Red deer skeleton found in Turkey's Van
VAN – Anadolu AgencyExcavation work in the eastern province of Van’s Çavuştepe Castle, which was built by Urartian King Sardur II, has unearthed the skeleton of a red deer.
Excavations in the castle, which was built 26 kilometers away from the city center some 2,800 years ago and has survived with its walls, cisterns, the world’s first sewage system, temples and palace structures, have been continuing since 2014 under the inspection of Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYU) Archaeology Department head Associated Prof. Rafet Çavuşoğlu, who said they had found skeleton fragments besides other artifacts during the work in the castle last season.
He said finding bones of wild animals was a surprise for them, and continued:
“The skeletons of many various wild animals have been found. Among them the most striking is the skeleton of a red deer. This is the first time that we found fragments of skeletons from the Iron Age in the Van basin. They were used to make tools or accessories.”
Çavuşoğlu said it was significant that the bones were from 2,800 years ago, adding, “Thanks to the pieces, we can say that wild animals lived in the Urartian geography. We see that most of the animals from that era are extinct today. We will continue working this year and try to open the castle to tourism.”
YYU Anthropology Department academic Hakan Yılmaz also confirmed the most important finding was the skeleton of the red deer.
“We sent the findings to the Arizona University Anthropology Department’s academic Prof. Mary Stiner, one of the leading academics in the world in the field of wild animals. She verified that the bones belonged to a red deer. We also saw that the mountain sheep that lived here had more similarities with Iranian sheep than Anatolian sheep,” Yılmaz said.