Area 79

Main Information
Area ID 79
Site Körtik Tepe
Area type cemetery or grave
Area NR Pre-Pottery Neolithic Phase
Period Anatolia: Pre-Pottery Neolithic A 10200 - 8800
Dating method radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dated yes
Earliest date: Lab Number KlA44864
Earliest date: 14C age (BP) 10252
Earliest date: Calibration yes
Earliest date: 14C age calibrated (BC) 10405
Earliest date: Date of calibration None
Earliest date: Standard deviation 60
Earliest date: Delta 13C -23
Earliest date: Dated by charcoal
Latest date: Lab Number ETH-39510
Latest date: 14C age (BP) 9925
Latest date: Calibration yes
Latest date: 14C age calibrated (BC) 9280
Latest date: Date of calibration None
Latest date: Standard deviation 45
Latest date: Delta 13C -34
Latest date: Dated by charcoal
Period Reference Benz, Marion; Coşkun, Aytaç; Hajdas, Irka; Deckers, Katleen; Riehl, Simone; Alt, Kurt W.; Özkaya, Ve, Methodological Implications of new Radicarbon Dates from the Early Holocene Site of Körtik Tepe, Southeast Anatolia, 2012,
Coskun, A., "Körtik Tepe", None, None
Özkaya, V., Körtik Tepe, None, None
Benz, M., Stratigraphy and Radiocarbon Dates of the PPNA Site of Körtik Tepe, Diyarbakir, None, None
Comment The radiocarbon dates of trench ABO and AB4 all fall within a very short time range between 9660 cal. BC and 9320 cal. BC. However, in both dated sequences the upper layers of the first main occupation period [CH 2B; CH 21] were much younger, dating between 9450 cal. BC and 9320 cal. BC. The older phases down to -300 cm largely overlap. They match the course of the calibration curve and correspond to a plateau. The calibrated dates are therefore lengthened, and it is impossible to decide whether they document a very short occupation period or in fact correspond to about 150-250 years. Wiggle matehing suggests very short gaps of probably one generation or less between the different phases. The dates precisely fit the time range calculated for the Early PPNA at other sites. The oldest radiocarbon dated Phase Vl suggests a date of 9620 cal. BC right at the transition from the Younger Dryas (YD) to the Early Holocene. Though Phase Vll, the oldest excavated so far, has not yet been dated, it is likely that a settlement had already been established on the site during the last phase of the YD. The architectural remains and the material assemblage recovered at Körtik Tepe present a picture parallel to those other contemporary sites of the Upper Tigris Valley, Hallan Cemi being first in line. from the testimony of the finds recovered in the dwellings and in the graves as burial gifts, faunal analyses, and all the other evidence, Körtik Tepe shows us without any doubt that it is a site of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period. Previously, depending on the then available C14 dates, we had been considering the earlier parts of the 10th millennium BC as the beginning stage of the site; however, as noted above, the new radiocarbon dates have now pushed the earliest horizon of Körtik Tepe to the firsthalf of the 11th millennium BC, thus making it one of the oldest known Settlements in Anatolia. Here it is worth noting that there are some finds, such as the microliths of Epi-Paleolithic tradition with parallels at Hallan Cemi and the macro points with inverted backs, which hint at the possibility of still an earlier occupation layer at Körtik Tepe.
Settlement type None
Settlement structure
Settlement building type
Settlement building shape
Settlement building technique
Settlement archaeological features
Cave/rockshelters type None
Cave/rockshelters: Evidence of graves/human remains
Cave/rockshelters: Evidence of occupation
Quarry exploitation type None
Quarry raw material
Cemetery/graves topography intramural
part of house
Cemetery/graves mortuary features
Grave: number of graves
Grave type pit grave
Grave: type of human remains inhumation
Grave: estimated number of individuals 455
Grave: age groups part of specialist report
Grave: sexes part of specialist report
Grave: number of female sex None
Grave: number of male sex None
Grave: number of not specified sex None
Grave: disturbance of graves consecutive burials
construction of settlement
Description 307 skeletons of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period were buried in full-, 35 in semi-hocker position. Because of the destruction of the later periods, the positioning of 113 burials could not be fully understood. ln two skeletons only the bones of the body were recovered, implying that these bodies were buried without their heads. However, as burials without skulls are represented by only these two examples, it may be that the skulls of these two skeletons were destroyed over time. 301 hurials have gifts of different numbers and types, whereas 154 have no burial gifts. Some of the graves were under the floors of dwellings. The positions of a few graves are not clear as they were very near the topsoil and in a poor state of preservation. The practice of intramural burials shows that the dwelling places were in a way sanctified by the people of the period. This meaning attached to the dwelling house is also noted in the regularized burial traditions. the employment of complex funerary rites and practices, both prior to and after the interment of the body, is evident. The custom of smearing of some parts of the dead with plaster/lime is one of such burial practices. it seems that two different methods were used in this process of smearing. ln the first method the bodies were smeared after they were interred in the grave, and the burial gifts were broken to be left next to the dead. ln most cases it is evident that the smearing was done soon after the death of the individual, as there are no plaster remains among the bones, and the bones are still in an articulated position. However, there are other hurials where the thick layer of smeared plaster has taken the shape of the bones, filling in the joints; accordingly, we surmise that the smearing was executed after the tlesh had decayed. Likewise, there are some other hurials with barids of ochre on the bones that had then been coated over with plaster. There are also a number of skeletons-including the skulls-that have been adorned with parallel bands of ochre before being coated with lime plaster. ln two instances bands of red and black ochre were applied to cover the neighbouring bones as well. ln fact, traces of ochre can be seen also on the burial gifts. Most of the burial gifts are of stone, presenting extensive information on the techniques of manufacturing, the level of craftsmanship, and a rich variety of decorative designs. There is a great variety in burial gifts, ranging from stone vessels, pestles, mortars, grinding stones, celts, cutting and piercing tools, and bone artefacts, to beads. ln sixteen hurials tortoise shells were found lying nearby or covering the head of the individuals in Körtik Tepe. Most of the identified individuals buried with tortoises are adults of different ages. both the number and the quality of craftsmanship of burial gifts increase or improve in time, which is no doubt the result of social and cultural development. This is also to be seen in the type, shape, decoration, and workmanship of the gifts. The burial gifts of the earlier Ievels are simpler and display a relatively coarser workmanship. Accordingly, it is possible to postulate that the setup of the social structure of Körtik Tepe began developing at the initial stages of sedentary life, and through a gradual process became much more sophisticated.
Comment The 198 skeletons dating to teh Medieval period are of course not discussed in this context. For more information please consult the provided references.
Location of the Site

Finds in this Area
Interpretations related to this Area
Interpretation ID 42
ID 43