British archaeologist Sam Hardy, according to a post at Human Rights Archaeology, has visited the possible Armenian Genocide mass grave in Eastern Turkey that was first covered up by the Turkish military and later manipulated by the Turkish Historical Society and proclaimed a “Roman site.”

Photo: Yusuf Halacoglu, mastermind of Mardin mass grave manipulation

Linking to our April 25, 2007 update, Human Rights Archaeology reminds that the Kurdish newspaper that reported in Fall 2006 the finding of the mass grave was closed down, and Swedish researcher David Gaunt wasted an entire week in Turkey just to find out (and soon refuse further cooperation) that the possible Armenian skeletons had been cleaned up by official Turkish historians. 

Hardy’s post confirms that the mass grave has been destroyed.  Here are some excerpts from the post.

This post followed a visit to the formerly Roman family tomb, latterly Armenian mass grave, recently destroyed and covered up by the Turkish military with the help of the Turkish Historical Society.

At 10.10pm on the 17th of May 2007, I recorded that,

I visited my first mass grave today, my first nationalist-archaeologist-allied-with-the-military-destroyed mass grave, too; now that‘s negative heritage tourism.

It was the allegedly – to me, fairly definitely – Armenian (or other Other) mass grave in Kuru/Xirabebaba, for the reporting of which Ülkede Özgür Gündem was shut down and on the excavation of which David Gaunt refused to work.


All of the Roman resting places seemed empty and all of the diagnostic bones from the top of the stack in the centre had gone; only a few long bones and one jaw fragment appeared to have remained.

If it were natural factors that had reburied or degraded “all” of the remains after the reopening of the tomb, it [they] would have to have been exceptional conditions, to have covered the material on top without covering the material beneath that, or to have been such caustic rain, etc., to have decomposed the material on top entirely without leaving any identifiable wear or residue on the material beneath.


After this site visit, I made my way to a long-ruined, possibly earthquake-“broken” ancient site, which villagers called a church…

When I had discussed the burial site with locals, they had been divided on whether they thought it was a mass grave or not. A few of the men who thought it was a mass grave said that it was destroyed to hide the evidence and commented that, ‘that’s what they’re doing to us’.

They agreed that the Turkish military was working on the assumption that, ‘if there isn’t a body, there isn’t a crime’. (There are, however, hopes that the, ‘no body, no crime’ principle could be outmanoeuvred by developments in forensic archaeology, either through DNA testing of remianing bone fragments or even by identifying traces in the soil, although these would still be dependent upon the potential victims’ descendant community being able to be identified and being willing to cooperate in the process.)

The logic of the “impartial joint excavation” of the mass grave falan falan falan is similar to that of the “impartial joint commission” on the history of the Armenian Genocide.

It is different though; beyond the futility of a joint commission with deniers who aren’t scientists anyway, the erasure of the evidence puts scientists in the position of helping their opponents “prove” their case by their inability to prove their own.