Early Places Without Metals:
|The astounding neolithic (=
"newer stone age") structures found since 1995 by the German
archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, in what is
now named Göbekli Tepe (Turkish for "Potbelly Hill") in Turkey,
produced major headlines all over the world. What Göbekli Tepe proved
beyond doubt was that neolithic people, supposed to be rather primitive and not
highly organized, had not only built "wattle-and-daub" huts like in
Hallan Çemi but large and
complex "temples", "sanctuaries", or whatever one wants to
call it, as early as the 10th millennium BC, or about 12 000 years ago.
The 12 000 year old structures belonged to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period; they are more elaborate then the following PPNB structures. Around (8000 - 7500) BC, Göbekli Tepe was abandoned - after everything had been covered carefully with soil. Those ancient guys, for reasons unknown, did not want to leave any traces, it seems.
|While these people carved stone with amazing skills, they did not do it with metal implements, at least none were found. No pottery was found either, and that's why cultures like the one around Göbekli Tepe are also called "Pre-Pottery Neolithic A" (PPNA). For the meaning of the "A" refer to this link. It is surmised that these folks were hunters and gatherers, not really settled down, who just built and used all these temples - there are many - for some rituals or whatever.|
|A few pictures say more than a lot of words:|
|There are several of those round
"temples" - and only a tiny part of the whole complex has been
unearthed so far! The bigger pillars weigh up to 20 tons, and several 100
persons were required to move and erect those huge stones. They were quarried
nearby but that is not essential. Moving heavy things just a few meters takes
the same amount of people and organization then moving them larger distances
like the several 100 m required in Göbekli Tepe. It just takes more time.
Compare that to Stonehenge: built about 7 000 years later. Most stones there are of similar size; just some of them are much larger. Distances covered, however, were far greater. The Egyptian pyramids also came roughly 7 000 years later!
|The structures found were certainly not the
houses of people but "temples" for some ceremonies, places for
shamanic practices, a central location for some cult of the dead - take your
pick. The surviving structures, and that is the most amazing thing, predate:
|The Neolithic Revolution, also known as
Agricultural Revolution, refers to
the wide-scale transition of hunters and gatherers, roaming the wild, to
settled farmers, domesticating plants and animals. Based on much archeological
evidence, this is supposed to have started about
|There are many ways to recover old temperatures
rather accurately, and what we see in the data above for Greenland is typical
for about everywhere. While it still did not get exactly cozy in Greenland,
large parts of Europe, the middle East, and so on, became inhabitable and could
support far larger populations than in the cold days before.
I guess that the women finally got fed up about that care-free perambulating of their spouses, who enjoyed their mammoth spare ribs and playing hide-and-seek with the sable tooth tiger, but always forgot to take the garbage out of the cave. They demanded a nice home, with some shopping near-by and central places for social activities like gossiping. The men grudgingly consented for the usual reasons but soon discovered that the otherwise boring sedentary life came with a huge benefit: it allowed beer brewing on a large scale (not really kidding!).
People could get satisfyingly drunk now and thus creative; witness the carvings on the rocks in Göbekli Tepe:
|All stone work was done with other stones - in particular flintstone tools, remains of which have been found. The limestone statue on the upper left is usually connected to Göbekli Tepe, but was actually found at Urfa, close by. It dates to the Early Neolithic. What the guy seems to be doing is a time-honored occupation of the male of the species.|
|Well - that about covers Göbekli
Tepe. Not much else has been found besides the stone structure. no traces of
domesticated plants or animals, for example, and very little evidence for
We will have to wait for what will come to light in the future. Göbekli Tepe and other places will allow good digging for many years to come. Even more exciting will be what will be found in places hitherto completely unknown but "there" for sure.
|Here is a relatively new find: an ithyphallic protome!|
|I bet you didn't know about that one! I certainly
A Protome is an adornment on utensils or works of art in the form of a frontal view of an animal head or bust of a human. Ithyphallic means having the penis erect. One could have guessed that one...
Diffusion in Iron
Critical Museum Guide: Museums in Istanbul, Turkey
Early Iron Sites: Hattusa
Old Suebian Things
Early Copper Sites
Riveting, Soldering, Liquid Welding Plus Gluing and Screwing
The Dirty Mind of Materials Scientists
Last Charcoal Smelter in Germany
Hallan Çemi Tepesi
Science of Deformation
Fracture Mechanics II
Early Places With Metals: Çatal Höyük
Large Pictures I
Some Additional Pictures; chapter 10.1
Large Pictures II
Large Pictures III
Early Iron Sites: Alaca Höyük
Early Iron Sites: Kültepe
© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)