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Rock Shelter
300 m
Investigation Method:


Location: This site lies approximately 24 km southwest of the city of Antalya; 7-8 km north-northwest of the village of Beldibi (For a more detailed site location description; see Harmankaya-Tanindi 1996: Belbasi)
Geography and Environment: The rock shelter; formed in calcareous limestone; was named Belbasi after the closest town (For more detailed geographical information; see Harmankaya-Tanindi 1996: Belbasi).
Research and Excavation: Some chipped stone fragments and pot sherds that were found in a hole dug by the villagers to the right (?) of the rock-shelter were influential in Enver Bostanci's discovery of the Belbasi rock-shelter in 1959. Excavations led by Bostanci of Ankara University DTCF; Department of Prehistorical Archaeology were begun the following year. The dimensions of the only trench was 3.8x2.4 m. Excavations stopped after 160 cm beneath the surface because the director reports that the soil beneath this level was very hard and that no more chipped stone tools were appearing. A total of 13 different layers within 3 main strata were excavated although the differentiating criteria for the intermediate layers has not been clarified.
Stratigraphy: Stratification: Stratum I: The soil in this stratum is soft and contains decaying organic material. The upper most layer is mixed and yielded modern; Roman; Greek and Neolithic pottery because it was disturbed by the villagers. This cave must have been used as a place for lodging by hunters in different periods. The color of the soil of this top layer is black. Stratum II: The characteristics that distinguish this strata from the strata above it is the difference in soil color and the absence of pottery. The soil is still soft. The excavation director reports that the finds here date to the Epipalaeolithic. Stratum III: Even though we do not have detailed descriptions on the texture of the soil in this layer; we know that it is brown in color and that it is contemporaneous with Stratum II.
Small Finds: Chipped stone tools begin to appear much more frequently towards the bottom of Stratum I. Bostanci describes the chipped stone tool industry here as Belbasiyen. Along with worked bone points; awls and other bone tools probably used for leather working; many chipped stone tools characteristic of the Epipalaeolithic/Mesolithic Period such as true lunates; micro blades; micro burins; retouched backed blades and micro core nodules were found. It is interesting that teeth and other fragments of burned human bone were found together with burned animal bones. There is no notable difference in the chipped stone industry in Stratum II. This level yielded core scrapers; discoid and steep keeled side scrapers; end scrapers; angle burins; pyramidal cores; flake and blade points; lunates and other type micro-tools. There are few geometric microliths. The presence of bone awls suggests that other materials were also used in tool production. The subsistence of the cave dwellers included mountain goats; deer and wild pig. In addition to a partially burned human bones including a mandible; the frontal bone of a skull and fragments of a femur; some human long-bones with chipped stone blade cut marks were found. This evidence might suggest cannibalism. The microlith industry continues in the third stratum; called Belbasiyen III by Bostanci. There is hardly a difference in the chipped stone industry between this stratum and Stratum II; above. Along with microliths; this layer yielded long and thin backed blade points characteristic of the Upper Palaeolithic. The tools most representative of the Belbasi Rock Shelter Industry are tools made from cores; thin backed points; blade points; stemmed points and various types of burins. The chipped stone tools at this site have been made with more care than those at the Kumbucagi Rock Shelter. Analysis of the human bones revealed that the mandible probably belonged to an 18 year old girl [Bostanci 1963:256]. The excavation director believes that all the strata date to the beginning of the Epipalaeolithic/Mesolithic Period. Bostanci further theorizes that the inhabitants of the Kumbucagi Rock Shelter; 5 km away; moved to here to Belbasi in a rainy period between Kumbucagi Stratum D and C2 and developed a different chipped stone industry.
Interpretation and Dating:

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