Mysterious Burial Ritual Unearthed in Ancient Sagalassos

EnglishTurkey, History, Archaeology32 ReadShare

In the course of excavating a necropolis at the historic site of Sagalassos in southwest Türkiye, an archaeological team made a startling discovery - an enigmatic and profoundly eerie tomb. This unique burial site held the cremated remains of an adult male who lived between A.D. 100 and 150, and it was treated with extraordinary care and attention.

Traditionally, after an individual underwent cremation, the resulting bones, ash, and remnants were placed within an urn and laid to rest in a separate location. However, in this extraordinary case, the pyre was promptly sealed using bricks and covered by a thick layer of lime. Intriguingly, there were additional elements to this burial that added to its mystique - a bronze coin and over 40 nails were scattered around the cremated remains. Researchers postulate that these nails were strategically placed in the grave as protective charms, intended to ward off malevolent forces and anchor the spirit of the deceased to the earthly realm. The bricks and lime enveloping the grave may have served as an extra safeguard, ensuring that the departed soul could not return to harm the living.

Archaeologist Johan Claeys from KU Leuven remarks, "None of these burial practices have been witnessed in any other excavated graves at Sagalassos. This can only be interpreted as a purposeful endeavor to influence the destiny of the departed individual.

Nails
The Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project, KU Leuven

Source: https://www.archaeology.org/issues/524-2309/digs/11641-digs-discoveries-turkey-sagalassos-undead

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