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Flat Settlement and Cemetery
145 m
Investigation Method:


Location: It lies at Karaagaç Tarla Mevkii; 1-2 km northeast of the Ovabayindir Village; 15 km south of Kepsut; some 20 km southeast [Bittel 1955:113] of the Balikesir Province. Although it should have been named Karaagaç Tarla; it was named after the nearest village as Ovabayindir. Some maps refer to the village as Bayindirköy. Therefore; the settlement is cited as Bayindirköy in some publications.
Geography and Environment: The find spot lies in the middle of a wide plain and to the north of it flows the Degirmen stream. To the south of it is the Hula Mountain and on the hills to the northwest is the village of Yenice. Ovabayindir consists of an EBA cemetery and a flat settlement near the cemetery. The area excavated is near the cemetery of the modern village. The cemetery has been severely damaged. It is noted that many of the items left as grave goods were divided to several collectors as a result of the destructions and illicit diggings.
Research and Excavation: It was discovered in 1936 by J. Stewart [Stewart 1940:261]; and a salvage excavation was carried out in 1956 by E. Akurgal [Akurgal 1958:156-162].
Stratigraphy: A precise interpretation is not possible about the stratification as the cemetery has been severely damaged. The flat settlement near the cemetery can; yet uncertain; also be considered as a single phased settlement of EBA.
Small Finds: Architecture: The area considered as a flat settlement yielded a severely damaged construction; almost having a rectangular form on a stone foundation. Human Remains: Disturbed pithos graves were uncovered in the cemetery. Information about the graves is very restricted. It is noted that there are big pithoi identical to the ones at the cemeteries of Yortan-Gelembe and Babaköy. Intact vessels were recovered as grave goods; and they were published by Schiek-Fischer. Pottery is burnished in black and gray shades; sometimes washed. Forms of deep and flat bowls with carinated unrolled rims; spouted pitchers and pedestals are common. Among the spouted pitchers; swan-necked samples are amazing. Some of the vessels bear incision and plastic decorations. Intersecting lines and chevron patterns are common. Among them; zoomorphic vessels are preserved at private collections. One of them is conserved at the collection of Prehistoric Archaeology Department of the University of Istanbul. Among the grave goods; metallic finds are very interesting. Some of the finds in arsenic copper recovered from the graves of Ovabayindir were published in 1955 by Bittel [Bittel 1955:113-118]; some in 1957 by Stronach [Stronach 1957:89-94] and a few by Schiek-Fischer [Schiek- Fischer 1965:fig.23-24]. Among them there is a lot of small daggers/pocket knives only produced as grave goods. Their size varies between 6 and 15 cm. Besides four-cornered rod-handle types; crooked types were also produced. The presence of very small rivet holes exposes the method of hanging some of the daggers into timber and horn rod handles. Similarities of the dagger/pocket knives reveal that such daggers were found in the Aegean; Northwestern Anatolia and Central Anatolia regions. A beautiful sample of this type is an axe with a crescentric edge considered to be found at the Ovabayindir cemetery and now conserved at the collection of Prehistoric Archaeology; University of Istanbul. Considered as being used for the ceremonies rather than having functional features like cutting and dismantling; the axe is attached to the rod handle as follows; the long rod handle in timber is cut through; and then the endpoint of the axe is inserted into the crack and fixed with a rivet. The tanged wings of the axe are also inserted into this handle by its endpoints. Two pieces of copper/bronze flat axe/adze recovered [Bittel 1955:fig.2-3] together with other metallic finds indicate how the Yortan Culture was developed in mining. Two samples proved that rod handled pierced stone axes and hammers were also left as grave goods into the graves [Bittel 1955:fig.8-9]. They were made of coil with a very qualified labour. Some finds; probably; were smuggled. A spoon in bone included in the finds is among the most developed types of bone spoons of the Neolithic Age in the Northwestern Anatolia. It is obvious that among the pierced small stone objects claimed to be head of spindle whorls and related to the weaving industry in the archaeological literature all the time; mini-sized ones can be utilized as spindle whorls. The ones with decorations; probably; were used as knobs.
Interpretation and Dating: The finds of Ovabayindir are dated to the Yortan Culture which covers the area of Balikesir-Manisa region. Identical finds were recovered at the cemeteries of Babaköy and Yortan-Gelembe. D. Stronach dates the metallic finds to 2500-2200 BC depending on the similarities of dagger/pocket-knives. Likewise; the Yortan Culture is dated back to EBA II and early phase of III. The cemetery should be re-excavated and burial practices should be defined in detail.

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