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Early Bronze Age Burial Customs in Western Anatolia

Author(s): Tamara Stech Wheeler

Source: American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 78, No. 4 (Oct., 1974), pp. 415-425
Published by: Archaeological Institute of America
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American Journal of Archaeology.
Early Bronze Age Burial Customs in Western

PLATES 84-85

The typical western Anatolian burial custom in plundered cemeteries in the Burdur and Balikesir
the third millennium B.C. was pithos burial in areas. (See ill. i for locations of all sites mentioned
extramural cemeteries. General characteristics of in the text.) Results of the Bryn Mawr College
the custom were defined by the excavations of excavations at Karata?-Semayiik4in the highlands
Gaudin at Yortan,1 and Bittel2 and K6kten3 at of Lycia have provided specific details on each
Babak6y, as well as through surface observationsof phase of the burial procedure since over 500 tombs






1 M. Collignon, "Note sur les fouilles de M. Paul Gaudin to acknowledge a great debt of gratitude to Machteld J. Mel-
dans la Necropole de Yortan en Mysie," CRAI 190o, 810-17. link of Bryn Mawr College who encouraged and helped me in
2 K. Bittel, "Ein Graberfeld der Yortankulturbei Babak6y," every phase of this work-excavations at Karata?-Semayiikand
AOF I3 (1939-194I) 1-28. the preparationof the dissertationand this article. I also wish
3 K. Kokten, "1949 ylll tarihoncesi ara?tlrmalar," Belleten to thank Marie-Henriette Carre Gates, Charles W. Gates, III,
XIII (1949) 812-I4. Marshall J. Becker, Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway and Jonathan
4The research on which this article is based was done as Wheeler for reading this manuscriptand making many valuable
part of my dissertation,The Early Bronze Age Burial Customs comments.
of Karatas-Semayuk,presented to Bryn Mawr College. I wish
were cleared,a number sufficientto insure a reliable contemporary habitation debris. Two were in the
statistical sampling. The Karatas evidence is com- Pekmez area,14the other on Ku?kalesi.1 The dis-
plemented by the continuing study of prehistoric tance between them may indicate a sizable extra-
burials found on the shores of the Gygean Lake mural cemetery. The Early Bronze Age cemetery
near Sardis,5 while the cist cemetery at Iasos in of Midas City is probably extramural as it lies at
Caria6has added a new aspect to the study of west- the foot of the acropolis.l6
ern Anatolian burial customs which may now be At Karatas, all children were interred in the
put into perspective. extramural cemetery, in individual jars or in large
pithoi together with adults. The rule of extramural
child burial may not have been so strict at other
Although the settlements of Yortan, Babak6y, sites. No small burial jars, which would have con-
and the Gygean Lake shore have not been exca- tained the remains of children, are mentioned in
vated, the known portions of their cemeteries are Collignon's report on the excavations at Yortan.
not located in or among houses. At Ovabaylndlr Only one jar suitable for a single child burial was
near Yortan, house foundations dating to the Early found at Babakoy.17Since the settlements of Yortan
Bronze Age were investigated by Akurgal, who and Babak6y have not been explored, no further
also discovered several infant burials in jars among comment can be made on the placement of chil-
the foundations.7 Pithos sherds observed in nearby dren's tombs. One of the five tombs at Eski Bahk-
fields were probably the remains of a topograph- hane on the Gygean Lake shore contained the
ically separate, extramural cemetery.8The Karata? remains of children; a second small jar held no
cemetery is certifiably extramural, although certain bones but its size implies that it was used for an
sections of the cemetery were placed among aban- infant or child burial.18Early Bronze Age settle-
doned houses, and in one area settlement precedes ments have been located around the Gygean Lake;
and follows funerary usage; at no time however they each seem to have separatecemeteries and the
were tombs in or among occupied houses. inhabitants of one large site may have used the
The Kusura cemetery slightly predates the bulk cemetery at Eski Balikhane.l9
of the excavated settlement, but the distinction be- Although the burial of some children was intra-
tween funeraryand domestic areasis still pertinent.9 mural, it may be inferred that as a rule interments
Three tombs were found in the Kusura settlement, of adults were made in extramural cemeteries such
but only one, that of a child, was contemporary as those of Yortan, Babakoy, Eski Balikhane and
with the houses among which it was placed.10 Karatas. The combined evidence from these four
The only tombs excavated at Beycesultan were cemeteries can be used to describe the custom of
intramural jar burials of infants in Levels XXIX,1 pithos burial. The burial jars, ranging in height
XXII12and XVIIa,13the last a stratum representing from 0.20 m. at Karatas to 2.00 m. at Yortan and
a lapse in occupation of the "shrine"area. Although 2.15 m. at Karatas, were placed in earth pits on
little of the Early Bronze Age settlement was exca- their sides with rims at a slightly higher level than
vated, it is likely that most tombs were extramural bases,probablyto facilitate introduction of the body
in this period. The pithos burials found in Early and its possessions and gifts (pl. 84, fig. I). The
Bronze Age strata at Aphrodisias are isolated from pithos rim usually opened to the east, the direction
5 D.G. Mitten and G. Yiigriim, "The Gygean Lake, 1969: 14 B. Kadish, "Excavationsof PrehistoricRemains at
Eski Ballkhane, Preliminary Report," HSCP 75 (1971) 191-95. disias, 1967," AIA 73 (I969) 63; B. Kadish, "Excavationsof
6 D. Levi, "Le due Prehistoric Remains at Aphrodisias, 1968 and 1969," AIA 75
prime campagne di scavo a Iasos,"
ASAtene 23-24 (196I-I962) 555-71; D. Levi, "Le campagne (I971) I26.
