When Stephen Mitenev, an archaeologist from the University of Reading (UK), and his team began excavations in the desert, they have almost no hope to find anything there. We thought it was just a garbage dump, – he says. But sometimes in a garbage heap can find something interesting.
When Mitenev told colleagues that he wants to look for parking the Stone Age in southern Jordan, many reacted skeptically to his idea: What we find there? Nothing like there could not be. And were wrong – there Mitenev found ruins of prehistoric settlements.
And I decided to find out more details about the life of people who lived 11,000 years ago, the remaining debris from them. First, during the excavation of one of his students stumbled on hard, smooth floor made explicitly to stall him garbage. Then archaeologists dug up plates on which were carved some wavy characters. Scientist says: Every day the excavation area of the found object increased, our hopes become weightier. We have found more and more complex parts, and very unusual: nothing like I had not seen before. It has turned all my preconceived notions.
Object like a small amphitheater. On the one hand this is quite correct circle is a series of benches – presumably, the structure was designed for festivals or musical performances, performing certain rituals – it is possible that sinister: Mitenev shows troughs in the field, which probably once flowed blood borne sacrificed.
Spectators as surely rampage. Whatever it was actually an object called Wadi Faynan belies some preconceived notions of scientists. This amphitheater was built 11,600 years ago, that is until farming, whereas, according to the same ideas had to be exactly the opposite. Earlier in the scientific world dominated by the concept of the so-called Neolithic coup. According to her, our ancestors, for many millennia feed hunter-gatherers have a new, sedentary, lifestyles – were engaged in agriculture, brought cultivars, domesticated animals.
According to popular belief scientists Neolithic revolution ended in about 8300 BC, by this time the people inhabiting the Middle East, that is what is now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and southern peninsula of Asia Minor, already possessed a complete set of Neolithic technology they lived sedentary mastered pottery, domesticated animals, derived cultivars of grain and leguminous plants in their settlements appeared public buildings. At the same time they were first rudiments of art, social life, and astronomy. According to Jens Notroffa of the German Archaeological Institute (Berlin), it was one of the most important turning point in the history of human civilization. And found existed for 3000 years before the settlement of this period, which is already used by many of these innovations, except for one – agriculture.
But it was previously thought that it was it was the impetus to the appearance of the rest. People who have built structures in Wadi Faynan were not nomads, but were not, and farmers. Probably they were fed almost exclusively by hunting and gathering. These people are living communities not for joint cultivation of land, and for religious rituals, creating a cult buildings for general festivities.
To change their way of life is not pushed the need to secure a reliable, constant source of food. Sprouts civilization emerged for reasons much more sublime, mental properties. In the twentieth century, our understanding of the Neolithic period were influenced occurred just before the then sudden changes in social life – the so-called industrial revolution. One of the authors of the former concept of the Neolithic Revolution was an archaeologist Gordon Childe, adhere to Marxist views.
Watching around the mills and factories, these diabolical millstones, grinds people’s lives, the whole city grew, Childe suggested that the first agricultural settlements of our ancestors also became centers of abrupt changes in lifestyle public life and new achievements of civilization. Forced beggary According to him, this process began in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago, when the glaciers retreated and the climate became more arid region.
Only on the slopes along the river banks were small strips of moist soil. However, they could not provide a stable subsistence hunters and gatherers, so the nomadic tribes moved to a sedentary lifestyle, such sites have become sow barley and wheat. Because of this population has increased dramatically. Here’s how Childe wrote about it in 1936, published in the book Man created itself: It has become more, not only consumers, but also labor to plow … children helped sow, to scare away the birds.
Increasing productivity and growing population, the first craftsmen – carpenters and potters arose division of labor, and, consequently, complicated structure of society. There are large settlements, religious practices have become more diverse. So the theory goes. Many archaeologists book Man created itself continued to enjoy unquestioned authority, despite the fact that the increasing doubts of the truth of some of its postulates. For example, climate scientists found that the changes that occurred after the retreat of the glaciers were not as sharp as anticipated Child. And because the environment of existence changed little, hardly agriculture could give tangible benefits compared to hunting and gathering.
Little eaters, so why roach, working in the field? Why sow, weed, harvest, if not worse can eat due to the nature of the pantry? And after excavations in Asia Minor, Turkey, this theory does is cracking. On site Neva Chori archaeologists excavated settlement age of 10 thousand years, that is earlier than the establishment of agriculture appears, but with traces of civilization some innovations: several public buildings and iconic destination with a variety of sinister-looking crafts.
They are much larger and more complex structures of all previously found that era. But it is much more surprising items found inside: sculptures – human head, from which emerges a snake, and Siamese twins with a bird of prey on his head. And the strangest thing – a few large pieces of stone in the shape of the letter T, with elongated heads, without any facial features. Idols engraved on the sides of the image of human hands. When the audience sat on benches along the walls, these figures loomed over them as guards. Flooded settlement Unfortunately, this archaeological site is exposed to water during the construction of the dam on the Euphrates River Ataturk.
