MORTUARY PRACTICES IN TEPECIK-ÇIFTLIK*
Some preliminary information has been obtained from the study on the treatment of the dead of Tepecik-Çiftlik Neolithic people. In the settlement, most individuals were buried primarily in simple earth-shaped tombs. However, it was found that some of the babies were buried in pots. From a stratigraphic standpoint, no dwelling was excavated in the 5th layer, which was the earliest layer where the graves were unearthed. Yet, primary and secondary burials were found in open areas, except for the BB collective burial, which is the subject of this study. The in-room burial is mainly represented by the tombs in the AY and BA spaces attached to the AK building complex belonging to the 4th layer. Most of the individuals found in these spaces are infants under one year old; however, children, men, and women were also identified in AY. While almost all graves belonging to the 3rd layer (which constitutes the end of the Neolithic period) were found in open areas close to the houses, there were also some graves inside the rooms.
Grave goods were identified in one-fourth of the Neolithic period graves in Tepecik-Çiftlik, and most of these graves contained babies under one year old. Studies have shown that the forms of treatment to the dead in the community consist of complex rituals with several stages rather than simple practices. For example, a significant part of the graves of children and adults were reopened after a certain time to take skulls belonging to individuals. There is a high probability that certain parts of the body (long bones) were also removed in some graves. Besides, the bones taken from the graves were secondarily buried in new graves, either individually or in multiples. When the Near East Pottery and Pottery Neolithic period funeral practices are examined, some diversity is observed among regions or communities. In addition to providing important information about the symbolic world of the community, their perceptions of death, and their beliefs, those found in the death practices of Tepecik-Çiftlik are also meaningful in terms of having similarities with other Neolithic communities contemporary to it.
* For further information,
Büyükkarakaya, A.M. (2019). Ölüm Uygulamaları ve Davranışın Ekolojisi. Memento Mori, Ölüm ve Ölüm Uygulamaları içinde, Ali Metin Büyükkarakaya & Elif Başak Aksoy (Ed.), Ege Yayınları, İstanbul, ss. 217-257.
Büyükkarakaya, A. M., Çakan, Y.G., Godon, M., Erdal, Y.S. ve Bıçakçı, E. (2019). Handling dead bodies: Investigating the formation of a collective burial from Neolithic Tepecik-Çiftlik, Central Anatolia (Turkey). Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 56. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa2019.101118