1962-64 a Iasos," ASAtene 27-28 (I965-1966) 505-46. 15 B. Kadish, AJA 73 (supra n.
14) 52.
7 E. Akurgal, "Yortankultur-Siedlung in Ovabayindir bei 16 H. Cambel, "Frikya'da, Midas ?ehri yanlnda bulunan
Balikesir," Anadolu III (1958) I64. prehistorik mezar," IV. Tiurt Tarih Kongresi (Ankara 1952)
8 Ibid.,
I57; Abb. i on I58. 228-29; A. Gabriel, Phrygie II (Paris 1952) 2; C.H.E. Haspels,
9 W. Lamb, "Excavations at Kusura near Afyon Karahisar," The Highlands of Phrygia I (Princeton 1971) 285 n. 3.
Archaeologia 86 (1936) pl. I. 17 K. Bittel, AOF 13 (supra n. 2) 9; Abb. 14 on 19.
0 Ibid., Io. 18 D.G. Mitten and G. Yiigriim, HSCP
75 (supra n. 5) 192.
11 S. Lloyd and J. Mellaart, Beycesultan I (London 1962) 23. 19 D.G. Mitten, "Prehistoric
Survey of Gygean Lake and
12 Ibid., 26. Excavations at Ahlatli Tepecik," BASOR I91 (1968) Io.
13 Ibid., 33.
of the sunrise.20After the jar was placed in the since the individualsfrequentlyrepresentseveral
cutting, the body was contracted on its side on the age groupsand both sexes.Multipleburialsin one
floor of the inclined burial jar and tomb gifts tomb are not anomalousin a cemeterywhere the
-jewellery, weapons, tools, figurines and pottery- majorityof intermentsweresingle;reuseof a tomb
put in an appropriate position (pl. 84, fig. 2). At could have been partly a matter of convenience,
Karata?and Eski Ballkhane, the deceased wore his given a certainspan of time after each burial to
or her jewellery to the grave and sometimes held allow for decomposition.Tomb markerswere thus
tools or weapons; pots were placed close to the a necessityin a cemeterywheretombscouldbe used
torso (pl. 84, fig. 3). The position of tomb goods for severalburials,to directthe familyto its burial
is not given in the Yortan report and most of the jar. Successiveburialis also attestedat Babak6y22
Babak6y tombs were plundered; so similar obser- and Ahlatll Tepecikon the GygeanLake.23
vations about the contents of the tombs cannot be This outlineof burialprocedureis valid for the
made. After the body and possessions were placed four majorcemeterycomplexes,with some minor
in the tomb, the mouth of the burial jar was closed, variations.Although the tombs excavatedat Eski
usually with a single stone slab (pl. 84, fig. 4), al- Balhkhane and thoseobservedat severalothersites
though at Karata? a preference is shown for a on the GygeanLake shorewere pithoi, some cists
variety of blocking materials-sherds of both small were dug at nearbyAhlatli Tepecik.24Cists out-
vessels and pithoi, stones and substantial portions numberpithoi at this site, and are certifiablyof
of other vessels (pl. 85, fig. 5) as well as stone slabs. Early Bronze Age date on the basis of ceramic
Additional small pots were sometimes placed contents comparableto the Yortan material.At
among the blocking materials, a practice known Babak6y,severalcists were found in the cemetery
from Yortan21 and Karatas (pl. 85, fig. 6). The field. Their datingis howeveruncertainsincethey
earth pit was then filled to the level of the cemetery were not placed among the pithoi25and contain
field. no tomb gifts. Accordingto Bittel, nothing pre-
Since the cemeteries were laid out neatly, with vents dating them to the late Roman or early
the pithoi in rough rows and little overlapping of Byzantineperiod.26The one stonebuilt tomb and
tombs, each tomb was probably distinguished by a a few inhumationsin the Karata?cemeteryare
marker on the field surface. Such markers, in the contemporarywith the pithos burials;their pres-
form of stone circles which may have enclosed ence does not detract from the fact that the
low mounds, have been found only at Karata? predominantburialtype was the pithos.The elab-
(pl. 85, fig. 7); they were probably destroyed at orate built tomb may have been the result of a
other sites before any detailed observation took communityeffortfor a specialcitizen,whoseburial
place, since a cemetery is usually noticed when place was made distinctivein orderto emphasize
tombs are exposed by weathering or plowing, his unique status,while the earthburialsmay be
therefore after markers have disappeared. viewed as the work of pooror hurriedpeoplewith
At Karatas, one-quarter of the tombs contained the desireto conformto custominsofaras possible.27
successive multiple interments, proved by the dis- Burial types other than jars may have existed in
articulatedyet neatly stacked skeletal remains of all small numbersin other westernAnatolianceme-
individuals in the tomb except the last one buried. teries;the archaeological evidenceon this point is
Although the relationship among the inhabitants of by no meanscomplete.Pithosburialwas however
a single tomb is now being determined by skeletal the dominantcustomand may be called a typical
analysis, in the interim it is reasonable to view traitof a westernAnatolianculturalcomplex.
tombs containing multiple burials as family vaults The Kusura cemeteryis usually consideredas
20 Cf. J.W. Gruber, "Patterning in Death in a Late Pre- teries.
historic Village in Pennsylvania," American Antiquity 36 21 M.
Collignon, CRAI I9oI (supra n. i) 814.
(1971) 64-76; A.A. Saxe, "Social Dimensions of Mortuary 22 K. Bittel, AOF 13 (supra n. 2) Abb. 4 and 5 on 6.
Practicesin a Mesolithic Population from Wadi Halfa, Sudan," 23 D.G. Mitten, BASOR 191 (supra n. I9) 7-8.
in Approaches to the Social Dimensions of Mortuary Practices, 24 Ibid., 7-9.