But archaeologist Klaus Schmidt began to comb the neighborhood in search of other traces of this lost culture. On the grassy mound Gobekli Tepe , which the locals called a place of wish fulfillment, he found a large piece of limestone, resembling a T-shaped stone figures of Neva Chori. Schmidt immediately realized that stumbled upon something even more unusual. In the mound, he found three layers of graves. Age of the oldest and surprising – 11,000 years. This maze of temples circular shape, some up to 30 meters in diameter.
Around the interior walls – well-preserved T-shaped stone monuments surrounding the two biggest pedestal, as idolaters, standing around the object of their worship. There were so many that it seemed they were everywhere, – says Notroff, a colleague of Schmidt. Some were engraved belt and clothing items. And since they are the size of three human growth and view them very abstract, Schmidt came to the conclusion that it figures of deities. On the other were carved grotesque images of wild species – snakes, scorpions, hyenas.
Schmidt, they recalled the terrible scenes from Dante’s Hell. If size Neva Chori can be compared with the modest little church, these burial draw for a whole cathedral. Ironically, later each temple, apparently, was dismantled, and then covered with earth specifically – perhaps in response to a certain ritual. Among various debris Schmidt and his colleagues have found numerous bones, including human remains. And a lot of bones rooks and crows – birds feeding on carrion.
According to Schmidt, this temple of some deity of death. We never exactly know what happened here in those days, but Schmidt suggests that strange stone inputs, Many of which are decorated with images of predators and their prey, likely symbolized the transition to the afterlife. It is clear that Gobekli Tepe could build only a very advanced community, because this would have to be able to coordinate the work of hundreds of people.
According Notrofa, it would have been impossible without the ability to collaborate, ie, without the structure of society, which seems to us unexpectedly challenging for early Neolithic civilization. It was believed that such a surprisingly sophisticated work of craftsmanship and highly convoluted ideology could only appear later agriculture. But no sign of its presence in the parking lot Gobekli Tepe Schmidt could not be found. Cultivars of cereals were not detected.
More surprisingly, Gobekli Tepe that shows no signs of any permanent settlement: there are no traces of hearths, campfire pits or housewares. According to Schmidt, this is due to the fact that this place is too far from water sources. From all this, he made an unexpected conclusion: Gobekli Tepe – a place of pilgrimage, which arose as a result of long-standing tradition to gather together here and something to celebrate.
It is important that a large community of people it attracted religious beliefs, and not agriculture. Of course, those who are going there, you had something to eat. And maybe it was from this need arose and agriculture. In other words, the original concept of the Neolithic Revolution did upside down.
The need for execution of other celebrations and rituals prompted people to gather on such occasions in certain places – Notroff says. – It is likely that new sources of food and cooking methods appeared just because of this need. Characteristically, genetics has recently installed the first cultivars of wheat appeared Gobekli Tepe near.
It is also possible that farming accident occurred as a result of such general gatherings where people brought with them many wild edible plants: they dropped their seeds on the ground, and they cultivate the accidental crossing. According Mitena, this variant is more likely.
Some scientists believe that the domestication of animals, particularly wild herbivores was rather religious, and not for economic reasons. Sacred Cows The reason for the domestication of plants in the Middle East in the Neolithic period many consider the need to reduce the economic labor for subsistence. Recent studies have questioned this hypothesis into question.
Apparently, the way of life of people began to change before there was this economic need, which is exactly what happened when nomadic hunter-gatherers began to gather together to perform religious rituals in places like Gobekli Tepe. While some of them were employed in seasonal work on the construction of places of worship, others collected the seeds of wild plants for their food. Sometimes people dropped grain on the ground near the temporary settlement.
And since every time they first collected seeds grasses growing nearby, the possibility of accidental and gradual domestication of wheat. And how was domesticated cattle? Too, by chance? Most likely, the domestication of animals began in the early Paleolithic, that is 20-12 thousand years ago. Judging by the rock paintings in the caves, animals, humans of that era kept for ceremonial purposes rather than for household needs. It was basically tours, horses, bison and animals breed cat. Kept somewhere other species, such as mammoths.
Early Paleolithic artists carved on the rocks is not what they want. For example, they did not paint the faces of people, trees, birds. The illustrations only animals which had, according to their beliefs, a particular symbolic value. So-called symbolic domestication of some species was part of their culture long before people started to breed and maintain real cattle in pens.
Today, this phenomenon can be observed in pastoral settlements, such as the community of San in southern Africa, where social status experts ritual are often based on their close spiritual ties with animals having great symbolic value. Usually it is the large carnivores cat breed – the last remaining unconquered wild animals. But the relationship of this type apply to species which are of economic importance, say, antelopes.
Judging by striking engraved images found in Gobekli Tepe, about 11,000 years ago like the current relationship existed with many species of birds, cat, fox, with tours and even insects. Later ancient people focused on animals that are easier to breed and kept in pens: swine, sheep. But, as experts ritual drew its power from wild animals, and not in quite ordinary domesticated, become mainstream images of herds of wild tours. Probably tribesmen believed that the ritual experts are able to command these wild herds.
It is only natural that the next step was the actual domestication. People began to breed and keep livestock, and it is visibly proved tribesmen might ancient nobility. Initially bred cattle is not for household needs, and to make social rituals.