©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project


Babaköy

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Babaköy
Type:
Cemetery
Altitude:
450 m
Region:
Marmara
Province:
Balikesir
District:
Bigadiç
Village:
Babaköy
Investigation Method:
Excavation
Period:
EBA II

     


Location: It is situated 4 km north of the Babaköy Village; 9-10 km northwest of the Bigadiç District; south-southeast of the Balikesir Province. It is about 50 km far from the cemetery of Yortan-Gelembe. Kökten named the cemetery as Babaköy Baspinar.
Geography and Environment: The cemetery; severely damaged; was established on a triangular highland at Baspinar Mevkii; west of the Kazandere which flows into the Simav Çayi. The area is wider on the north and northeast directions. The cemetery covers an area of 80x35 m. including the unexcavated areas; it is believed to contain around 150 pieces of pithos [Özgüç 1948:52]. The graves that were revealed were lined up in two sections. No pithos graves were placed in the center. The limestone on the surface of the center probably did not allow any digging in that area.
History:
Research and Excavation: Babaköy was excavated by K. Bittel and J. Stewart for salvage purposes in 1936. During the survey conducted in 1936; K. Kökten examined five more graves revealed as a result of the illicit diggings.
Stratigraphy: The excavations suggested that Babaköy is an EBA cemetery. K. Kökten states that there is a cemetery and a flat settlement from Classical Period covering a wide area next to the Babaköy cemetery. On the other hand; K. Bittel claims that the northeastern part of the EBA cemetery was again used as a cemetery during the Late Rome-Early Byzantian Periods and the people of EBA cemetery probably resided in the upper part of the plateau. The flat settlement of EBA must be researched when there are no crops in the field. The preliminary survey prior to the excavation in 1936 helped marking the findspots of the pithos graves; found by the treasure hunters and the local villagers; on a site plan. The sherds recovered as a result of the illicit diggings were evaluated as well. The excavation under K. Bittel and J. Stewart yielded only one intact pithos.
Small Finds: Chipped Stone: The grave number 5 revealed a flaking tool made of flint. It is not thought as a grave good. Human Remains: The cemetery yielded mainly pithos graves. There are only two cist graves. All the pithoi were laid on one side; head facing the east. Their openings were capped by big flat stones; and the mouths were filled with small stones [Özgüç 1948:18]. The graves were buried very shallow; the upper portion of the lids is near the surface. During the cultivation of the land; the lids were noticed so that the cemetery was discovered. They house one or more than one burial. In the double burials; the second is suggested to be buried later. This demonstrates that they were reopened when required. Bittel classifies the pithoi in two groups; with and without lugs. Their paste is very sandy and coarse. Exterior surfaces are washed in dark red and reddish brown. They are moderately fired and inelaborately shaped. Probably they were built for burial purposes only; not for daily use. Adult graves are 185 cm high; with a body diameter of 100 cm; and rim diameter of 70-80 cm. An infants' grave measures not more than 90 cm in height. Two cist graves were erected by big flat stones and capped with the same sized stones. They house single burials lying on their back. The skeletons were analyzed by J.L. Angel. Grave Goods: The gifts were left both inside and outside the grave. Vast majority of the pottery recovered from Babaköy is very well burnished and washed in black. Spouted pitchers; three footed or low based vessels (with small lugs); forms of lids (sometimes with pierced lugs); long necked; globular vessels (lugs attached on all sides) and pedestal like vessels are the usual forms. For decoration; spouted pitchers are painted in white. Others forms are decorated with incisions on the rim and the body. In the grave XIV; a spindle-whorl; a decorated figurine and a horn-like object came to light. The graves found by K. Kökten revealed similar objects. It is amazing not to recover any metallic finds although it is usual to have plenty of them in the other cemeteries of the Yortan culture. It is probable that the metallic finds were taken by the treasure hunters.
Remains:
Interpretation and Dating: Babaköy people capped their graves tightly with stone lids in order to prevent any plundering and disturbance of the dead. However; they left marks to know the spot of their graves. The graves are more or less in a good order. The cemetery of Babaköy is dated to the Yortan culture which covers the vicinity of Balikesir-Manisa. Similar finds (excluding horn-like objects) were found in the cemeteries of Ovabayindir and Yortan-Gelembe. K. Bittel stated that the burying in this cemetery started at EBA I and continued during EBA II [Bittel 1939:30]. Yortan culture is dated from the EBA II - early EBA III; and is compared with Troy I and II.


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