New tomb type unearthed in Cavustepe Castle

Urartian King II. In the excavations carried out in the area of Çavuştepe Castle, which was built by Sarduri in 750 BC, and the necropolis in its northern part (the region where cemeteries and mass graves are located in archaeological cities), new findings were obtained regarding the burial customs and lifestyle of the Urartians.

Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYU) Faculty of Letters Archeology Department Head Prof. Dr. During the excavations carried out under the direction of Rafet Çavuşoğlu with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, two new tomb types were identified, one of which is considered to be an adult and a child.

In the tombs examined by archaeologists, it was determined that the valuables of the dead were not in place and the bones were in a different area. The head of the excavation, Prof. Dr. Rafet Çavuşoğlu stated that they were working on conservation and protection in the area that was opened and unearthed in Çavuştepe Castle from 1961 to 1986.

Çavuşoğlu said that during this year’s excavations, they found new graves, one of which they thought belonged to a child buried in the hocker (fetal) position, and the other to an adult individual.

Stating that the new type of tombs found gave them new information about the burial customs of the Urartians, Çavuşoğlu said, “Previously, there were cist graves, chamber tombs, normal graves that we call buried in the ground, and urn graves in which the dead were buried by burning in the necropolis area.

Now we have encountered a new type of tomb. The bodies were placed next to a platform in the form of sequential graves,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“We guess that this dead body was probably buried with his jewelry and that the tomb was reopened in order to retrieve these jewelry. This situation will become much clearer in the continuing part of the excavation. We could often find items belonging to him in individuals.

Last year, we obtained an important find in a grave we found with jewelry similar to this one. However, in addition to not finding anything in the adult individual we found, the fact that his corpse was found in a mixed state indicates that it was destroyed because we found the head of the corpse near the feet, and the vertebrae in another part, in a scattered state.

It may also come to mind that it was excavated by treasure hunters, but in our research we did not find any traces of illegal excavations other than its own period.”

Explaining that the area where they found the tombs has an architectural texture, especially with stone rows, Çavuşoğlu stated that they found a tomb other than the tombs with the classical characteristics of the Urartians.

Sergeant Çavuşoğu continued as follows: “The new graves we have found are similar to a city wall, at the foot of an area surrounded by three rows of stones, running on a certain axis. Right at the foot of this wall, we come across skeletons in the form of corpse burial, which we call inhumation.

Many necropolises of Urartu have been excavated before, but what surprises us here is that there is a burial tradition that we have not encountered before. First of all, there is an architectural texture that continues in a certain order and there is no mudbrick structure on this texture. They have created a platform-like layout. We encounter inhumation burials on the skirts of this order, between half and one meter.

These burials also hold a special place for us and for this area within the Urartian necropolis and Urartian burial traditions. We think that this cemetery was used 2,750 years ago.”

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