A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Iron-Age Woman & Child Were Buried With Turtles
Thursday, February 25, 2016
BISMIL, TURKEY—A burial at Kavuşan Höyük, a mound near the Tigris River, contained the 2,500-year-old remains of a woman aged between 45 and 55 years, and a six- or seven-year-old child. “A broken iron fibula grave good that was placed next to the skull may indicate that the child was a girl,” Rémi Berthon of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and Güriz Kozbe of Batman University in Turkey, wrote in the journal Antiquity. At this time, researchers don’t know if the child and the woman were related, and there’s no evidence of trauma on the bones. “We know that the child and the woman were buried in a short time range because the woman’s skeleton, found just below the child, had not been disturbed when the child’s body was placed into the grave,” Berthon told Discovery News. The grave was surrounded with the remains of butchered turtles, including a spur-thighed tortoise, Euphrates softshell turtles, and Middle Eastern terrapins. “Although the Middle Eastern terrapin is very common in eastern Turkey, this is the first evidence of its use as a grave good. Finding Euphrates soft-shelled turtles in a burial is unprecedented as well,” he added. For more on archaeology in Turkey, go to "In Search of a Philosopher’s Stone."
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