Update from the trenches – 11 September 2014

September 11, 2014 7:49 am 0 comments

As the end of the dig season approaches and cooler weather comes to the site, exciting new discoveries are being uncovered at Boncuklu. 

The broken floor of the outdoor working structure in Area M has now been fully excavated, proving to be quite shallow, as it quickly came down onto an earlier building, which will be excavated in a later season. Buildings in this area contain multiple hearths, were they ordinary dwellings or special purpose structures? In the deeper part of Area M a number of burials are located in the rubbish rich ashy deposits (known to archaeologists as midden). A large amount of beads were excavated in this area, found with an adolescent burial, while some of the pits contain isolated skulls. Why were some people buried whole in graves under houses, whilst others were buried in open spaces, or had their heads removed and deposited in pits? Distinctive mortuary rituals for some people are indicated by these discoveries.  

In Area L’s deep trench multiple plaster faces continue to be excavated, with the feature possibly being a wall or ditch cut, with excavations extending to its eastern face in order to further define the boundary. The extension to Area L turned up its first in-tact archaeology with the discovery of several plaster floors, to the delight of all those who have wielded the pick axes over the season. 

As anticipated in a previous site update, excavations in the building currently being excavated in Area H have yielded another burial, also containing many beads, and a small fire installation, holding an arrangement of burnt, ground stones. 

The careful stratigraphic excavation of individual plaster floors within the building has also shed light on the relationship between two of the buildings contained in Area H, suggesting one postdates the other. 

Area P has a new supervisor, with Morgan Wilcox taking over the reins from Dr Jodie Benton for the remainder of the season.The two buildings in Area P have had burnt collapse material removed, revealing their beautifully preserved plaster floors. Excavation of the overlying material was a delicate process as the buildings contain numerous fine layers of sequential plaster floors, the surfaces of which can be both undulating and broken. In one building, a burial has been identified and concave slumps hint at the presence of more lying beneath newly revealed plaster. Both buildings have yielded interesting structural features and installations, including two large postholes, which may possible have supported roofing beams. In addition, large hearths with plaster rim installations, and lines of stake-holes cut into the “dirty” floors in front of them, may hold implications for subsistence (and specifically cooking) practices at Boncuklu.


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