Evidence of massacre in Bronze Age Turkey.
Past Horizons, 20-2-2012
Determining social relationships between populations in the past can be difficult. Trade can be inferred from evidence such as pottery with foreign designs, or non-local foods. Warfare can be determined from the presence of mass graves or cemeteries of adult males displaying trauma, or weaponry showing signs of frequent use. However, trauma is not always a sign of conflict with external populations. It can also reflect the normal struggles of daily life or even interpersonal violence within the community.
Skeletal collections with trauma found from the Neolithic period in Anatolia suggest that injury was caused by daily activities and lifestyle, rather than systematic violence. However, shortly after this period there is an increase in trauma associated with violence that may suggest an increase in stress within and between populations in this area. In order to examine this conclusion, a new article by Erdal (2012) looked at the skeletal remains of a potential massacre site from the Early Bronze Age in Turkey.
The human remains come from the site of Titriş Höyük, dating to 2900-2100 BCE. The site grew very quickly in this period from a small farming community to an urban centre within a large mud-brick fortification wall built over a stone foundation. Within one of the house structures (House #2, Room 13), a burial was found in a plaster basin beneath the floors. While the location of the burial and the basin are not unique, the state of the individuals is.