Radical Death and Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East

Radical Death

  • Latest News
  • Project Update. Radical Death December 2019

    It has been a very successful six months for the Radical Death project, as various strands of analysis begin to coalesce. It has been a busy autumn, as different aspects of both the biomolecular research and the theoretical underpinning of such research in a much larger sense have been explored in seminars, conference papers, and panel discussions. Additionally, new opportunities for expanding the impact of research at Başur Höyük arrived with the awarding of a grant from the British Institute at Ankara. Field excavations at Başur Höyük itself were wrapped up in September of this year, marking the end of more than a decade of active excavation but hopefully the beginning of several new projects that will carry on the research.

    Last spring, we began a new programme of finds-processing based training with a selected group of Ege University graduate students. Supported by a BIAA grant, the students learned how to process, preserve, and curate human remains. This project was designed to ensure that the skill set needed to preserve the research potential of the human remains from Başur was firmly embedded within the Prehistory Department at Ege, and within the archaeological practice that graduates of the department will develop in their careers. In order to emphasize the importance of integrating anthropological research best practice into archaeological research planning, the students were asked to present on different aspects of the skills they had learned at a special workshop, held in October of this year.

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    Worshop Poster

    Project Update. Radical Death June 2019

    We are extremely pleased to announce that Dr Hassett has been awarded a British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) study grant to extend the impact of the Radical Death project to include conservation and finds training for graduate students and undergraduates at Ege University. The BIAA has supported several aspects of research at the site of Başur Höyük, and this marks a new stage: using the material culture of Başur Höyük to train the next generation of archaeologists.

    Anthropology Team
Graduate Students from Ege University working on Başur Höyük projects (L-R): Öznur Özmen Batıhan, İnan Aydoğan, Muhammed Dolmuş, Pinar Dolmuş.

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  • Project Update: Radical Death. December, 2018

    The Radical Death project investigates the introduction of radical death and burial practices using the lens of excavations at Basur Hoyuk on the Upper Tigris region at the break of the 3rd millennium BC. The AHRC funded project kicked off with the publication of the retainer burial discovered on site in the journal Antiquity in late June of 2018 (Hassett & Saǧlamtimur, 2018). This received a gratifying amount of attention in the press, both in Turkey and abroad, with English language coverage in Newsweek, CNN, the Daily Mail, Daily Sabah, Live Science,  and other outlets, and Turkish language coverage in Milleyet, Haberturk, and many other daily news outlets. Co-I Dr Hassett also met with the Rector of Ege University along with excavation director Prof. Saǧlamtimur, and received a message of support for the continued cooperation of Ege University and the project partners.

    Image of skeletons laid out in successive grids.
    Figure 1. Two-level reconstruction of Grave 16, mass death pit.

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