Digging through thick mud and an ancient swamp of black clay, archaeologists in Istanbul have discovered a grave that proves the city is 6,000 years older than they previously thought. The skeletons of two adults and two children lie curled-up, perhaps to save space. Alongside them are pots: gifts placed in the grave to use in the afterlife. The ancient family was unearthed at the site of a 21st Century rail project.
“We found the grave, pots and other artefacts. There were signs of houses made of tree-branches and next to the settlement was a swamp where we found small tools, wooden pieces and bones,” explains Ismail Karamut, head of the Istanbul Archaeology museum, which is leading the dig.
“It all shows there was a Neolithic settlement here in the historic peninsula of Istanbul where people lived, farmed and fished,” he adds. Historians had believed modern-day Istanbul was first settled around 700 BC. The discovery of the skeletons has revealed far deeper roots.
The Neolithic era – when man abandoned the nomadic, hunting lifestyle and settled to farm the land and raise cattle – began east of here, gradually carrying the foundations of “civilised” life west, to Europe. The new find in Istanbul helps map that transition. “Neolithic culture changed as it moved west. Not all of what we call the ‘Neolithic package’ was transferred,” explains Professor Mehmet Ozdogan of Istanbul University. …
I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull again this weekend. They should make exaggerated action adventure movies for professions other than archaeology. I’d like to see a nutrition science movie with explosions and car chases…. something like: Dr. Hanover Fist and the Supplements of Doom.