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Title: A Preliminary Study of the Burials from Late Neolithic-Early Chalcolithic Aktopraklik
Journal: Anatolica
Volume: 37    Date: 2011   
Pages: 17-43
DOI: 10.2143/ANA.37.0.2073783

Abstract :
Aktopraklık Höyük is one of the earliest farming sites in Northwest Anatolia. Since the investigations started in 2004 a large number of the burials was uncovered in and around the settlement reaching 60 individuals in the field season of 2010. Aktopraklık is unique with its separate cemetery of Early Chalcolithic age, because from this period no other examples are known of people burying their dead together in an specially chosen area outside their settlement. In this study the number of examined burials, which were excavated until 2009, is 42 including 37 adults and 7 infants and juveniles. Twelve burials unearthed in the settlement itself belong to the Early Chalcolithic period, and 32 individuals excavated in its cemetery belong to the Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic periods.
The number of children found from both periods is surprisingly low. Life expectancy of the females and males was almost equal and most adults died at middle or slightly older age. A rather large number of the male population exhibited bone fractures. Another male, who had a flint arrow stuck in his third lumbar vertebra, was quite certainly shot dead.
The majority of the population of Neolithic Aktopraklık had rather bad dental condition – males and females at equal rate, while in the following period it was the females who had the most affected teeth. Also related to the state of the teeth in females is the occurrence of grooves in the front teeth of some of them. These grooves probably resulted from the use of those teeth as a third hand – an activity that was probably related to weaving and basketry making. This feature was already observed in the female population of contemporary villages of Ilıpınar and Menteşe, and is therefore indicative for labour division between sexes in early farming communities of Northwest Anatolia.

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