Byzantine Animals at Yenikapı and Marmaray Excavations

Byzantine Animals at Yenikapı and Marmaray Excavations
The animal skeleton remains uncovered during the Yenikapı metro and Marmaray excavations began to be exhibited in the new building of the Osteoarchaeology Museum of the Istanbul University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Avcılar. The animal skeletons obtained from the excavations carried out under 2004 under the supervision of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums Directorate. Dr. It was examined by a team headed by Vedat Onar. Excavations of animal species belonging to 55 species were determined.
Many ancient shipwrecks and animal skeletal remains were found during the Marmaray Project at Yenikapı Station. Excavations have been carried out since the 2004 as metro and Marmaray. 58 excavation works on a thousand square meters area were completed in Marmarin section in 2013.
A large number of animal bones were found in the excavations, especially the skeleton remains of horses, sheep, cattle and pigs scattered throughout the area, along with numerous archaeological finds. According to the radiocarbon dating in 2008, skeletal remains belong to Early Byzantine (4.-7. Century) to Late Byzantine (15. Century). The highest number of horses (Equus caballus L.) and cattle, sheep, goat pig, donkey, dog, red deer and camel fossils were found in the excavation. A large number of birds (Aves sp.) And the remains of marine creatures were also reached. It was determined that some of the bones consumed were a part of the consumption surplus of dead animals. Particularly in the cattle, sheep and goat skulls, traces of cuts for brain extraction are important for reflecting the offal consumption culture.


The Yenikapı excavation area is of great importance in terms of being the only place in the world that has such intense Byzantine horses. The horsemen were the backbone of the Byzantine Empire. Hippodrome in Sultanahmet Square also points to the importance of the horse. In Byzantine, horses were taken advantage of as a multidimensional, especially the attraction and carrying power. However, according to the pathological findings, it was understood that the horses were not paid much attention. For example, the problems in the back caused by faulty riding and the damage caused to the mouth as a result of bad ship practices have been widely observed. These findings are also important for reflecting the care and rearing conditions of horses.
The Yenikapı excavation area includes many species from deer species to wildcock, camels, elephants, fish and caretta. We offer a rich collection of pets. Especially the size and types of Byzantine dogs allow us to understand the past breeds and types of dogs. When the dog skeletons are examined, it is understood that they are mesocephalic type medium and small size dogs. In close relation with city life, it is seen that dogs have an important place in people's lives.

Although Yenikapı metro and Marmaray excavations will be completed by 2013, laboratory studies will continue for many years.



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