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The number of graves in the children’s cemetery unearthed during archaeological excavations in Diyarbakır has increased to 60

Last year, 54 graves of children between the ages of 0-6 were unearthed during archaeological excavations in an area thought to be an old quarry in Diyarbakır’s Kulp district. In this year’s excavations, archaeologists uncovered 6 more graves, bringing the total to 60 graves.

Following the discovery of coins from the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I period during the survey in İnkaya Neighborhood, the remains of a 1500-year-old church were unearthed during the excavations started by the Diyarbakır Museum Directorate in 2021.

Last year, 54 graves belonging to children between the ages of 0-6 were found during excavations in the region.

The number of graves in the children's cemetery unearthed during archaeological excavations in Diyarbakır has increased to 60

Archaeologists reached 6 more graves during the excavations that started again in June. The bones found in the graves were preserved in the excavation house of the Museum Directorate.

The excavations are expected to continue until the end of the year if the climatic conditions permit.

The number of graves in the children's cemetery unearthed during archaeological excavations in Diyarbakır has increased to 60

When the 54 graves were discovered, anthropologist Dr. Nazlı Akbaş told the Turkish news agency AA.

“Since there was a culture of ‘saints’ and ‘martyrs’ in early Byzantium, in-settlement burials in churches can be the case. In this area, which we call the quarry, only graves of infants and children between the ages of 0 and 6 were found.”

The number of graves in the children's cemetery unearthed during archaeological excavations in Diyarbakır has increased to 60

“Anemia was a very common disease for this period and this geography. But there is no sign of an epidemic that we observed in all of them. We think that the burial of infants in this area is related to the baptismal culture in the early Byzantine period of Christianity. In early Christianity, it was usually adults who were baptized. After the 10th century, it was legalized that children should be baptized. We think that these belong to the early Christian period. Therefore, they are unbaptized babies and children who are not yet Christians. Since they were not baptized, we think that they may have been buried outside the church rather than inside the church.”

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