The majority of pots featured bitumen residues. Sağlamtimur believes bitumen was most likely part of a burial ritual or was applied to prevent secondary use of the pots.
Tens of thousands of beads made of mountain crystal and other types of stones were also recovered from the burials.
"The gaming pieces, thousands of beads, hundreds of complete pots and metal artifacts indicate those graves were not ordinary burials but most probably belonged to individuals of a ruling class," Sağlamtimur said.
Radio carbon dating traced the grave goods back to 3100-2900 B.C., confirming the Early Bronze Age stylistic features of the items and the advanced technological level of the local population.
"The graves contained metal artifacts, ceramic finds and seals with different attributes and influences which indicate the local people were in close relationship with their surrounding cultural regions," Sağlamtimur said.
By the mid of the 4000 B.C., when the first great cities of history sprung up in Mesopotamia, the influence of the South Mesopotamia Uruk culture spread to the surrounding regions.
Significant differences emerged between the western communities of the Syrian-Turkish Euphrates Valley and the eastern settlements of the Al Jazira, the river plain of Mesopotamia which encompasses northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria.
In the western communities the urbanization process was halted, while clans with warrior leaders announced their power through complex funerary rites and burials rich with metal and weapons.
Meanwhile, the urbanization process continued in the eastern settlements with the development of a new culture called Ninivite 5. Like the Uruk culture, Ninivite 5 did not pay great attention to the funerary rites and burials were not particularly rich with artifacts.
"The findings at Başur Höyük add to our knowledge as they reveal a coexistence of traditions and a continuity of relationships between the settlements in the northern mountains and the Mesopotamia sites," Marcella Frangipane, a professor of prehistoric archaeology at Rome's La Sapienza, told Discovery News.
Frangipane is the director of excavations at Arslantepe, a remote site near the town of Malatya and the source of the Euphrates in south-eastern Turkey, some 250 miles west from Başur Höyük.
"The study of these findings, along with other discoveries in east-Anatolian sites, will allow us to reconstruct a new history of this region which is indeed the meeting point of the most ancient Near East civilizations," Frangipane said.