After a slow start to the season, this week we’re finally seeing some action in the field with several Neolithic skeletons having been uncovered. The first skeleton we dealt with in the North Area was the final burial in a sequence of interments under the northeast platform of Building 52. At Çatalhöyük, the northern and eastern house platforms are the most common locations for burials and they typically contain multiple interments. Once we removed the first burial (an adult) we began to see the disturbed remains of an infant and an older child protruding from the sides and bottom of the grave cut. These earlier burials were disturbed by the grave cut for the adult. The excavators will continue to expose both skeletons this week. Later we removed an adult skeleton from the northeast platform of Building 77, where a number of disturbed burials had already been recovered in 2011 and several more individuals are still waiting to be fully exposed.
While I was working in the North Area, Josh Sadvari was excavating another tightly flexed adult burial from the east platform of Building 96 in the South Area. Last year we removed two burials from this building (a partially disturbed adult skeleton and an undisturbed skeleton of a child) and there are likely to be several more within the east platform of Building 96.
Babies in baskets
In my last post I wrote about the skeleton of a baby that was block-lifted from the floor of Building 77 in 2012. The baby was buried in a reed basket (or possibly a mat, but “baby in a mat” doesn’t have the same ring to it) which had been partially preserved by the fire that destroyed the building. OSU graduate student Barbara Betz has spent the last two weeks carefully uncovering the skeleton in the human remains lab and now she has fully exposed it (above).
Using the four targets in the photograph, I produced a scaled orthophoto which I then traced digitally in LibreCAD, an open-source drafting software. Finally, the digitized plan of the skeleton was georeferenced in the Çatalhöyük GIS by Camilla Mazzucato where it can now be seen in its original location and in relation to the other burials recovered from Building 77.