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Thread: Gobekli Tepli - ruins from 11,000 years ago

  1. #1 Gobekli Tepli - ruins from 11,000 years ago 
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    Here's a site, kind of in the region where Iran, Armenia, and Turkey meet, where megalithic structures (using blocks around 40 tons) have been discovered and dated to 9,000 BC. It's a fairly large complex of stonework using large T-shaped blocks engraved with animal carvings. But no evidence so far has been uncovered so far to show they had knowledge of any metal working, or agriculture.


    Göbekli Tepe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Gobekli Tepe: Proto-Indo-European Settlement - YouTube


    So anyway, when people speculate about old build dates for Egyptian structures like the Great Pyramid (or the Sphinx - ) we now have a ruin about 1500 km to the North East from there, which proves that at least someone in the older era was, in fact, capable of large scale stonework construction. It's not wild and kooky anymore to go thinking that kind of stuff. It's just different from the accepted view is all.


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    Ok. I realize that for a discussion to begin, there has to be some controversy, and really nothing about this ruin site is in doubt. So I'll try and ask the question that's really on my mind:

    Now that civilization has been reliably shown to exist as early as 9,000 BC, do you think that evidence will start to emerge that there were similarly advanced groups of people in other places around the world at that time? Will evidence that supports high culture around the time of the Ice Age and even slightly before then begin to receive stronger consideration than it has in the past? Are we possibly going to find out that the Fertile Crescent wasn't really the cradle of civilization? (Or at least the Sumerians weren't the first civilized people?)


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    My contribution: thanks, I wasn't aware of this.

    I don't know enough to comment further...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Here's a site, kind of in the region where Iran, Armenia, and Turkey meet, where megalithic structures (using blocks around 40 tons) have been discovered and dated to 9,000 BC. It's a fairly large complex of stonework using large T-shaped blocks engraved with animal carvings. But no evidence so far has been uncovered so far to show they had knowledge of any metal working, or agriculture.


    Göbekli Tepe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Gobekli Tepe: Proto-Indo-European Settlement - YouTube


    So anyway, when people speculate about old build dates for Egyptian structures like the Great Pyramid (or the Sphinx - ) we now have a ruin about 1500 km to the North East from there, which proves that at least someone in the older era was, in fact, capable of large scale stonework construction. It's not wild and kooky anymore to go thinking that kind of stuff. It's just different from the accepted view is all.
    It is/was a great discovery.. Same goes for Dwarka.
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    It's rather amazing.

    Will evidence that supports high culture around the time of the Ice Age and even slightly before then begin to receive stronger consideration than it has in the past?
    It wouldn't surprise me at all. I suspect there are many unexplored sites under hundreds of feet of water inundated by rising sea levels after the last ice age. The figure below shows what once probably a remarkable network of marshes, largely unexplored for settlement in what's now the Persian gulf.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Here's a site, kind of in the region where Iran, Armenia, and Turkey meet, where megalithic structures (using blocks around 40 tons) have been discovered and dated to 9,000 BC. But no evidence so far has been uncovered so far to show they had knowledge of any metal working, or agriculture.
    The Neolithic Revolution began around 10 000 years ago, in the Fertile Crescent. The location you speak of is less than a 150 miles from the Fertile Crescent, approximately 1000 years is more than long enough for the agro-movement to diffuse that far. Lots of cultures show a great deal of evidence to have entered the Neolithic Revolution completely without the introduction of farming - but their introduction also appears to be the source of high culture.

    Because these ruins fall into the time frame of the Neolithic Rev, I'd say no. We probably won't find any evidence suggesting high culture existed prior to the NLR.
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    People still invoke religion to explain what they can't understand. Just now it's behaviour people don't understand that must be religious.

    From "The World's First Temple" Archaeology magazine:

    "Schmidt and his colleagues estimate that at least 500 people were required to hew the 10- to 50-ton stone pillars from local quarries, move them from as far as a quarter-mile away, and erect them. How did Stone Age people achieve the level of organization necessary to do this? Hauptmann speculates that an elite class of religious leaders supervised the work and later controlled the rituals that took place at the site. If so, this would be the oldest known evidence for a priestly caste--much earlier than when social distinctions became evident at other Near Eastern sites."



