The Boncuklu human remains have three intriguing facets: first, that many of the complete interments have been found beneath the floor within the clean areas of the houses, second, that there are many human bone fragments within the middens most of which are skull fragments and this seems to represent heads or skulls deposited in open areas, and thirdly, all our complete interments have their heads… so where are these extra heads coming from?
Our Human Osteoarchaeology specialist, Dr Jessica Pearson from the University of Liverpool, is helping answer the questions raised by the human remains. She is here both to examine the physical remains and take samples for stable carbon and isotope analysis to be processed in the UK. She is trying to determine the demography of the population, with a particular primary concern with their health and diet.
To date, Dr Pearson has analysed 33 graves and countless bits of human bone emerging from the middens. With her examination of the physical remains, this season so far, she has noticed many intriguing pieces of evidence. The first involves the human teeth. Adding to the previous seasons evidence, the human remains examined so far have very little caries on their teeth. This suggests low levels of consumption of food contributing to caries and therefore points to limited cereals in their diet. This mirrors the botanical evidence identified by our archaeobotanist, Co-Director Dr Andrew Fairbairn. The second piece of evidence of particular interest are the animal bones which are either in the burials or associated with the grave. This year we have identified part of one, as yet unidentified large bird, some puppy and a small canid likely to be a fox, in separate graves.
Carefully preserved skull ready for inspection.