©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project

Mentese / Yenisehir

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Menteşe / Yenişehir
305 m
Investigation Method:


Location: This site lies east-northeast of the city of Bursa; 500 m southwest of the village of Mentese.
Geography and Environment: The mound is small and is reported to be 4x100 m in size. It has been partially blocked by the road to Selimiye. In the 1960's there was a stadia-rod on top of the mound. It is 25 km from the settlement of Ilipinar.
Research and Excavation: The site was researched in 1960 by J. Mellaart; in 1961 by D.H. French and in 1964 by C. Cullberg. The site was excavated in 1995-2000 with the scientific consultancy of J. Roodenberg who also conducted the Ilipinar excavations; and the directorship of T. Sevil from Iznik Museum. The excavations; of which the main goal was to recover the stratigraphy of the mound from the beginning; were carried out in a L-shaped sounding area. It takes place in the registered archaeological sites list prepared by Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Stratigraphy: It is reported that Roman and 2nd millennium B.C. material was mixed-up with prehistoric material 30 cm under the surface soil and this was caused by voles [Roodenberg 1999:22]. A sounding has shown tthat the cultural deposit of the settlement measures 5.5 m but the virgin soil has not been reached yet. Three layers have been identified for now: Layer 1; which was dated to the First Chalcolithic based on its similarities with Ilipinar VA; Layer 2; which is only represented by burnt deposits; and Layer 3 dating to the Late Neolithic.
Small Finds: Architecture: Layer 1: In an area close to the center of the mound; in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by stones; were found a hearth and a fire place. The presence of drainage channels dug into the earth for the rain and waste water is mentioned. Intensely burnt areas and stone piles were also encountered. Pottery: The sherds are hand-made and grit-tempered with gray-beige in color and well burnished surfaces. The identified forms are sharp carinated bowls; plates with thickened rims and flaring pots with two vertical handles. Ground Stone: It is suggested that thebeads found in a child burial might belong to a necklace [Roodenberg 1999:24; Alpaslan-Roodenberg - Maat 1999:39]. Human Remains: It is reported that all the burials of Mentese Höyük belong to Layer 1. Eight skeletons were recovered in the central part of the mound; three belongind to children and 5 to adults. The burials were placed in oval pits in hocker position with no specific orientation. The fact that; except for two coarse bows and the beads found in a child burial; no other burial gifts were encountered has shown that this tradition did not exist in the settlement [Roodenberg 1999:24]. According to the remains of decayed wood found under the head of a female burial it has been suggested that the burials may have been placed on wooden beams [Alpaslan-Roodenberg - Maat 1999:41]. It has also been recorded as an interesting evidence that a child burial has been placed facing a female burial [Alpaslan-Roodenberg - Maat 1999:39]. The majority of these burials are about 1.55 m in height and belong to the brakisefal race. There is not much difference between the heights of the males and the females. It has also been understood that most of them suffered from bone and joint diseases. It is reported that the teeth showtraces of both agricultural and hunter-gatherer diet [Alpaslan-Roodenberg - Maat 1999:41-42]. Animal Remains: It is reported that animal bones were encountered close to the burnt areas [Roodenberg 1999:23].
Interpretation and Dating: The site; which has the same environmental conditions with Ilipinar; provides finds that resemble IVA layer of lipinar. J. Roodenberg considers this similarity in pottery and burial customs as a natural result of the 25 km distance between two sites. The burials lying on woods in lipinar and Mentese are conspicuous because they are not known from Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures of Balkans and Anatolia [Alpaslan-Roodenberg - Maat 1999:41].

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