James A. Brown, ed. (Memoirs of the Society for American 25 K. Bittel, AOF 13 (supra n. 2) Abb. 3, A and B, on 5.
Archaeology, No. 25, Washington, D.C. 1971) 48-50. Similar 26 Ibid., Io.
studies about the effect of shifts in the direction of the sunrise 27 The built tomb and inhumations at Karatas will be dis-
during the course of the year on the orientation of individual cussed in detail in the final excavation report.
tombs have not yet been made for western Anatolian ceme-
another manifestation of the western Anatolian goods a feature of contemporaryfashion; but these
custom of pithos burial, but it differs from Karatas, hypotheses cannot be substantiated,since no other
Babakoy and Yortan in that tomb types are mixed cemetery of EB I date has been found in the west.
in the excavated portion of the cemetery which may The alternative is to view Kusura as a cemetery
have been only a small part of the whole.28In the intermediate between two sets of burial customs-
Kusura cemetery ceramic containersoutnumber cist the uniform pattern of western Anatolia and the
and earth burials, but some of the jars are unusual mixed burial practices of central Anatolia in the
compared to the pithoi in other western Anatolian third millennium (see Appendix I).
cemeteries.There are four true pithoi, three pseudo- Results from new excavations therefore confirm
pithos burials (two halves of a single jar bisected that in western Anatolia burials were usually placed
longitudinally and placed lengthwise over the in pithoi in extramural cemeteries. Some child
body) and one sherd burial.29The largest jar at burials, although in jars, were exempt from the
Kusura is 1.40 m. in height and the rest around rule of extramural placement. Intramural burial of
I.oo m. Pithoi at other sites in western Anatolia children at sites with known or presumed extra-
may be taller, over 2.00 m. at Karatas and about mural cemeteries is documented at Kusura, Beyce-
2.00 m. at Yortan and Babakoy. Perhaps the potters sultan, and Ovabayindlr,and might be inferred for
at Kusura could not make such large jars. Yortan and Babakoy.
In Kusura tombs in which the position of the
skeleton can be determined, the head is to the west THE AEGEAN COAST AND OFFSHORE ISLANDS
at the base of the pithos;30such a position is never The mainland of Anatolia and the Aegean
found at Yortan, Babakoy or Karatas where the islands must have been in active contact in pre-
head is always to the east. No multiple burials were historic times but the archaeological evidence is at
found in the Kusura tombs. Objects in the tombs
present too scanty to allow much more than
consist only of small vessels-cups, jugs and pitch-
speculation on this point. The data now available
ers-while true pithos cemeteries contain a wider indicate that burial customs on Anatolia's Aegean
range of material. Tomb goods were usually placed coast and offshore islands received influences from
behind the skul131rather than in front of the torso
both the western highlands of Asia Minor and the
as at Karatas, Eski Balikhane and Babakoy.
Basic similarities between Kusura and other Cycladic islands.
In the southern part of this geographical zone,
western Anatolian cemeteries indicate that certain
the majority of excavated tombs are at Iasos where
features were common to extramuralcemeteries.At
a uniform burial custom prevails. All the tombs are
Kusura, the tombs are laid out in an orderly fashion
with no overlapping,32implying that markers were stone cists, built either of stone slabs or field stones.
also used here. Orientation of the burial jar rims A rectangular box formed of four slabs placed on
was generally to the east, in line with the custom edge is standard, while ovoid, trapezoidal, semi-
in true pithos cemeteries. circular, polygonal, and round cists also occur.35
The typological position of the Kusura cemetery The appearance of the Iasos cemetery is regular;
is difficult to ascertain.It is probablyEB I in date33 the tombs are aligned in rows with spaces between
and thus precedes the Yortan-Babak6ytype ceme- each tomb and its neighbors.36Forty of the Iasos
teries which may be assigned to EB II.34 Bisected cists are oriented along a roughly east-west axis,37
jar and sherd burials might be early forms of pithos although deviation from the usual orientation is
burial, the size of burial jars may be limited by the fairly frequent and often radical. Of the eighty-five
level of technology, and the lack of variety in tomb tombs excavated, sixteen contain the skeletons of
28 W. Lamb, Archaeologia86
(supra n. 9) pl. I; 55. 37 Ibid. The orientation of each tomb is not always given
29 Ibid., 55. in the text. On the basis of the plan cited here, the following
30Ibid., 6I-63: Tombs 3, 6, 9, II, I2 and I3. orientations were observed: east-west, 40 tombs; northwest-
31 Ibid.: Tombs 5, 6, 8 and I4. southeast, 24 tombs; northeast-southwest, I2 tombs; north-
32 Ibid., fig. 25. south, 2 tombs. Three (46, 54 and 64) are round so have no
33 M.J. Mellink, "Anatolian Chronology," in Chronologiesin particularorientation and three (5, 38 and 52) are ruined. Ac-
Old World Archaeology, R.W. Ehrich, ed. (Chicago 1965) II4. cording to the plan, two orientations are given incorrectly in
34 Ibid. the text: 5I, which the text says is east-west, should be north-
35 D. Levi, ASAtene 27-28 (supra n. 6) 533. east-southwest and 48 which is east-west, but called northeast-
36 Ibid., fig. I35. southwest in the text.
more than one person.38That the tombs were coast, one which is peripheral to two well estab-
reopenedto receivea secondburialratherthanused lished sets of burial procedures.The burials found
for the simultaneousburialof two personsis proved at several island sites strengthen this hypothesis.
