Animal bones unearthed during Marmaray excavations to be displayed at museum

Animal bones unearthed during Marmaray excavations to be displayed at museum

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Animal bones unearthed during Marmaray excavations to be displayed at museum

The Osteoarchaeology Museum, opened under the auspices of Istanbul University showcases animal bones. AA photo

The bones of 54 types of centuries-old animals that were unearthed in Yenikapı during the Marmaray Metro construction project are set to put on display at Istanbul’s Osteoarchaeology Museum.

The Osteoarchaeology Museum, which opened for the first time in Turkey under the auspices of Istanbul University (IU) to showcase animal bones unearthed in archaeological excavations, will be home to pieces from the Marmaray excavations.

IU Veterinary Faculty Professor Vedat Onar said they had examined the bones unearthed during excavations initiated by the Istanbul Archaeology Museums in 2004, adding that the excavations had been conducted on an area of 58,000 square meters.

Total of 54 types of animal bones

“We have so far examined more than 60,000 bones. Some 54 types of animals have been found. We have chosen the bones that will be displayed at the museum from among 60,000 pieces,” he said.
Onar said they would try to display the pieces at the museum as much as possible.

“In the excavation area, discoveries dating back 8,500 years ago were unearthed. We have also reached discoveries from the Neolithic period at the least. In our works, we are trying to find out the consumption habits of societies living there, about the animal population and how [the animals] were treated. The results that we have so far show that there was a strict tie between animals and people in the Byzantine era,” Onar said. “I have been participating in excavations for years, but I have never seen an area where there are so many animal bones. We are talking about 54 types of animals – an incredible population. We have seen lots of bones other than cats, lions of tigers. This is most interesting. We have determined the bones of an elephant that does not exist in Turkey now, as well as big mackerel,” he said.

Opening on April 30

Onar said the museum would be opened with new pieces from IU Rector Professor Yunus Söylet on April 30. He said they had shared the discoveries with the scientific world, adding that even though the excavations had been completed, works were continuing in a laboratory. “These discoveries could also contribute to DNA work.” Some of the animal types that have been found in the excavation area and will be displayed at the museum include horses, donkeys, mules, cows, sheep, goats, buffaloes, cats, dogs, boars, deer, gazelles, bears, rabbits, chickens, cranes, vultures, pelicans, storks, swordfish, caretta caretta, monkeys, elephants, camels and others.