    To my eye, it's a stockyard for wild pre-domestic cattle ("megafauna"), a sort of national bank. Livestock's been a basis of barter through recorded history. No shortage of tribute by labour when you've got a dozen bulls each taller at the shoulder than a man, corralled for slaughter. I imagine that adding a clan stone - with totem animal - entitled a family to a share. Then as now - follow the money, not the celestial alignments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's a fairly large complex of stonework using large T-shaped blocks engraved with animal carvings. But no evidence so far has been uncovered so far to show they had knowledge of any metal working, or agriculture.
    I would assume any group of peoples that had the time, knowledge, ability and skills to quarry, transport, build with and then carve images on monolithic stones would be beyond capable of throwing a seed in the ground or melting a metal or two.

    I just cannot imagine a society with a structure and educational system that allows for master craftsmen and architectural engineers to be developed from within their ranks not being able to throw seeds or blow on fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzales56 View Post
    a society with a structure and educational system that allows for master craftsmen and architectural engineers...
    You're assuming this a work of idle fancy by elites.

    Anyway, grain agriculture and livestock domestication seem mutually dependent in some way; these people apparently had neither. I speculated above how standing stones represent the apex of a pre-domestic livestocking culture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gonzales56 View Post
    a society with a structure and educational system that allows for master craftsmen and architectural engineers...
    You're assuming this a work of idle fancy by elites.

    Anyway, grain agriculture and livestock domestication seem mutually dependent in some way; these people apparently had neither. I speculated above how standing stones represent the apex of a pre-domestic livestocking culture.
    Concerning the structures, I have no idea what they used them for or what they did with them. I do not even have my own opinion about what they were used for at this time. They could have very well used them to break wild animals as you have suggested. That idea seems just as good or even better than some of the ideas I have heard or read.

    Where we differ in our opinions as of right now, at least I think so, is in the idea of "pre-domestic livestocking culture" vs. "post-domestic livestocking peoples". I believe, regardless of what they used the stone structures for, that they were a post-domestic livestocking people.

    Elites tend not to achieve or maintain their status by being idle or by means of being idle, right? Highly educated and skilled workforce's whom fulfill the non essential desires or wants of those who have more than what they need, IMO, shows a society or people that are well beyond the ability/stage of being able to provide basic and fundamental needs (such as food, water, cloths and housing).

    Domestication / preservation of living animals is something even children today will do and figure out all on their own. Give a handful of children no directions or rules and send them off in the trees or out by the pond to play day after day and they will bring animals home. The Idea that a society can build, think deeply and develop great skills but, can not or did not domesticate / preserve food in the form of living animals much earlier in time just seems wrong to me.

    The ability, creativity, ingenuity and imagination needed within the mind to quarry, carve (shape then add images and art) and then build monolithic structures with stone, IMO, is far beyond what is required from the mind in order to simply catch and keep live animals.

    These structures are permanent monolithic stone structures. Simple minded wanderers did not build these things. A highly skilled people did.

    Now which is harder or more complex? Trapping animals and finding a way to contain/control them, or quarrying, carving and building with large stones?

    Emotionally and instinctively, is it not a shorter path and much easier to get to keeping and maintaining live animals than it is to get to building monolithic stone structures?

    Monolithic stone structures covered in wonderful art is not and cannot be, IMO, the first step in breaking big wild animals. Simple structures, simply made, would have had to come much earlier as would the keeping and preservation of medium and small sized animals. If they used these structure for breaking big animals then they would have been, IMO, extremely advanced in the keeping and preservation of animals.
    Last edited by gonzales56; March 3rd, 2012 at 01:41 PM.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzales56 View Post

    The ability, creativity, ingenuity and imagination needed within the mind to quarry, carve (shape then add images and art) and then build monolithic structures with stone, IMO, is far beyond what is required from the mind in order to simply catch and keep live animals.
    As for the art, humanity has always had art. There are some very skillful cave paintings found from the hunter/gatherer stage, and we know that's when they're from because hunting is what they depict.