by the positionof the bones.Usuallythe skeletonof Four pithos burials found in the lower levels of the
the firstbody buriedwas pushedto one side of the Asklepieion on Kos44 are like those in western
cist so its bones are disarticulated,but the second Anatolian cemeteries, in that they contain suc-
skeletonis found articulatedin a contractedposi- cessive burials and tomb gifts. Among these burial
tion.39Such Iasos cists were thereforeconsidered jars, however, was a round cist-a different tomb
family vaultssinceall boneswere left in the tomb. type in the same archaeological context. The mix-
The Iasos cists are similarto the cist gravesof ture of tomb types takes a different form in the
EarlyCycladiccemeteriesin theirform, theirposi- Early Bronze Age levels of the Samian Heraion.
tion in an extramuralcemetery,and the frequent Two pithoi, each containing a child burial, are
use of a single slab for a cover,40but severalim- enclosed in individual pits neatly lined with flat
portantdifferencesindicatethat,in respectto burial stones45-a combination of cist and pithos to form
customsas well as geography,Iasosstandsin a po- one tomb. The burials otherwise are normal when
sition intermediatebetween the islands and the compared to those in western Anatolia, with jar
Anatolianhighlands.Doro Levi notesthata variety rims covered, skeletons contracted, and tomb gifts
of cist shapesis not as commonin the Cycladesas placed inside and outside the burial jars. Rectangu-
it is at Iasos,41wherevariationsmay representlocal lar stone cists occur in a Troy V context in the
adaptations.Easterlyorientationof the Iasostombs Heraion,4 suggesting that, although mainland and
is common enough to suggest that it formed a set island burial types were combined in an unusual
partof the burialcustom;Cycladictombshave no manner for some child burials, the stone cist may
standardorientation,but the topographyof each have been the regular burial container.
site may have been a factorin determiningalign- Extramural cemeteries, like the one at Iasos, may
ment.42Cycladic tombs rarely contain multiple have existed outside the third millennium settle-
successive burials;43 at Iasos almost 20% of the ments at the Heraion and the Asklepieion. The
tombs have more than one occupant. custom of extramural burial was strong in the
The similarities between burial procedures at Cyclades and in western Anatolia and presumably
Iasos and in inland western Anatolia are striking in would have been so in the intermediate area. The
the face of an important basic difference-burial few tombs found at the Asklepieion are probably
was made in jars in the highlands and in cists at extramural since they are not associated with con-
lasos. Cemeteriesin both areas were extramuraland temporary habitation. No systematic program of
were laid out following an orderly plan, suggesting trenching around the periphery of the Heraion
that tomb markers were also used at Iasos. Orien- was instigated, so it is possible that a cemetery
tation of the Iasos tombs is not as orthodox as that might be located away from the sea on high ground,
of western Anatolian pithoi, but it is to a certain given the ancient and modern preference for ele-
extent regular. Placement of the bodies in a con- vated cemetery locations.
tracted position and the presence of multiple suc- The northern section of Turkey's Aegean coast
cessive burials also suggest that some burial pro- probably shows its preference in the matter of
cedures were common to the western coast and burial types through the few child burials in jars
interior of Anatolia. found at Troy47and Thermi.48The small number
Iasos is probably a typical site of the southern of burials and the lack of adult interments found in
38 Tombs I, 2, 3, I2, 13, i6, I7, 19, 28, 32, 36, 41, 44, 66, Edgar, "PrehistoricTombs at Pelos," BSA 3 [I896-I897] 40);
83 and 85. Paros-several of 5 tombs (E.A. Varoucha, "Kykladikoi
39 For example: ASAtene 23-24 (supra n. 6) fig. 87 on 559. Taphoi tis Parou," ArchEph 1926, Ioo).
40 Ibid., 44D. Levi, "Scavi e richerche a Coo, I935-I943," BdA 35
561; fig. I62.
41 Ibid.,
533. ( 950) 323-24.
42 C. Doumas, The N.P. Goulandris Collection of Early 45 V. Milojici, Samos I (Bonn 1961) 6, Io-I2.
Cycladic Art (New York I969) 14 and n. 13. 46 Ibid., 25.
43 Syros-- of 600 tombs excavated (Ch. Tsountas, "Kykla- 47 C.W. Blegen et al., Troy I (Princeton 1950) 37, 94-95,
dika," ArchEph I899, 83-84); Amorgos, Paros, Antiparos and 130, 207 and 315.
48 W. Lamb, Excavations at Thermi in Lesbos (Cambridge
Dhespotikon-7 of I90 tombs (Ch. Tsountas, "Kykladika,"
ArchEph I898, I43-44); Pelos-several of 20 tombs (C.C. 1936) II, 28.
theseextensivelyexcavatedsitesindicatethat extra- new information on burial customs. Dr. J. Law-
mural cemeteriesremainundiscoverednearby.At rence Angel of the Smithsonian Institution is in
Troy, the searchfor an extramuralcemeterywas the process of analysing the ancient population of
prolongedand frustrating.Schliemannand Dorp- Karata?,so only tentative archaeologicalconclusions
feld found no EarlyBronzeAge tombswithin the can be reached at present. When the archaeological
site,so the Cincinnatiexpeditionorganizedexplora- and physical anthropological data are correlated,
Trenchesweremadeon the
tion for the cemetery.49 we will gain insight into the reasons for selection of
lower north and west slopes of the mound and certain tomb gifts (i.e. how the age and/or sex of
south and east of the mound on a broadplateau. the deceased determined what accompanied him to
Every season from I932 to I936 included a program the tomb), into the problem of "family"tombs and
of tomb research, a patient effort rewarded by the "family" burial plots, and eventually into the social
discovery of the Troy VI cremation cemetery near structure of the Karata? village by determining if
the south edge of the plateau. Most of the area the location and equipment of the tombs reflect a
around the mound of Troy was well explored,but a social hierarchyor lack of one.
