Skeletal remains of dogs unearthed from the Van-Yoncatepe necropolises

Onar V. , Armutak A., Belli O., Konyar E.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OSTEOARCHAEOLOGY, cilt.12, ss.317-334, 2002 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 12 Konu: 5
  • Basım Tarihi: 2002
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1002/oa.627
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.317-334


A total of 15 dog skulls and a number of bones have been discovered in two burial chambers dating from 1,000 BC in the necropolises of the Van-Yoncatepe Castle in eastern Turkey. The finds were a dog skeleton in burial chamber M5 and 14 dog skulls and plenty of bones in burial chamber M6. It was determined on examination that the skeleton found in burial chamber M5 was an 11-12-year female dog, and that the skulls unearthed from burial chamber M6 belonged to dogs with an age range of seven to eight months to 12-13 years. In the latter chamber, however, except for one skull whose sex could not be determined, one was ascertained to belong to a female dog and the rest to males. Calculations of 20 different indices and ratios were made on the skulls. This showed that these skulls were of the dolichocephalic type. It was observed that there were signs of a widespread periodontal disease and alveolar recession. enamel hypoplasia and abscess chambers detected on the teeth, and deformations observed in the hard palate were evidence enough to suggest that these were undernourished dogs. There were also some facial fractures, which were noticed to have occurred before death. On the other hand, examination carried out on the bones revealed that the dogs were of medium size, and that they were likely to have had a withers height of 50-55 cm. The data obtained from both the burial chambers brought to light the fact that these dogs were more of the hunting or working types.