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5,000-Year-Old Tomb Excavated in Turkey

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mesopotamia tomb sacrificesIZMIR, TURKEY—Live Science reports that Brenna Hassett of the Natural History Museum in London, and Haluk Sağlamtimur of Ege University, have excavated a 5,000-year-old burial at the site of Başur Höyük. The burial consists of a tomb containing the remains of two 12-year-old children, an adult whose remains may have come from an earlier burial, and the remains of eight people ranging in age from 11 to 20, whose bodies had been positioned outside the tomb. In an Antiquity article, Hassett and Sağlamtimur suggest these eight people may have been sacrificed, based upon evidence of trauma on two of the skeletons, possibly as “retainers” who would accompany and serve others in the afterlife. The others may have also received wounds that did not leave marks on their bones. “As a grim example, stab wounds are normally aimed at the soft parts of the body, which do not preserve,” Hassett said. The children in the tomb were also accompanied by hundreds of bronze spearheads, while the possible retainers left outside the tomb were buried with textiles, beads, and ceramics. Hassett added that the children within the tomb may have also been sacrificed, but, “[u]nfortunately, preservation wasn’t great inside the chamber,” making it difficult to determine how they died. For more on archaeology in Turkey, go to “Skull Cult at Göbekli Tepe,” which was one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2017.

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