    However, moving really big stone blocks..... that seems less likely to happen for a culture that hasn't developed some way of feeding a work force. The best alternative I can think of to agriculture would be to have been able to demand tribute from tribes over a wide area around them, or at least preserve meat as jerky or something. The hunting would have had to be really good, phat hunts with lots of game to be gotten.

    Carving the stones isn't as complicated as it sounds. You just hit the stone you want to carve with other smaller stones of the same type to carve an image into it over time.



    These structures are permanent monolithic stone structures. Simple minded wanderers did not build these things. A highly skilled people did.
    And since they are structures which most likely had roofs, that means the concept of permanent settlements must have already been in place. How does any hunter/gatherer society permanently settle?

    On the other hand.... you could build a sort of "winter home", and roam for the rest of the year perhaps.
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    Profession like bread making, blacksmith, and stone work (or any work that is not farming or hunter-gathering) will exist naturally in a city/town/settlement whenever food are abundant or in surpluss and as long as climate and resources allow: this can happen at all time, not constrained by years in "BC". I believe this was explained in documentary/book "Gun, Germ and Steel" or in some other source (which I forgot). This surpluss allow people to free more of their time, and allow them to nurture their children or trying to invent tools.

    Eg:
    The ancient Pharaoh system is invented in ancient egypt because the food are soo plentiful such that the egyptian had to come up with a way to keep them safe (eg: by letting Pharaoh safeguard them)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gonzales56 View Post

    The ability, creativity, ingenuity and imagination needed within the mind to quarry, carve (shape then add images and art) and then build monolithic structures with stone, IMO, is far beyond what is required from the mind in order to simply catch and keep live animals.
    As for the art, humanity has always had art. There are some very skillful cave paintings found from the hunter/gatherer stage, and we know that's when they're from because hunting is what they depict.

    However, moving really big stone blocks..... that seems less likely to happen for a culture that hasn't developed some way of feeding a work force. The best alternative I can think of to agriculture would be to have been able to demand tribute from tribes over a wide area around them, or at least preserve meat as jerky or something. The hunting would have had to be really good, phat hunts with lots of game to be gotten.

    Carving the stones isn't as complicated as it sounds. You just hit the stone you want to carve with other smaller stones of the same type to carve an image into it over time.



    These structures are permanent monolithic stone structures. Simple minded wanderers did not build these things. A highly skilled people did.
    And since they are structures which most likely had roofs, that means the concept of permanent settlements must have already been in place. How does any hunter/gatherer society permanently settle?

    On the other hand.... you could build a sort of "winter home", and roam for the rest of the year perhaps.
    Human beings (as a whole) are, in our most primitive and fundamental behaviors, perfectly developed (IMO) by nature and nurture to accomplish and achieve the tasks of farming and livestock as soon as they are aware of their surroundings and familiar with the things within it.

    I believe that it is highly likely that the people who painted in those caves also kept / preserved some live animals and were helping mother natures crops flourish or yield more to one degree or another.

    I understand that quarrying stone and carving images on stone is not the most complex thing possible to achieve but, it is far more complex and technologically advanced than throwing a seed on the ground or trapping and keeping small to medium animals.

    Likewise, painting very skillful art images in caves is far more advanced as well.

    No one can tell me that someone is going to figure out how to paint beautiful images or quarry, carve, shape and build monolithic stone structures before the beautiful wives and cute little children of these artist and stone masons have the mental capacity or capability to copy a squirrel and put a seed in the ground.

    How can mankind go through all the trouble of developing tools, weapons to hunt and techniques to preserve dead food but, miss the boat on simple traps or easy techniques to catch and keep live food in order to insure later utilization or consumption?
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    Well, we know groups of people with very rudimentary stone technology made a living off these - huge by today's standards - cattle. There are some practical problems.

