BIOARCHEOLOGICAL STUDIES ON HUMAN SKELETON REMAINS IN KARATAŞ-SEMAYÜK
Excavated under the direction of Machteld J. Mellink in 1963-1974, Karataş-Semayük provided the most comprehensive scientific information about the cultures of the Lycia region in 3000s BC. Established in the Elmalı Plain of Antalya, the settlement was inhabited from the beginning of the Early Bronze Age (EBA) and used until the mid-EBA 3. The administrative building, built on a central mound and surrounded by a defense system developed according to the needs from time to time, formed the core settlement. On the flat area around this central region, there were megaron-planned houses and cemeteries. Almost all tombs reflect the Anatolian tradition of burial in pithoi. However, a rectangular planned cist grave in the cemetery area has been interpreted as a noteworthy tomb due to its content and the wooden structure covering the grave. Karataş-Semayük is of unique significance today in terms of creating the most comprehensive data group on burial practices in Southwest Anatolia, as a result of the excavation of the cemetery area belonging to different phases of the Early Bronze Age. All archaeological findings at the site suggest the existence of an elite class here from the very beginning of the EBA.
The investigation on the Early Bronze Age archaeological settlement of Karataş-Semayük began in the mid-1960s. The active excavation that lasted for about ten years and the succeeding archaeological studies have revealed numerous facts about the people of Karataş-Semayük and showed that the settlement was a remarkable center starting from prehistoric times in the Lycian Region. Although the studies continue to be developed into scientific publications after the completion of the excavation activity, research on human skeletal remains unearthed from Karataş-Semayük was limited to the publications completed by John Lawrance Angel. These valuable studies have enabled the determination of very remarkable findings on the people of Karataş-Semayük. However, a detailed study could not be continued, unfortunately. The scope of the project comprises the completion of the unfinished bioarchaeological investigation of human skeletal remains in Karataş-Semayük as well as the application of current bioarchaeological approaches and methods in this new study. The data obtained through the use of recently developed technological possibilities and new methodologies will be analyzed and interpreted holistically and will be prepared for publication.
The study aims to continue the bioarchaeological research on the lifestyles of Karataş-Semayük people. In this way, we can increase our knowledge about this culture that lived in the Early Bronze Age in Southwest Anatolia as well as its regional effects.
Besides, a new way of knowledge and data sharing will be possible to add different perspectives to researchers on the subject.
With the help of new observations on the human remains of this settlement, which was completed about 40 years ago, more information will be produced using new technologies and methodologies. At the same time, we will try to develop new techniques and methodologies used in this production process. As mentioned above, we have been carrying out a comprehensive project under the title of “An Archaeogenomic Study on the Southwest Anatolian Bronze Age Archaeological Settlements”. Studies on ancient DNA are substantially supported by archaeological and anthropological knowledge. Therefore, this study constitutes a basis for developing new perspectives and a new understanding of interdisciplinary cohesion. The recent studies we have done on the Neolithic people in Anatolia have shown how effective the ancient DNA study is in solving the problematic situations that do not have a written history and do not allow archeological data to be compared at the community level.