Estimation of shoulder height from long bone measurements on dogs unearthed from the Van-Yoncatepe early Iron Age necropolis in Eastern Anatolia

Onar V., Belli O.

REVUE DE MEDECINE VETERINAIRE, vol.156, no.1, pp.53-60, 2005 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 156 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.53-60
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


During the excavations carried out from 1999 through 2002 in the Van-Yoncatepe necropolis dated from the beginning of the 1(st) millennium BC, a large number of long-bones belonging to dogs were unearthed from two burial chambers (M5, M6). While skeletal remains of a single dog were found in burial chamber M5, there were plenty of them scattered around in three burial layers in chamber M6. Considering the number of long bones found in the three layers of burials in chamber M6, all dating from the same period as above, it is estimated that here, a maximum of 59 dogs were buried. Various measurements were made on these long bones in order that the height at withers sizes of the dogs could be estimated. The female dog found in situ in chamber M5 was estimated to have a shoulder height of 54.5 cm. The measurements of the long bones unearthed in M6 revealed that the dogs in this chamber might have had a mean shoulder height of 59.4 cm, ranging from 54 to 64.8 cm. These dogs of large size are considered to have had a close economic relation with the societies living in and around the excavation area at that time and probably subsisting with stockbreeding. Estimation of the shoulder height of these dogs enabled us to make a comparison with the available data gathered from various other archaeological sites and to further our knowledge of dog size in the Early Iron-Age Anatolia.