    While it is relatively safe and intuitive for groups to drive a mammoth or auroch in some direction, it's quite another task to bring one down and kill it. I mean, today's docile little bulls we shoot steel bolts through their brains and they don't always fall. It would seem that safely killing much larger, wilder animals, requires the critter immobilized by accident or contrivance.

    Slaughter is the next problem. A band of hunters, who have tracked and killed their quarry far from home, are ill equipped to process the animal. They may lack the tools, containers, the fire, etc. left behind with less able-bodied relatives. They may have roused the attention of scavengers like wolves, whose career is keen to this sort of activity. Imagine each hunter in the party then shouldering a hunk of dripping rhino carcass and plodding the long way home... after a day the men must be exhausted, the meat crawling with flies and hornets, a column of wolves, bears, tigers snuffling their trail. It doesn't work.

    Preservation is another problem. These big kills yield a huge amount of meat which instantly begins to spoil. So to minimize waste you want to organize life around feasts, in which a large number rapidly consume a whole animal. Sounds good, but if the timing of these feasts depends on chance of hunters making fresh kills in the field, I think on lucky days we'd waste meat, and on unlucky days we'd starve.

    Since the initial stage of hunting megafauna must begin with that animal shying away from hunters, I'm pretty sure we learned early to direct live animals under their own power towards our camps. A really well established camp would be prepared to deal with animals chased into it. Someday, by luck, we might have trapped an animal while still eating the previous one. Then why rush to kill it? I speculate that people learned to stock up live animals in this way.

    Tremendous power to the people in charge of livestock. They could lord over tens or hundreds of families, depending on the scale of their operation. They'd act as bankers receiving sporadic or seasonal deposits of live animals and sharing out regular meat. This economic system could support other trades or tributes in lieu of cattle, but I guess the payment would always be in regular meat.

    I guess that bringing grasses to extend the life of livestock could be a start to grain agriculture and domestication.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Well, we know groups of people with very rudimentary stone technology made a living off these - huge by today's standards - cattle. There are some practical problems.

    While it is relatively safe and intuitive for groups to drive a mammoth or auroch in some direction, it's quite another task to bring one down and kill it. I mean, today's docile little bulls we shoot steel bolts through their brains and they don't always fall. It would seem that safely killing much larger, wilder animals, requires the critter immobilized by accident or contrivance.
    As I understand it, the process of hunting mammoths usually involved driving them toward a "kill box" type area where the hunters would have prepared to fight and kill the creature, and usually a place where they would have maximum tactical advantage. It probably wouldn't be much of a step from there to start using nets or something to subdue rather than kill the creature. However, they'd only be able to keep it for a limited length of time if they didn't have agriculture because those creatures consume quite a lot of food per day. 300-600 pounds every day.

    Elephant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - diet

    The main advantage of smaller livestock, then, is it's a lot easier to keep them fed. Also what makes us know they probably weren't herding elephants is the artwork itself. According to the wiki article:

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    The reliefs on the pillars include foxes, lions, cattle, hyenas, wild boar, wild asses, herons, ducks, scorpions, ants, spiders, many snakes, and a small number of anthropomorphic figures. Some of the reliefs have been deliberately erased, maybe in preparation for new designs. There are freestanding sculptures as well that may represent wild boars or foxes. As they are heavily encrusted with lime, it is sometimes difficult to tell. Comparable statues have been discovered at Nevalı Çori and Nahal Hemar.
    No mention of them depicting any mammoths, but here's a nice drawing of a bull.





