Özfırat, A., "The Early Iron Age Cemeteries of the Lake Van Basin: An Overview of Burial Tradition of pre-Urartian", Changes and Developments in Burial Customs in Eastern Anatolia-Southern Caucasus and its Vicinity from the Late Chalcolithic Period to the Late Iron Age, Proceedings of the Session organized at European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) 20th Annual Meeting (İstanbul, 10-14 September 2014), Eds. A. Özfırat, M. Işıklı, B. Genç, Türkiye Bilimler Akademisi Arkeoloji Dergisi (TÜBA-AR) Özel Sayı, Ankara: 149-185.
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The aim of this article is to evaluation of the burial tradition of pre-Urartians in the basin of Lake Van. After the Middle Bronze Age, which had a strong pastoral character, and towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, new pottery, architectural and metallurgical traditions, new settlement pattern and new burial customs emerged in the highland of eastern Anatolia in the Early Iron Age. One of the most remarkable changes is the settlement system, great numbers of fortresses and their cemeteries in the highlands and foothills have been recorded in eastern Anatolia which is also the case southern Caucasia and northwestern Iran. A ruling elite together with a hierarchical social structure and the steps towards the sedentary life started to form around the socio-economic centers, a lifeway between pastoralism and sedentary had taken place in the whole region. Lake Van Basin is the most investigated area, excavations at cemeteries of Ernis (Ünseli) Karagündüz, Yoncatepe, Dilkaya, and a great number of cemeteries which is mainly connected with the highland fortresses found in the survey represent the Early Iron Age burial tradition in the basin. The graves and stelae from Hakkari are quite remarkable finds of the pre-Urartian elite, or the rulers of Uruatri and Nairi lands. This paper also emphasizes the role of Early Iron Age investigations in the basin which is important for the foundation period of the Urartian Kingdom as well as understanding the local polities of pre-Urartians.