SNAKE FIGURES IN THE PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC PERIOD

Bahattin ÇELİK

The snake is generally associated with the world of the dead in almost all faiths. The snake features chthonian property in majority of the mythologies as its poison can be lethal and as the snake molts its skin. That is, the snake represents the death as well as immortality. The Neolithic societies inhabited the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey during Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period depicted snake figures intensively on the stones, vessels and bones. Yet, we are not sure why such societies depicted the snake figures. When we look at the animals depicted on the pillars at Göbekli Tepe, we can observe that the livestock exploited by the societies of that era, such as cattle, gazelles, donkeys, pigs, foxes as well as the wild animals that are dangerous for the people of that era, such as scorpion, snake, spider and the lion were depicted. The figures carved on the stone vessels and bones discovered at the graves (burial sites) in Körtik Tepe also depict both beneficial and depredatory animals. This study will deliberate the sites where the snake reliefs were discovered until this day as well as the snake reliefs recently discovered in the region.

Keywords: Snake, Snake Depiction Technique, Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period, Cult Buildings, Pillars