Evidences for Social Structure and Ritual Practices from Körtik Tepe at the Beginning of Settled Life

Author(s): Marion Benz; Vecihi Özkaya; Kurt W. Alt

Year: 2015


Until the end of the 1990s, southeastern Turkey was considered a secondary center of Neolithisation. However, excavations in the context of the Ilisu Dam project have shown that there was a long local tradition of permanent settlement since at least the Epipaleolithic. Evidences from Körtik Tepe indicate strong commitments to the site and to households. Social and emotional relationships were consolidated by intense ritual behavior, including burials beneath house floors, the increasing use of body adornments, and rich symbolism. Some decorated objects and burial rites were highly standardized. Many of the dead were buried in a hocker position with their head pointing to the north/northeast. However, despite the enhanced materialization, and the differentiation and institutionalization of social identities, some behaviors resisted or denied these changes. Many valuable objects were deliberately destroyed to cover the dead bodies or to serve as "offerings" for the dead, though no true ancestor cult can be discerned. It seems that the people of Körtik Tepe were on the threshold of the institutionalization and objectification of social roles and ritual behavior, but basically were still hunter-gatherers and fishermen intimately embedded in their natural environment.

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Cite this Record

Evidences for Social Structure and Ritual Practices from Körtik Tepe at the Beginning of Settled Life. Marion Benz, Kurt W. Alt, Vecihi Özkaya. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395683)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;