February 21, 2012

From the Net: 'Evidence of Massacre in Bronze Age Turkey' (Past Horizons)

Determining social relationships between populations in the past can be difficult. Trade can be inferred from evidence such as pottery with foreign designs, or non-local foods. Warfare can be determined from the presence of mass graves or cemeteries of adult males displaying trauma, or weaponry showing signs of frequent use. However, trauma is not always a sign of conflict with external populations. It can also reflect the normal struggles of daily life or even interpersonal violence within the community.

Skeletal collections with trauma found from the Neolithic period in Anatolia suggest that injury was caused by daily activities and lifestyle, rather than systematic violence. However, shortly after this period there is an increase in trauma associated with violence that may suggest an increase in stress within and between populations in this area. In order to examine this conclusion, a new article by Erdal (2012) looked at the skeletal remains of a potential massacre site from the Early Bronze Age in Turkey.

... full story at Past Horizons.


  1. I think that this is the same collection of bones that produced an interesting ancient DNA analysis published in late 2010 and discused at Dienkes:


  2. It is at least the same site, although the dates mentioned here are wider.

    It is the same narrow area of West Kurdistan as earlier Gölbeki Tepe and Tell Halaf: a most productive region in archaeological and prehistorical-cultural terms.

    It is outside of the Hittite area, except at its most extreme expansion. That region would later be the center of Mitanni in fact. Hurrian area in other words.

  3. There is a rumor that a lot of people were killed in Turkey 1915 - 1923 as well. And so it goes. For what they were... we are... indeed

  4. It'd be nice, Joy, if you kept that debate to other spaces more focused on present day.

  5. No big deal. That's why I split the blog in two. I addressed the Armenian genocide last time in this entry (Dec 2011). Feel free to discuss there.

  6. IIRC, the bones are identified with the late Akkadian Empire around the time of its collapse in favor of the Kassites (who would later fall subject to the Mittani).

  7. Thanks, Andrew. Interesting historical contextualizing.


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