high point southeast of the mound was not exca- An example of the manner in which skeletal
vated.50A further search for an Early Bronze Age analysis may be used for cultural reconstruction is
cemetery might be made in this direction. seen at Ali?ar in central Anatolia. No single burial
The Aegean coast and islands reveal a mixture of custom was practiced by all the inhabitants of
Anatolian and Aegean burial customs, with each Ali?ar; although all the known tombs are intra-
site making an independent choice of procedures mural, jar burials, earth burials, and cists are repre-
and types. The pithos burials found on Kos would sented among them. Of the forty-nine tombs which
not be incongruous in a western Anatolian ceme- date to the third millennium B.C., including those
tery, while the hybrid pithos-cists of the Samian of the "Copper Age"53 and the "Early Bronze
Heraion are the most striking result of peripheral Age,"54 thirty-one are jar burials. Fourteen jars
adaptation. The mixture of customs takes a dif- contain the remains of adult males; two, adults of
ferent form at Iasos where burials were made undetermined sex; six, infants and children; nine,
according to western Anatolian procedures in Cy- individuals of undetermined sex and age.55Adult
cladic-type tombs. The north, in terms of burial females were apparently never buried in jars, but
customs, may have been more closely related to the rather were inhumed in cists or plain earth. Some
interior of western Anatolia. males were also buried in cists and in the earth, but
there is a difference between them and the men
buried in jars. Nine men buried in jars are accom-
No detailed studies of the human skeletal remains panied by metal pins, which were usually found by
found in western Anatolian cemeteries have yet the upper torso of the skeleton,56while none of the
appeared. The excavators of Yortan, although in- cist or earth burials contain pins. Ten of the re-
terested in the study of burial customs, were pre- maining pins were found in jars with skeletons of
occupied by the collection of objects and saved only undeterminable age and sex; one was with a child.
a few skeletons discovered in the final days of Pins may have been accessoriesto a special kind of
excavation.51The Babakoy skeletons were so poorly costume worn by a certain group of males within
preserved that only one could be analysed.52Since the Ali?ar community. Such clothing was most
at Karatas the human skeletal remains are often likely that worn during life rather than a shroud,
well preserved,their study will contributeimportant since there is no reason to believe that pins were

49W. D6rpfeld, Troja und Ilion (Athens I902) 535-37; 55 Results of the skeletal analysis are summarized in each
C.W. Blegen et al. (supra n. 47) 8-9. entry under Copper Age and Early Bronze Age tombs. See also:
Blegen, ibid., fig. 416. W.D. Krogman, "Cranial Types of Alishar Hiiyiik and their
51 Houze, "Les ossements humains d'YortanKelembo," Bulle- Relations to other Racial Types, Ancient and Modern, of Eu-
tin de la Societe d'Anthropologie de Bruxelles, I902, cvi-cvii. rope and Western Asia," in The Alishar Hiiyii, Seasons of
52 J.L. Angel, "The Babak6ySkeleton," AOF I3 (I939-I941) 1930-32, Part III (OIP XXX, Chicago 1937) 213-93.
56 Pins are in Tombs 3200, 3202, 3208, bX7, bX8,
28-31. bX46,
53 H.H. von der Osten, The Alishar Hiuyik, Seasons of cX2o, dXi4, dXi5, dXi6, dX27, dX29, dX45, dX46, dX47,
1930-32, Part I (OIP XXVIII, Chicago I937) I37-50. dX48, eX8 and eXg.
54 Ibid., 223-30.
made especially for funerary purposes.57One group MESOPOTAMIA AND IRAN
of men thus wore a costume different from that of In Mesopotamia and Iran,62 no well defined
other men at Alisar and were also buried different-
pattern of tomb distribution exists. No single type
ly. The inference is that the Alisar community was of tomb was ever dominant throughout the area or
composed of several groups with different back- in any particular temporal span. Several types of
grounds or affiliations.It is interesting to note that tombs are usually found in a single site in any given
no women were included in the jar burial group. time period. Burials in various types of ceramic
Thus, a documented case exists at one site in containers are common, but only children were
Anatolia that sexual differences, and perhaps dif-
placed in small jars. Since these household jars,
ferences in group affiliations,determined the burial never over 0.80 m. in height, were not large enough
type of some individuals. for the burial of adults, other arrangements had to
Although the burial practices of Alisar do not be made for their interment. Composite tombs of
explain the burial customs of western Anatolia, two jars placed rim to rim, first used in Mahmur
where almost everyone was buried in a jar, they do and Gawra XII, solved this problem in one way.
indicate some of the potentials of skeletal analysis. Sometimes the corpse was arranged with arms and
Complete study of extramural pithos cemeteries legs drawn close to the torso and perhaps bound in
may eventually reveal subtle differences in the this position, then covered with a tilted pot. Sherds
treatment of the two sexes and provide information were placed under and over some bodies. These
which can be compared to the Alisar data. methods do not however allow for complete en-
closure of the body by its container. Perhaps the
most practical ceramic container developed for
adult burials was the sarcophagus, which is not
Jar burials are typical of western Anatolia in the related to household vessels in form or function,
Early Bronze Age and as such are the basic units but which is a sensible means of burying adults in a
which may be used for comparison with other com- land where stone is not plentiful.
plexes of burial customs. Central Anatolia has a The custom of pithos burial, as practiced in
mixture of burial customs, like that seen at Alisar, western Anatolia, is clearly a development separate
which requires special analysis (see Appendix I from Mesopotamia. Pithoi in western Anatolian
below); the pattern of burials there is not com- cemeteries, in sizes suitable for child or adult
parable to western Anatolia where a single custom burial, may have been made especially for funerary
can be called a definitive trait. In spite of the small
usage rather than being appropriated from the
number of Neolithic and Chalcolithic tombs exca- house, a fact indicated by their good preservationin
vated, some precedents do exist for Early Bronze situations where they have not been subjected to
Age burial customs in the west. At Hacilar, twenty- human or natural abuse. The weight of the evi-
two individuals were interred within the site,58a dence indicates that Mesopotamia cannot be con-
relatively small number which indicates that an sidered as the site of origin for the western Ana-
extramural cemetery may lie nearby.59No tombs tolian custom of pithos burial, except perhaps for
have been discovered in the Chalcolithic settlement the chronological priority of the general type.
