Handling dead bodies: Investigating the formation process of a collective burial from Neolithic Tepecik-Ciftlik, Central Anatolia (Turkey)

BÜYÜKKARAKAYA A. M. , Cakan Y. G. , Godon M., ERDAL Y. S. , Bicakci E.

JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARCHAEOLOGY, vol.56, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 56
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jaa.2019.101118


There are only a few collective burials that include a large number of individuals during the PPN (Pre-Pottery Neolithic) and PN (Pottery Neolithic) settlements of the Near East. However, analyses of this type of burial are highly important since they provide enormous information about a variety of cultural and biological aspects of a society. In this study, a large collective burial from Tepecik-Ciftlik is evaluated. The main goal of this study is to examine and understand the formation process of this burial. Following excavation, the human skeletal remains were curated and analyzed. In this analysis, at least 42 individuals were documented in the burial. A calculation of the Most Likely Number of Individuals (MLNI) has indicated there may be as many as 47 individuals present. The burial includes both sexes and all age groups, with the exception of infants below the age of 1.5 years. In summary, we argue that the final stage of the burial was formed through multiple factors and the reasons behind the complexity of this assemblage include successive burials over time, movement of the primary burials by human agents, and the secondary deposition of several individuals.