org website, which has lots of good info.  Also Ginny Messina runs theveganrd.com, which also seems good.   Jack Norris and Ginny Messina wrote a book together, Vegan For Life, which is probably quite good.  

- It's hard to eat right longterm on a raw vegan diet, I'd avoid that. 

 Luara , thank you so much for your information and references. It is a place to start. Several of my family members have celiac disease that they seem to be able to master with selected ingredients. 

Celiac disease is genetic so if you're related to them you might have it too, or a milder gluten sensitivity.  Celiac disease can be asymptomatic, but it has serious consequences like increasing the risk of lymphoma and GI tract cancer and osteoporosis.  One has to get the blood tests for celiac disease while eating a gluten-loaded diet.  There's a simple inexpensive blood test for endomysial antibodies, or there's more extensive testing, like for IgA and IgG antibodies to gluten, that might give an idea if one is gluten sensitive also. 

If someone has celiac disease and they start eating more gluten when they turn vegetarian or vegan, it might aggravate their symptoms. 

I did have symptoms of anemia right before I quit gluten.  I was eating meat at the time and I started taking an iron supplement also when I had the anemia symptoms, so I might have self-treated anemia.  I suddenly started having a lot of celiac symptoms actually, not just symptoms of anemia. 

And now for something completely different...

Has anyone noticed how Catal Huyuk is phonetically similair to H.P. Lovecrafts C'thulua?

I was leaning towards Catholic, myself.

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