of Can Hasan I and, although tombs were found
at Beycesultan,none of them may date to the period SYRIA AND PALESTINE

before 3000 B.C.60 In southeastern Turkey, an The best foreign parallel to western Anatolian
extramural cemetery of jars and earth burials was cemeteries is found in Syria at Byblos. The Byblos
found at Tarsus,61a site not in western Anatolia cemetery is however not representativeof Syria and
but pertinent because of the type of cemetery. Palestine where cave burial and inhumation were
57 It is interesting to note that pins were usually part of the 13/2, I25-26.
female costume at KarataS. 60 M.J. Mellink (supra n. 33) II4.
J. Mellaart, Excavations at Hacilar (Edinburgh 1970) 88- 61 H. Goldman, Excavations at Gozlii Kule, Tarsus, vol. II
9i. (Princeton 1956) 6-7.
59 There is no need to assume that the Hacllar cemetery has 62 E. Strommenger,"Grab(I. Irak und Iran),"
been discovered and plundered, contra Mellaart, ibid., 90. See Assyriologie und vorderasiatischenArchdologie (Berlin I971)
P.J. Ucko in Aitken, Moorey and Ucko, "The Authenticity of 581-93.
Vessels and Figurines in the Hacilar Style," Archaeometry
common through the Neolithic period.63Collective indifferently, with head toward rim or base,72
burials, such as those found in caves, continued unlike the custom used in western Anatolia. The
through the Early Bronze Age in specially pre- openings of the Byblos burial jars were often found
pared shafts and chambers. too narrow for the placement of the body; so addi-
At Byblos, a cemetery of jar burials has been a tional windows were made in the jars.73 Such
subject of study since I931. The cemetery is called alteration of the jars used for burials is seldom
"eneolithique"by the excavators,64but its use prob- found in western Anatolia.
ably continued through the third millennium.65 The Byblos cemetery cannot at present be con-
A final publication of the over 1500 tombs has not sidered a typical Syrian burial ground of the fourth
yet appeared,so considerationof many details must and third millennia, nor can the precise nature of
be left aside for the present. The Byblos tombs are its role in relation to western Anatolian pithos
almost all jars; fewer than ten are inhumations.66 cemeteries be assessed. The similarities between
The Byblos burial jars are related to western Ana- burial customs in these two areas cannot however
tolian pithoi by their size, with heights as great as be discounted as separateindigenous developments.
1.86m.67 Jar size is pertinent because a large jar was Specific elements of the custom-large burial jars,
necessary to accommodate an adult burial; large some multiple burials, uniformity of burial type in
pithoi may have been made especially for adult and large cemeteries-are unique and are not paralleled
multiple burials. Many of the Byblos tombs contain elsewhere in the Near East, eastern Mediterranean
multiple burials,68 but it has not been stated or Aegean. Byblos and western Anatolia may have
whether they were successive. The rims of the been sites in a continuous coastal series which
Byblos tombs were usually covered with bowls, practiced similar burial customs; the Byblos ceme-
large sherds, jar bases, and stone slabs, although tery and contemporary settlement areas are not
poor preservationof many tombs makes the nature sufficiently published for other aspects of material
of the closure uncertain.69 Gifts, as in western culture-building types, pottery, metal objects, fig-
Anatolia, were placed close to the body. Pots often urines, trade goods, and technological achievements
lay in front of the chest, and jewellery, tools and -to be compared with the western Anatolian com-
weapons were in appropriatepositions for symbolic plex. Only when these comparisons can be made
use. will this tantalizing evidence of prehistoric inter-
Although the similarities cited above are strong action be understood.
and numerous, certain differences between the
cemeteries of western Anatolia and Byblos must
also be considered. Dunand says that the tombs are Cycladic cemeteries and tombs have already been
mingled with houses,70 but does not discuss the discussed briefly in connection with the Iasos
comparativedating of tombs and associatedhouses; cemetery. Extramural cemeteries of stone cists are
judgment on the relation of Eneolithic tombs to customary. The origin of the Cycladic-type cist is
contemporary houses should be reserved until the unknown, but it may have developed locally due
final excavation report appears. At Byblos there to an abundance of easily worked stone.
was no fixed orientation for the burial jars,71al- Cycladic cists are now known to have local pred-
though the publication of the complete cemetery ecessors of a Neolithic date. The cemetery at
plan may reveal some degree of internal organiza- Kephala on Kea74 contains the earliest Cycladic
tion. Bodies were placed in the Byblos tombs stone tombs, although only two of forty are slab
63 B. Hrouda, "Grab (II. Syrien und Palastina)," Reallexikon
Byblos en I948," BMBeyrouth IX (I949-I950) 55.
der Assyriologie, 593-603. 69 M. Dunand, "Rapportpreliminairesur les fouilles de Byblos
64 This term
may be equated with the more usual "Chalco- en I949," BMBeyrouth IX (1949-1950) 68, pl. 112.
lithic." 70 M. Dunand, "Rapportpreliminairesur les fouilles de Byblos
65 E.D. Oren, "The Early Bronze IV Period in Northern en 1955," BMBeyrouth XIII (I956) 82.
Palestine and its Cultural and Chronological Setting," BASOR 71 M. Dunand, Fouilles de Byblos I (Paris I939) 365 passim.
