Figurine funerary offerings found in child jar burials at Tenedos

Archaeologists from the Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University’s Archaeology Department have uncovered figurines in a necropolis on the Turkish island of Tenedos.

During antiquity, Tenedos was an island polis first mentioned in Homer’s Iliad (written in the 8th century BC) and later in Virgil’s Aeneid (written in the 1st century BC).

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The earliest occupation dates from the Early Bronze Age II, with traces of settlement by the Ancient Greeks due to its strategic location at the entrance of the Dardanelles.

Over the following centuries, the island fell under the control of various regional powers, such as the Persian Empire, the Delian League, Alexander the Great’s empire, the Attalid kingdom, the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, before eventually passing to the Republic of Venice.

Recent excavations in the island’s Bozcaada district of Çanakkale have uncovered child burials placed in jar graves, a tradition likely influenced by pre-archaic adult jar burials from the island of Lesbos.

Accompanying the child burials are figurines and funerary offerings, with some displaying Dionysiac themes linked to the worship of Dionysus. Among them, two figurines portray dancers adorned with Phrygian headdresses, while one depicts a woman playing a lyre.

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Excavations also found six terracotta figurines and a horse-foot-shaped bronze pin placed as funerary offerings for the dead.

Ömer Can Yıldırım, the deputy head of the excavations, told Hürriyet Daily News: “In the necropolis area, we identified an area previously unknown in the archaeological literature and limited as a children’s burial area. The structure we define as a Pithos grave, one of the graves found in this area, has the feature of a ‘pithos within a pithos,’ which was previously unknown in archaeological data.”

Header Image Credit: IHA

Sources : Hürriyet Daily News

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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