A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
2,700-Year-Old Skeleton Unearthed at Ayanis Castle
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
VAN PROVINCE, TURKEY—According to a Live Science report, the well-preserved remains of a person who may have been killed by a fall some 2,700 years ago have been uncovered in eastern Turkey at Ayanis Castle. The fortress was built by the Urartians, who ruled an area covering what are now Armenia, western Iran, and eastern Turkey from the ninth to sixth centuries B.C. Mehmet Işikli of Atatürk University said that scholars have thought that the kingdom of Urartu collapsed after an earthquake and subsequent fire. The discovery of this skeleton, he explained, could serve as evidence to support the occurrence of such a disaster. The person had been wearing jewelry and carrying seals and a double-sided cuneiform tablet at the time of death. Analysis of the remains and translation of the text on the cuneiform tablet could offer clues to the individual’s identity and role in Urartian society. For more on the Urartians, go to "The Price of Plunder."
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