2I0 (I973) 33-34. 72 M. Chehab, "Tombes de chefs d'epoque eneolithique
66 M. Dunand, "Rapport preliminaire sur les fouilles de trouvees a Byblos," BMBeyrouthIX (I949-I950) 75-76.
Byblos en 1949," BMBeyrouthIX (I949-I950) 68. 73 N. Jidejian, Byblos through the Ages (Beirut I968) I2.
67 M. Dunand, "Rapport preliminaire sur les fouilles de 74 J. Coleman, The Kephala Cemetery, manuscript of final
Byblos en I955," BMBeyrouthXIII (I956) 82. excavation report. I thank Prof. Coleman for generously mak-
68 M. Dunand, "Rapport preliminaire sur les fouilles de ing this manuscript available to me.
sided and one of these is a triangular enclosure to western Anatolian pithoi but, in spite of their
around a burial jar containing the remains of a size, were usually not used as family tombs.
child, a combination of tomb types similar to that
found at the Samian Heraion. Five burial jars were CRETE
found in the Kephala cemetery, the rim of each Burial jars are rarely found in an Early Minoan
covered with a stone slab; only infants were buried context80and are frequent in the Middle Minoan
in jars. Ten of the Kephala tombs contain multiple period. Most tombs in Crete-caves, rock clefts,
burials, unlike their Early Cycladic successors.75 cists, larnakes, and tholoi-show a regional pattern
The Kephala cemetery probably representsa phase of distribution which is probably not related to
in the development of typical Early Cycladic burial Anatolian customs. Since burial in jars is not un-
customs-an experimentation in the use and con- known before the Middle Minoan period, this
struction of stone tombs, especially slab-sided cists burial type may have developed locally, perhaps
which were built only in small sizes for child with some encouragement from western Anatolia.
burials. One might speculate that the Neolithic in-
habitants of the Cyclades knew of the custom of CONCLUSIONS
pithos burial, witnessed by the few burial jars in The closest known relative of western Anatolian
the Kephala cemetery and perhapsby the frequency
pithos cemeteries is the prehistoric necropolis at
of multiple interments, but rejected it because the
Byblos. These two areas may represent distant
pithos was not as congenial as the cist with Cycladic geographical examples of a series of similar pithos
terrain and natural resources. The Kephala ceme- cemeteries along the Mediterranean coast of Ana-
tery is at present the only known Neolithic burial tolia and the Levant, but there are not enough
ground in the Cyclades; we must study more pre- excavated sites in the intermediate section of this
Bronze Age cemeteries before a clear understand- coastal zone to prove this suggestion. Only at
ing of the affinities of the Kephala jar burials Tarsus is some evidence relevant to western Ana-
emerges. tolian and Byblite burial customs available. Al-
In the Cyclades, attempts were made at marking
though the Chalcolithic cemetery, as excavated, is
the location of some cists by using stones in various small and seems to contain mostly child burials, it
fashions. At Akrotiri on Naxos, one of the vertical is important because it is extramural and does con-
slabs of each cist was taller than the others so that tain jar burials. The Early Bronze Age necropolis
it projected above the field surface.76Projecting of Tarsus has not been found, but we might assume
piles of stones (platforms) lay above the Kephala that it is an extramuralpithos cemetery.The custom
tombs, although they may not have been visible of pithos burial in extramural cemeteries may have
above the ground.77The cemetery at Aghioi Ana-
spread to the Cyclades. The Kephala cemetery has
gyroi on Naxos was surrounded by an enclosure shown that jar burials were used in the islands in
wall; Renfrew notes that flat stones were placed Neolithic times, although their geographical extent
above each tomb,78but Coleman reports that these is not known; they may have gone out of fashion
markers were incorrectly described. The area of because the stone cist was more practical in the
the Aghioi Anagyroi cemetery is covered with environment of the Cyclades.
small flat stones except above each tomb where Much of the communication along the Mediter-
there is a layer of river pebbles.79Markers, a neces- ranean coast of the Levant and Anatolia and in the
sity in extramural cemeteries, are thus confirmed Cyclades probably took place by sea; it would be
as existing in Cycladic cemeteries. natural for the people along the coasts to develop
The appearance of extramural cemeteries con-
and share certain customs which may not have been
taining a single type of tomb is similar to that of those of the people inland. Pithos burial may be
cemeteries in western Anatolia, even though the
one of these.
tomb types themselves are different. Cycladic tombs
in the Early Bronze Age are of a size comparable SWARTHMORE COLLEGE

75 Supra n. II. 77 J. Coleman, supra n. 74.

76C. Renfrew, The Emergence of Civilization-The Cyclades 78 Renfrew, 79 Coleman, supra n. 74.
supra n. 76.
and the Aegean in the Third Millennium B.C. (London 1972) 80 I. Pini, Beitrige zur minoische Grdberkunde (Wiesbaden
158. I968) II-I3.
AppendixI. Catalogueof EarlyBronzeAge Tombs in Anatolia
(Other than those in westernAnatolia)
A. Between the Sangarios (Sakarya) and the Halys 5. Yankkaya-several pithos burials
(Kizil Irmak) K. Bittel et al., BogazkdyIV. Funde aus den
I. Gordion-one stone cist Grabungen1967 und 1968 (Abhandlungen
ILN 3.I.I953: 2I, 23, fig. 6. der Deutschen OrientgesellschaftNr. 14,
M.J. Mellink,A Hittite Cemeteryat Gordion, Berlin I969) 66-69.
