October 2, 2010

Likely murdered family 8500 years ago in NW Turkey

An intriguing and disturbing finding has been reported in Turkey: five people (two adults and three young children) were found in a shared grave with their hands tied on their backs.

The macabre burial is thought to date to some 8500 years ago (Neolithic/Chalcolithic) and is located in the burial mound of Akçalar, in the province of Bursa, south of the Marmara Sea. The children are thought to be some 3-5 years old in preliminary examination, two of them were found between the adults legs and the third one was hogtied (ankles also tied).

It is natural to think on first sight that we are before the murder of a whole family but researchers warn that it is too early to confirm this. They also doubt between using the terms murder or human sacrifice.

They also make brief mention of the context of the site (town?) of Aktopraklık, which also dates to 8500 years ago, though some nearby settlements are older. 


  1. To be positive, it isn't unprecedented to bind corpses (and do other odd things like sticking bricks in their mouths) post-mortem for reasons related to the burial process.

  2. We'd know 'cause it's in a larger cemetery context (large mound?) Anyhow we should not be surprised of of violence, which is found elsewhere in late Neolithic/Chalcolithic contexts or even in earliest Neolithic in some cases.


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