İkiztepe tomb excavations and related burial customs
Keywords: İkiztepe, Tomb Excavations, Burial customs, Early Bronze Age
During the excavations carried out in connection with the project in 2000 and 2001 at İkiztepe, 28 new graves were unearthed in Trench "M" covering 200 m2 at Mound I. Of these 28 graves two are pot burials, and the rest is simple earthen burials. The two pot burials belong to the Middle Bronze Age. The 14 of the earthen burials belong to Early Bronze Age III, and the rest is of the Early Bronze Age II date. The study of the skeletons has shown that two pot burials and thirteen of the earthen burials have a baby or child skeleton. There is no common orientation among the earthen burials. The deceaseds were buried commanly extended on their backs with the arms usually at the sides. Only seventeen earthen burials are seen contained objects; eight from Early Bronze Age III and nine from Early Bronze Age II. As each burial contained different type of objects of varying numbers, it can be assumed that objects were left in the graves as personal belongings of the deceased rather than gifts. These newly unearthed burials, both the pot burials of the Middle Bronze Age and the simple earthen burials of the Early Bronze Age are the other graves of the graveyard of pot burials excavated in 1976 and of the graveyard of simple earthen burials excavated between 1975 and 1987. These graves have also shown that the border of both graveyards still extending on the northern slope of Mound I. Simple earthen burials unearthed at İkiztepe in the Early Bronze Age II and III have no parallels other than those excavated at Tekkeköy, Dündartepe, Horoztepe and Kalınkaya in Anatolia. The contemporary cultures in Anatolia seemingly preferred a stone cist or pithos as graves. Outside Anatolia, similar earthen burials to those found at İkiztepe are seen on the western coast of the Black Sea where extra-mural graveyards were located at Varna and Durankulak in Bulgaria. Objects were also found in these burials, but apart from some bracelets and a few pendants of ring type, there are no objects common to both the İkiztepe and Bulgarian burials.