    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post

    Slaughter is the next problem. A band of hunters, who have tracked and killed their quarry far from home, are ill equipped to process the animal. They may lack the tools, containers, the fire, etc. left behind with less able-bodied relatives. They may have roused the attention of scavengers like wolves, whose career is keen to this sort of activity. Imagine each hunter in the party then shouldering a hunk of dripping rhino carcass and plodding the long way home... after a day the men must be exhausted, the meat crawling with flies and hornets, a column of wolves, bears, tigers snuffling their trail. It doesn't work.
    I assume you mean this to be applied specifically to a permanent settlement like Gebli Topekli, because a group of wandering hunters and gathers would more likely move their camp to be near the kill, rather than try and move the kill to their camp. Other predators would have long since learned it was not a good idea to try and attack a human camp. Too many angry young men with spears. The fire would serve as a warning, with its accompanying strong smell of sulfur that no predator could accidentally fail to notice.
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    Part of the world outside the crucible of civilization (middle-east) has no Horse! Without horse people can't effectively herd or hunt animal, also/therefore making keeping lifestock (eg: keeping sheep) difficult. Horse went extinct in other part of the world, for example: North America Indian doesn't have it, Inca civilization didn't have it, Australian aborigine doesn't have it, neither do people in Philippine and everywhere else... so, civilization started at middle-east because everything is available there! (I know it is AMAZING!)

    Also: you need a mule or animal to do crop. They plough the land to make it fertile and can bring cargo (like salt from far away area, or trade items for commerce. Commerce is common in ancient world too). In South America (and other part of the world) people don't have any big animal, they only have Llama... so planting crop is quite labor intensive.

    Source: Gun, Germ, and Steel (story about civilization), and also from BBC's American Nomad (about North American Indian & horse).
    Last edited by msafwan; March 8th, 2012 at 05:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Part of the world outside the crucible of civilization (middle-east) has no Horse! Without horse people can't effectively herd or hunt animal, also/therefore making keeping lifestock (eg: keeping sheep) difficult. Horse went extinct in other part of the world, for example: North America Indian doesn't have it, Inca civilization didn't have it, Australian aborigine doesn't have it, neither do people in Philippine and everywhere else... so, civilization started at middle-east because everything is available there! (I know it is AMAZING!)

    Also: you need a mule or animal to do crop. They plough the land to make it fertile and can bring cargo (like salt from far away area, or trade items for commerce. Commerce is common in ancient world too). In South America (and other part of the world) people don't have any big animal, they only have Llama... so planting crop is quite labor intensive.

    Source: Gun, Germ, and Steel (story about civilization), and also from BBC's American Nomad (about North American Indian & horse).
    I think you are overstating the importance of the horse. Sheep, pigs, poultry can be kept without horses. Also precivilization hunter-gatherers did not have horses in general. They simply ran after game or sneaked up on them.
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    Maybe you are right about me overstating the importance of the horse, but other animal like a Bull is quite important for cultivating crop (to plough the land), and they only found in middle-east too! Earlier crop (wheat and rice) are (still) just a species of wild grass so they have low yield and need more hard work to grow them, and common poulty animal like pig (or even a pets: like dog) didn't even exist yet because it took like ~10,000 years to domesticate those wild animal into a proper farm animal. I'm just saying that it is hard work to be in those time and animal help is the only help these people get and it explain why civilization started in middle-east and explain why they are called "Crucible of Civilization".

    So, another factor that limit civilization to a specific timeframe at "BC" is due to the availability of domesticated (or wild) plant and animal.
    Last edited by msafwan; March 8th, 2012 at 10:48 PM.
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    @Kojax.

    I'm assuming that the first animals we trapped but didn't kill until their meat was wanted, we didn't feed. Postponing combat with an angry bull, since you're busy cooking and eating its sister, is a passive invention. Fetching grass and water to extend the bull's life, or even fatten it, is a technological leap and besides unnecessary work when the village enjoys a fairly regular supply of livestock herded in from the wild. I don't know how long aurochs keep without food or water, but it's surely longer than unrefrigerated meat does.

    The picture you posted reminds me of a totem pole: three symbols (animals) arranged hierarchically. It would fit my hypothesis if that was a clan plaque. Because when it's time to slaughter livestock and portion out the meat, who's entitled? Every needy beggar? No, likely just the shareholders (the people) who've contributed to the operation (the village/stockyard), foremost families that have been around beyond reckoning. An illiterate clan establishes this fact of its entitlement with a totem pole. Size matters.

