Archaeologists in the Neolithic proto-city of Çatalhöyük site in modern-day Turkey have discovered a set of human-teeth pendants that are believed to date back to 6500 BC. It is now being said that since human-teeth jewelry is rare in the Near East, the discovery could shed important light into the funerary rituals and customs of the region.
Speaking about the discovery, researcher Scott Haddow of the University of Copenhagen who led the Çatalhöyük excavation along with an international team of archaeologists said that the teeth seem to have belonged to middle-aged adults. He further added that it is highly possible that at least two of them were possibly extracted postmortem.
Additionally, it was also found that out of all the teeth, two or three of them were in perfect condition with no signs of tooth damage, pointing to the fact that they were still perfectly healthy. Considering the condition of the teeth, researchers are now trying to determine if the teeth bearers were alive or dead at the time of their extraction.
The teeth, when discovered, were chiselled into a conical shape using a microdrill. It was also observed that the same instrument could also have been used to drill the neat holes at the conical tip of the teeth so that they could carry the teeth as pendants. According to Forbes, researchers also felt that the drill-work was probably done by trained professionals who understood the work.
Çatalhöyük, where the discovery was made, was occupied between 7100 and 5500 BC. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Research documents suggest that excavation work first began on the site in the 1960s. The site has, over time, become an important one to study Neolithic cultures and ways of life. Several domestic buildings have been found on the site along with ornamental objects depicting or derived from animals teeth or bones, suggesting that the place was once inhabited and fully functional. The site is also believed to have been witness to an evolved, egalitarian society.
(With inputs from agencies)