Family grave of 2,000+ years discovered in NW Turkey

By Burak Akay

CANAKKALE, Turkey (AA) – A Turkish archaeologist in northwestern Canakkale province discovered a 2,300-year-old family grave belonging to 21 individuals, which some of the remains were ashes.

Meanwhile, the ongoing excavations in the ancient city of Assos unveils findings that would bring light to the world of archeology.

Assos, also known as Behramkale, is a popular destination to hundreds of thousands of tourists each year with its antique theater, agora, necropolis and walls.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Nurettin Arslan, head of the Assos excavations and a professor at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, said the family grave dating back 2,300 years was discovered as part of the ancient city's excavations in the first half of 2018.

"We have conducted drilling works for the welcoming center, which has been decided as part of environmental planning this year," Arslan said.

During these excavations, we have discovered a family grave in the region called Western Necropolis. 'Aristios', which is a name that was also used as surname at the time, was written on the cover of the grave," he said.

He noted that the grave belonged to a family of 21, and that the burial tools found in the area provided "important information on the rituals in Assos during the time of Hellenistic Era."

Arslan further said one of the family members was buried normally, while the remaining 20 were cremated and their ashes were placed inside urn-like vases.

"Following the cremation, the remaining bones, ashes were placed inside urn-like square vases… In efforts to prevent any foreign substance getting inside the urns, the lids were sealed off with cement," he added.

Arslan underscored that the newly-discovered family grave provides "valuable information" on burial traditions, the chronology and typology of ceramics from the Hellenistic era.

He also pointed to the importance of a 2,300-year-old grave reaching this day undamaged.