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Ray Jones 01-22-2009 03:16 PM

Gobekli Tepe
Probably rather old news due to the fact that this was discovered in 1964 already (but dismissed until 1994), it's pretty awesome stuff though:

"Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple."

"To Schmidt and others, these new findings suggest a novel theory of civilization. Scholars have long believed that only after people learned to farm and live in settled communities did they have the time, organization and resources to construct temples and support complicated social structures. But Schmidt argues it was the other way around: the extensive, coordinated effort to build the monoliths literally laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies."

Full article here.

Det. Bart Lasiter 01-22-2009 07:45 PM

rayston keep me updated on this if they find out it can fire lasers or summon aliens like in that one movie

mimartin 01-23-2009 12:05 PM

Very interesting article, I don’t know enough about early civilizations to carry on an intelligent conversation on the theory.

The most interesting thing I find about this entire story that it was discovered in the 1960’s, but dismissed as just a medieval cemetery. Since the discovery was briefly mention it the original discoverers researchers’ report, Schmidt was able to reexamine the location and determine the site is more important than merely a medieval cemetery. This minor note in a around 30 year old researchers’ report may change our very idea as to how we got to where we are today. It just shows me how science is constantly reexamining itself in search for the truth. It also shows me the importance of taking good notes.

Qui-Gon Glenn 01-28-2009 04:19 AM

Well, I am also no expert on ancient civs or their technology. However, as a logician of fair quality, I can say that this theory doesn't seem to follow real well.

Originally Posted by Article
To carve, erect and bury rings of seven-ton stone pillars would have required hundreds of workers, all needing to be fed and housed. Hence the eventual emergence of settled communities in the area around 10,000 years ago. "This shows sociocultural changes come first, agriculture comes later," says Stanford University archaeologist Ian Hodder.

Huh? I suppose that is a possibility, but no where in that paragraph or anywhere else in the article is a well demonstrated model showing us this implication. The quote actually seems to contradict itself... saying more for the weakness of his argument than I ever could.

I would argue that we have sold the Ancient's technological skills far too short. It is at least as supported by evidence than Hodder's conclusion. 100% intuition.... which is fine for me, as I am not a scientist.

SkinWalker 01-30-2009 01:24 PM

It is true that the article doesn't expound upon the order of agriculture and sociocultural change, but there is somewhat of an implication. You'll recall from the article that construction of the site is first dated to ca. 11,000 years ago -evidence for domestication is found at around 10,500 in the region.

Of course this doesn't show that the workers started construction then got hungry 500 years later, but it is telling that widespread agriculture (cultivation of plants, domestication of animals) is evident after construction and not before.

There are many, many indicators of agriculture, which include teeth of ovicaprids, bovids, and swine (sheep/goats, cattle, pigs) and microliths that have a special type of wear called sickle gloss. There are many other indicators as well -but non show up prior to the megalithic construction.

The implication, therefore, is that there was a motivation to create the site that was other than agriculture since agriculture followed. The man-hours and caloric intake required to do the work demands more than a foraging lifeway. Foraging (a.k.a. hunting/gathering) takes time and work by itself and foragers can't generate that sort of calorie requirement. A more efficient strategy of food production is the natural progression from foraging to cultivating and domesticating -one gathers plants and animals then controls where they grow and live and the rate at which these resources are used.

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