A possible massacre at Early Bronze Age Titriş Höyük, Anatolia

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Abstract

Trauma is among the most important sources of data providing information related to systematic violence, battles and massacres among ancient populations. In this study, a mass grave from Titriş Höyük in the Southeast Anatolia was examined in terms of cranial traumas. Skeletal remains of minimum 19 individuals were placed on a plaster basin as a secondary interment. The frequency of cranial trauma was 81.3% among 16 available adult crania. The fact that the perimortem traumas were observed on both sex groups and the presence of two children and an infant on the basin suggest the possibility of these individuals being subjected to an attack or a massacre. It has been determined that the frequency of traumas in the common burials increased more than twofold from Early-Mid EBA (6.7%) to Late EBA (14.3%). While all of the injuries observed in Early-Mid EBA were in the form of healed depressed trauma, penetrated traumas were also encountered in Late EBA. The increased frequency of cranial trauma with unusual interment on a plaster basin indicated that a social stress might have taken place in Titriş Höyük. It is concluded that the collapse of the Akkadian Empire, the deterioration of the trade-based economy and resource stress might have been possible factors that played a role in the excessive violence, or a massacre in Titriş Höyük. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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