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Turtles May Have Been Feasted On as Part of Funeral Rites at Ancient Turkey Site

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 14:57
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Turtles May Have Been Feasted On as Part of Funeral Rites at Ancient Turkey Site

During excavations at Kavuşan Höyük, six miles (9.7km) from the modern town of Bismil in Turkey, archaeologists discovered a mysterious burial. Apart from human remains, the grave includes several previously slaughtered and butchered turtles.

The excavations, led by Rémi Berthon, archaeozoologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, and Güriz Kozbe, archaeology professor at Batman University, Turkey, took place in a southern bank of the Tigris River. According to Discovery News, experts discovered the remains of a woman aged 45-55 and a 6 or 7-year-old child buried in a tomb. The skeletons are believed to be more than 2,500-years-old. Remains of turtles, which belonged to a species known from ancient times for their aggression, were also found with the two individuals. The turtles were surely slaughtered and butchered. It is believed that the site was a multi-period mound site.

The excavations were a part of a hydroelectric project, created to study the archaeological materials that are soon to be underwater. The works took place from 2001 to 2009. During the 2008 season the researchers discovered several objects dated to the 6th century BC. Amongst these discoveries, was a human burial surrounded by the shells of 17 Euphrates soft-shelled turtles (Rafetus euphraticus).

The Euphrates soft-shelled turtle (Rafetus euphraticus) is still alive, but endangered, today. Here are a few basking on the shore of the Tigris River. – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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