Instant Web Publishing Database
An internet-based database of the Titriş Höyük Project providing a comprehensive catalogue of the
excavated contexts and artifacts from the 1994-1999 field seasons. Use of the on-line database requires a login
account and password.
Sampling & Analytical Protocols
Downloadable document providing details of the sampling and analytical protocols for the aDNA analysis project.
(Boutin, Dulik, Gokcuman).
Photographs of Samples
Link to Gokcumen's website page showing photographs of samples taken from the Titriş Höyük skeletons.
Downloadable document listing the skeletons by TH number to be collected. (Matney)
Links to the Coriell Institute for Medical Research
and Hacettepe University's Department of Molecular Biology.
Titriş Höyük Homepage
Find additional information on the Titriş Höyük Project, including photographs and summaries of the architectural remains from the excavations.
Return to Matney Homepage
At Titris Höyük we excavated the partial remains of 15 houses and 142 rooms.
The typical house plan included a well-built stone crypt which was constructed beneath the floor
of the house. These subterranean crypts were equipped with passageways leading to large stone
slab doors which sealed the single-room burial chambers behind. In the crypts we found multiple burials
and numerous grave goods. When an individual died, the floor of the room which housed
the crypt was dug up and the crypt was opened. The long bones of the last occupant were removed
(and presumably discarded) and the skull and grave goods that accompanied the last occupant were moved
to one corner of the tomb. The newly deceased person was then laid out in the center of the crypt with grave
offerings placed near the head. In this way, the crypts accumulated large piles of skulls and offerings (mostly
complete pottery vessels), but rarely had the long bones of more than a single individual. We hypothesize that
these were family crypts utilized over several generations.
In 1998, we found an exceptional burial located within the domestic quarters of the site, near
the city’s fortification wall and representing a completely different phenomenon. This burial comprised
seventeen human skulls placed in a circular plaster basin. These shallow plaster basins are commonly found in
domestic structures where they typically served as food preparation places (we referred to them as “domestic
preparation surfaces”). In this particular plaster basin the skulls were carefully aligned
to face outwards. The long bones and other bones associated with the skeletons had been heaped in the center
of the burial and no grave offerings had been made. The context of this burial clearly shows that it was in a
public space, above ground and would have been visible to passersby. In addition, the demographics and pathology
of the burials were unusual. On the basis of their cranial morphology, we believe that of the seventeen individuals,
all but two were young males (c. 18-30 years old). One was a young woman, the other an unsexed child. All the males
showed trauma to the head involving a range of punctures and cuts. These traumas were inconsistent with either ancient
medical procedures (trephenation) or with warfare. We believe that their injuries, some of which were clearly fatal
and some of which had started to heal at the time of death, were inflicted while the individuals were immobilized.
We hypothesize that these were outsiders to the city (hence their burial in a public place and lacking “proper” funerary rituals)
and that they were possibly invaders (hence their location at the city wall and their chronological placement at the very end of
the urban occupation of the site). We hope to test these two hypotheses through the use of aDNA analysis.