Art prompt: Back to beginnings

Coloured pencil and ink go well together, especially in sepia. I decided to test them out in a sketchbook by sketching some artefacts – things that got me started in archaeology and human prehistory that still inspire me. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Catalhoyuk was a game changer for me when I first read about it in the 1990s. The site was discovered in 1958 and was excavated between 1961 and 1965. Those summer seasons of digging revealed a lot about ancient Anatolia that wasn’t previously known. Unfortunately excavations were halted until 1993 due to controversy. In 1993 archaeological excavations reopened and continued to 2018. While it is not the oldest Neolithic site, its excellent state of preservation and long occupation period has facilitated a better understanding of the transition to settled life and how people occupied the spaces within.

The site of Catalhoyuk is a settlement in Anatolia, Turkey. It’s almost continuous occupation spanned a period of almost two thousand years, making it one of the most important and abundant early settlements in human history.

Stepping much further back in time I decided to sketch some of the earliest evidence of stone tool-use. It’s a good way to refresh the memory and practice ink and pencil sketching techniques. I quite like the old school look the sepia colours imbue.

3 thoughts on “Art prompt: Back to beginnings

  1. I really love these sketches – and talking about these tools …
    I’m always wondering how far ancient humans traveled by foot and maybe influenced other people already living in other places. Or if they got the same simple but effective ideas without influencing each other. Or did one group of people at some point travel the whole planet, leaving people in different places over generations?


    1. Hi Mona, thanks for commenting. The sketches were so much fun to do and I’ll be sharing more soon. Great question, by the way. This is a topic of much debate for archaeologists and population geneticists as well as linguists. Which means the answer is complex. Based on genetics and dating of cultural and human remains, we know the populating of the world wasn’t one continuous march across the globe – different regions were settled at different times. We also know few populations remained isolated after the initial diaspora. But sometimes the cultural remains, linguistics and genetics of a region can tell three different stories. They don’t always align to make a nice linear story. Sometimes ancient groups exchanged cultural ideas and objects, but not genes. Sometimes it was the other way around. That’s what makes it so complex and fascinating. Food for thought though!

      Liked by 1 person

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