(Philadelphia I956) i. 6. Kanlica-one stone cist
2. Polatll-one stone cist and one jar burial H.H. von der Osten, Explorationsin Central
S. Lloyd, "Excavationsat Polatli," AnatSt I Anatolia (OIP V, Chicago 1929) 95.
(195 I) 25-26. 7. Hashiiyiik-more than four earth burials
3. Sanyar-two pithos burials (no dimensions L. Delaporte,"Grabungam Hashiiyiik 193I,"
given) AA I932, 230-33.
B. Tezcan, "Nalllhan-Beypazarl cevresinden 8. Kiiltepe-jar and cist tombs
getirilen kaplar hakkinda," Belleten XX T. Ozgiic, Die Bestattungsbrduche
im vorge-
(1956) 345- schichtlichen Anatolien (Ankara 1948) I55.
4. Ahlatllbel-six pithoi, five stone cists, two in- AnatSt 13 (1963) 22.
humations, one stone chamber and four too C. The Pontic area
damaged to discern the type i. Horoztepe-two shaft tombs and one inhu-
H.Z. Ko?ay, "Ahlathbel Hafriyati," TiurkTar- mation
Derg 2 (1934) 88-Ioo. T. Ozgiic and M. Akok, Horoztepe (Ankara
5. Kogumbeli-one round cutting covered with I958) 40-60.
slabs 2. Ma?athiiyiik-7 inhumations
M.J. Mellink, "Archaeology in Asia Minor," Haberler, Belleten X (1946) 220-22.
AJA 70 (I966) I48. 3. Kaledorugu(Kavak)-13 inhumations
6. Karayav?an-stone cists (number not given) T. Ozgiic, "Samsun hafrlyatin 1941-42 yill
M.J. Mellink, "Archaeology in Asia Minor," neticeleri,"III. Tiur Tarih Kongresi (An-
AJA 70 (I966) 148. kara 1948) 414-I5.
7. Karahiiyiik-Konya-two pithoi, two cists and 4. Diindartepe-one inhumation
one composite jar burial K. Kokten et al., "Samsunkazilart,"Belleten
M.J. Mellink, "Archaeology in Asia Minor," IX (i945) 398.
AJA 70 (1966) 146; AJA 71 (1967) i6i. 5. Tekek6y-I7 inhumations
B. East of the Halys K. K6kten et al., ibid. 384-86.
I. Alisar-3I jar burials, 14 inhumations, 3 stone D. EasternAnatolia
cists and i mudbrick cist I. Keban, Pagnlk Oreni-inhumations in pits
H.H. von der Osten, The Alishar Hiiyiik, R. Harper, "Pagnik Oreni Excavations,"
Seasons of 1930-32, Part I (OIP XXVIII, Keban Projesi 1969 9alzimalarz (Middle
Chicago, 1937) 135-50, 223-30. East Technical University Publication i,
2. Alaca Hiiyiik-13 shaft tombs, one pithos Ankara 1971) 95.
burial, one stone cist and 3 inhumations 2. Pulur (Erzurum)-3 stone cists,2 rectangular
R.O. Ark, "Les premiers Resultats des Fouil- and i square; the largest 2.00 m. in length
les d'Alacah6yiik," Belleten I (1937) 226. H. Kosayand H. Vary,PulurKazisi (Ankara
, Les fouilles d'Alacahoyiik 1935 (An-
kara I937) 1964) 98-I02.
H.Z. Kosay, Alaca Hoyiik Hafriyat: 1936 3. Alaca Han-stone cists (number not given);
the largest 6.60 m. by 3.25 m. by 2.80 m.,
(Ankara I944) 80-88.
K. Bittel, "Beitrige zur kleinasiatischen Ar- with steps
AOF AOF 21 (1966) i68.
chiologie," 1I (936-I937) 48.
3. Eskiyapar-one pithos burial, 0.65 m. in 4. Tilkitepe (?amramalti)-six inhumationsand
two infant burials in jars
W. Orthmann, "Beobachtungen an dem Hii- E.B. Reilly, "Tilkitepedekiilk kazilar, I937,"
yiik in Eskiyapar," IstMitt 12 (1962) I0, TiirTarDerg 4 (1940) 151-62.
Abb. 8. T. Ozgiic, Bestattungsbrduche, op. cit., 29.
4. Bogazk6y, Biiyiikkale-three inhumations E. Syro-Cilicia
K. Bittel, "Vorliufiger Bericht iiber die Aus- I. Gedikli-almost 200 cremation burials, in-
grabungen in Bogazk6y 1935," MDOG 74 humations and chambertombs
(I935) 9-10. U.B. and H. Alkim, "Gedikli (Karahiiyiik)
kazisi birinci on-rapor," Belleten XXX 3. Carchemish-I5 stone cists; largest 2.00 m. by
(1966) 40-52. 1.20 m.
2. Tilmen Hiiyuk-two stone cists and a cham- L. Woolley, Carchemish 111 (London 1952)
ber tomb of hypogaeaumtype 218-22.
U.B. Alkim, "Tilmen Hiiyuk call?malarl 4. Amuq-one child in a jar and one inhumation
(1958-I960)," Belleten XXVI (I962) 455- at Judeideh; one inhumation at Tainat
56. R. Braidwood, Excavations in the Plain of
, "Islahiye b6lgesinde ara?tirmalarl," Antioch (OIP LXI, Chicago 1960) 343,
Atatiirk Konferanslarz (Ankara 1964) 169- 497.
F. 2. Karata,
FIG. 2. Karata?,

FIG. i. Karata?,southeast cemetery trench, cleared to

bedrock with ancient pit cuttings excavated

FIG. 4. Karatas
FIG. 3. Karatae, Trench 98, Tomb 322. Note that mandible
has fallen on tomb gift

FIG.5. Karatas, Trench 98, Tomb 226

FIG.6. Karata?,Trench 98, Tomb 280