A cat skeleton from the balatlar church excavation, sinop, Turkey
AuthorSıddıq, Abu Bakar
Öncü, Öğül Emre
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In the 2015 excavation season, an east–west oriented burial (2015-Grave-14) built with large dimension stone blocks was unearthed on the south edge of “Area IVi” at the Balatlar Church in Sinop, on the northeastern Black Sea coast of Turkey. In this grave, which is dated between the end of the 6th century AD and the first half of the 7th century AD, a human skeleton was found with the head to the west and a cat skeleton was carefully placed next to the right femur. This study on the burial and the cat skeleton within it shows that, compared to the Roman period, the status of cats reached a higher level during the Byzantine period. It was found that alongside of being a pet, the Balatlar cat was a young healthy female individual that instinctively hunted rodents and birds, given that the remains of a rat and a sparrow were found in the region of the abdominal cavity, corresponding with the stomach location in the living animal. The grave presents the most significant direct archaeological evidence of a pet–human bond recorded at any Byzantine site so far.