BAR 34:02, Mar/Apr 2008
Built into the soft limestone hills near Myra, on the southeastern coast of modern-day Turkey, these Lycian tombs (fifth–fourth century B.C.) emulate the look of wooden Lycian homes.
This is not an accident. The Lycians, departing from neighboring Greek traditions, integrated their burial sites directly into their settlements, keeping the dead as close to home as possible. There is evidence of cults of ancestor veneration surrounding these tombs. When Lycian tombs were not integrated into cities, they were placed along the coast and at the top of cliffs so that the souls of the deceased would be well positioned for transport to the afterlife by a winged creature who resided on the rocky shore.