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18 August 2010
New excavations at Ikiztepe, Turkey

The next round of excavations have started at the Ikiztepe site, in a district of the city of Samsun, in northern Turkey, on the shores of the Black Sea. Excavations first started in 1940 and, to date, over 11,000 artifacts have been discovered. The site has mainly yielded finds from the Bronze Age (3000 - 2000 BCE) and the Hittite era (1900 - 1800 BCE) and it is believed that the site was occupied up until 1700 BCE.
     One point of particular interest is the fgact that there have been several skulls excavated (690 sketons with skulls, so far), a few of which (eight) show signs of having undergone some form of surgical operation. This supposition is bolstered by the recent find of a piece of obsidian (volcanic glass) which may have been used as a surgical instrument. The skulls have a high significance as they show that the occupiers of the site were from areas around southern Russia and Bulgaria, rather than of Mediterranean origin.
     The team leader, Professor Onder Bilgi, of Instanbul University Archaeology Department, is quoted as saying "Last year significant artworks were found, revealing the cultural developmentin the region. We also had a chance to profile the layers of the early Bronze Age. Two furnaces and two graves have been unearthed so far". The furnaces confirm that the occupiers were well versed in mining and weapon manufacture, using a mixture of copper and arsenic in their metalworking for both weapons and jewelry.
     The current round of excavations will continue until 10th September this year.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News (28 July 2010)

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