    Sometimes images on standing-stones simply describe function. The deer stones of Mongolia are good example. These tall, slender stones were erected at regular intervals in circles or long arcs, like fenceposts, and invariably depict leaping reindeer. The lower portion is normally decorated with a horizontal motif indicating two fence constructions: stacked stone, or collapsible lattice particular to Mongolian yurt walls. Kinda like the pictorial instructions for IKEA furniture. The purpose of these posts couldn't be more obvious. But the Gobekli Tepli stones are decorated more like totem poles or coats of arms, with diverse and perhaps arbitrary combinations of animals, especially "cool" animals appropriate as team icons i.e the Striking Scorpions and the Raging Boars. On the other hand, stones are arranged about right to support timber beams, necessary to roof a barn-sized area. Maybe each construction team, rightfully proud of its work, "signed" its stone in this way. Would you?

    About 1,000 years after this site was constructed, people in the region began breeding livestock in corrals, and agriculture as we know it took off. Then Gobekli Tepli was deliberately covered in earth.
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    Part of the world outside the crucible of civilization (middle-east) has no Horse! Without horse people can't effectively herd or hunt animal
    Southern African Bushmen would say: "Horse? What is a horse? Would you like some Eland?".
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Maybe you are right about me overstating the importance of the horse, but other animal like a Bull is quite important for cultivating crop (to plough the land), and they only found in middle-east too! Earlier crop (wheat and rice) are (still) just a species of wild grass so they have low yield and need more hard work to grow them, and common poulty animal like pig (or even a pets: like dog) didn't even exist yet because it took like ~10,000 years to domesticate those wild animal into a proper farm animal. I'm just saying that it is hard work to be in those time and animal help is the only help these people get and it explain why civilization started in middle-east and explain why they are called "Crucible of Civilization".

    So, another factor that limit civilization to a specific timeframe at "BC" is due to the availability of domesticated (or wild) plant and animal.
    If draft animals are so necessary, then how does one explain the extreme amount of work the Incas did building terraces? That's like plowing a field, only much, much more extreme.



    Draft animals certainly make it easier, but the human body is built for endurance. We can do most of the work our animals do, sometimes even better than they can. It's just easier to be lazy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post

    But the Gobekli Tepli stones are decorated more like totem poles or coats of arms, with diverse and perhaps arbitrary combinations of animals, especially "cool" animals appropriate as team icons i.e the Striking Scorpions and the Raging Boars.
    Yeah. One does notice that many of the animals depicted are not animals with any practical function. I certainly wouldn't want to keep a scorpion as a pet, or a food source, or for any practical purpose at all, unless I knew of a way to harvest poison from it for my arrows.


    About 1,000 years after this site was constructed, people in the region began breeding livestock in corrals, and agriculture as we know it took off. Then Gobekli Tepli was deliberately covered in earth.
    It is interesting that they did that. Any ideas why they would? My first guess is maybe they got hit by a plague, and just plain wanted to be extra sure it was over.
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    when i read about the dig site gobekli tepli
    the thing that stood out was that (so far) the best constructed "temples" were the oldest ones
    this kinda dovetails into the concept that even earlier civilizations predated these ruins

    but are now inundated by sea level rise circa 10-11,000 years ago?

    if
    the site reflects an earlier civilization from a now inundated site
    then the answer for the question of where we will find evidence of earlier civilization seems to indicate that we must needs search underwater

    on another note
    the northern cheyenne would split up into small groups and exploit the resources over a broad area--------stashing excess food along the way.
    then picking up the stashes along the way back, gather together for the comunal autumn hunts and winter months
    meeting mates
    restructering the small bands
    and sharing a cultural heritage through song and story and social mores
    then disperse for another summer

    conceptually, the spark that led to the leap to stone architecture
    eludes me

    may we all live long enough to find the answers
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  24. #23  
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    Attachment 588

    Their are some great issulstrations for Göbekli Tepe in National Geographic.

    Building Göbekli Tepe Gallery -- National Geographic
    Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. - confucius
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