Urban settlement from 3,500 B.C. discovered in central Anatolian province

The oldest city-like settlement in Anatolia to date was discovered in archaeological digs in Eskişehir, in the Küllüoba Mound, dating back to 3,200 B.C. Human and animal skeletons older than five millennia have been uncovered, reported Turkish news agency DHA on Monday.

Dr. Murat Türkteki from the archaeological team said they retrieved two human skeletons and seeds from the medicinal plant erysimum cheiri preserved in a pot.

Türkteki said it is possible to see traces of life in the dig site for 1,300 years, between 3,200 and 1,950 B.C., and that the settlement is on a trade route that reaches from Mesopotamia to the Balkans.

The first dig in the area started in 1996, and important Bronze Age artefacts have been discovered since.

The city layout shows an uptown and downtown, so to speak: Terraced houses and public buildings with shared courtyards for the ruling classes in the uptown area, useful for defence, and dwellings in downtown. 

There were also some 20 grave sites in the area, likely where women and children are buried, and two human skeletons have been excavated. The DNA test results will not arrive before at least a year, but the skeletons belong to 2 to 4 year old and 13 to 15 year old children. Dr. Türkteki said DNA testing would provide insight into family origins, life at the time, the diseases the locals encountered, how long they lived, and how they ate.

Anthropologists, zooarchaeologists, archaeobotanists and archaeologists from Turkey, Japan, Germany and Italy work together on the ancient site.