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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Tomb 3: young adult female. Her head and knees are supported by small limestone blocks in order to place her body in a comfortable position.
The burial of a child (tomb 2). The structure is consisted of a roof and walls in tiles, while the bottom consist of smaller tile and limestone fragments.

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Francois-Xavier Ricaut

Paleoanthropology: August 12-25, 2007

The overall aim of the interdisciplinary analysis of the human remains from Sagalassos is the reconstruction of the history of the human population(s) living in Sagalassos during the first millennium A.D. During the 2007 campaign, our researches have continued in this direction through a work performed in three different ways.

First, we undertook new excavation in the Apollo Klarios area in order to excavate in a rigorous way new graves and increase the Sagalassos population sample size. This work revealed seven burials, including 6 simple (burials 1 to 6) and one double, containing a woman and a child (burial 7). Preliminary results showed that two men (around 20 years and 35 to 45 years old) were buried in the north part of the excavated area, close to the church, indicating the higher social status of these individuals compared to the others deceased. Indeed, all other individuals were buried in graves more distant from the church and included only women (two women between 20 and 30 years old, and one woman over 30 years old) and three children (two around 12 months +/- 6 months years old and one of 6 years +/- 2 years old).


A young adult male buried in Tomb 5. The position of the right arm, touching the shoulder and the left arm laid over the stomach, is a feature we encountered in different grave structures.

Second, we collected around 100 bone/tooth samples in order to perform ancient DNA, isotopic, and carbon 14 analysis. These analyses will take place in the Center for Archaeological Sciences (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium) or associated laboratories. The Carbon 14 analyses will allow to obtain reliable dates that should allow us to identify the chronological pattern of inhumations. The analysis of Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contained in the human remains will allow us to determine the diet of the Sagalassos population, by making the difference between (i) marine and terrestrial resources, (ii) animal and vegetal resources, and (iii) plants in C3 (temperate grasses, trees, fruits, tubers) and C4 (arid adapted plants such as millet, soghum, and wheat). Through these analyses we will be able to determine the evolution of the Sagalassos population's diet and find any hierarchy in the access of resources (correlated to anthropological data (sex, age, DNA result, etc.), topographic data (location of the graves) and period of inhumation). The analysis of strontium (Sr) should provide information on the mobility of the population buried in Sagalassos. Indeed, the strontium fixed in some part of the body (bones or late erupted teeth) may be evidence of the place of death and the strontium fixed in early erupted teeth of the place of birth.

Finally, the DNA sampling and analysis from all the new individuals excavated during the 2007 campaign at the Apollo Klarios will provide us new data in order to increase the size of the Sagalassos population for which we already have DNA results, and complete the preliminary results already obtained which are in press in a book entitled Peuplement de la Méditerranée: Synthese et questions d'Avenir (published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt).

Third, we completed the anthropological study of the human remains excavated during the previous campaign, focusing on the dental pathology and nonmetric cranial discrete traits. This last feature, allow to investigate the origin and biological history of the inhabitants of Sagalassos and, at a larger scale, of this region's settlements. The results will be compared to those obtained from the DNA analysis.

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