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Thread: Think there were any great civilizations before 10,000 BC?

  1. #1 Think there were any great civilizations before 10,000 BC? 
    Time Lord
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    I'm just curious what people think. Clearly we don't have much in the way of writings from that far back (anything, in fact).

    I just wonder if you consider that it was during an ice age. Water levels were lower. The Earth was somewhat cold. Maybe only bearable at the very lowest possible altitudes. But, of course, the lowest altitudes are the ones that got covered in water when the ice age ended.......

    How easily do you think an advanced civilization could escape our archeaological notice? Not advanced like we are now, or anything, of course, but maybe to the point of writing?


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    I think we have a pretty clear picture of which locations were suitable for large-scale sedentary civilizations in those days. If we've explored those sites and found nothing then it's reasonable to assume that there was no such civilization at that time. But I guess we'll never be 100% sure, the earth is a big place :wink:


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    Wot 'e sed (Pendragon, that is).
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    Well, Jericho is believed to have been founded in 9000BC, so 10kBC isn't that far off.
    Wolf
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    I think we have a pretty clear picture of which locations were suitable for large-scale sedentary civilizations in those days. If we've explored those sites and found nothing then it's reasonable to assume that there was no such civilization at that time. But I guess we'll never be 100% sure, the earth is a big place :wink:
    Wouldn't a lot of the suitable sites be underwater today? Many sites that are suitable today would have been a lot colder back then. Nearest to the ocean, at the lowest altitudes, seems like a good place for a civilization to develop.


    Another interesting concern: How sapiens came to inhabit pacific islands. Some people have gone so far as to suggest that sapiens evolved from erectus separately on each island, because sapiens bones are so hard to find from the ice age era, while Erectus bones are easy to find.

    An alternative possibility is that sapiens were quite abundant, but only lived by the sea, where we can't easily look for bones. Only when the waters rose were they forced into the higher terrain.
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  7. #6  
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    What would happen to a city that was overrun by a glacier? If dwellings were made of mud and sticks (you could build a proper house this way :wink, almost nothing would be left after a glacier (or a flood ). Another thing is that land bridges existed both as ice and as land. The sea level was much lower during the ice age.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    What would happen to a city that was overrun by a glacier?
    It's certainly a worthwhile point. Large cities are known to have existed, and do exist today, made of "primitive" materials which could easily vanish over time, completely.

    This city in Yemen is over 2,000 years old, and is built mostly of primitive materials:




    The question around this issue becomes: did people live glacial regions 10k years ago, and what is the plausibility of such a city existing?
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  9. #8  
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    no they did not. if you gave me a year and a half i could explain why
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    no they did not. if you gave me a year and a half i could explain why
    Please don't post unless you're going to actually post something worthwhile.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    no they did not. if you gave me a year and a half i could explain why
    Please don't post unless you're going to actually post something worthwhile.
    If that's the RULE

    Then the majority shouldn't post at all!
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    If that's the RULE Then the majority shouldn't post at all!
    Yeah, fine, all well and good...but coming in with a post like that is little better than spam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    If that's the RULE Then the majority shouldn't post at all!
    Yeah, fine, all well and good...but coming in with a post like that is little better than spam.
    Oh wolf

    I am so glad you are here to point out the rules and keep everyone in check

    As well as defining the meaning of spam

    I feel so much safer knowing you are on board
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Oh wolf
    Very well, if you insist on using the same show of maturity as usual, you can explain to us why posts like this:

    no they did not. if you gave me a year and a half i could explain why
    ...should be applauded, rather than discouraged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Oh wolf
    Very well, if you insist on using the same show of maturity as usual, you can explain to us why posts like this:

    no they did not. if you gave me a year and a half i could explain why
    ...should be applauded, rather than discouraged.
    :-D Wolfie, you do make me laugh.

    Does having the last word count as spam?

    who's clapping? I was commenting on your post (spam? if commenting counts as spam) not his.
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  16. #15  
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    so what was going on in China at that time? How old is the Atlantis fable?
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    :-D Wolfie, you do make me laugh....
    Not surprising since I'm not sure where I indicated that as my intention. Either way, why don't you roll around and giggle some more...then, when yer done with your childish condescension, answer the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orleander
    so what was going on in China at that time? How old is the Atlantis fable?
    China isn't actually that old. It is only the oldest "continuous" civilization. It's beginnings date back about 6,000 years, although the more established 2nd Dynasty dates from the 12th century BC. That's a bit speculative, though, since that doesn't surround the China we know today, but more the various feudal kingdoms which later became China. I think the first actual "Chinese" "country" was from 300-250BC.

    Atlantis, in the fable, supposedly existed at around 9,500BC. According to the dates that can be derived from Plato, it was supposed to exist 9,000 years before Solon, who was around in the 6th or 5th century BC.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    :-D Wolfie, you do make me laugh....
    Not surprising since I'm not sure where I indicated that as my intention. Either way, why don't you roll around and giggle some more...then, when yer done with your childish condescension, answer the question.
    K,k,k,k......

    I am hoooowling with laughter, as you instructed Wolfie...

    Aw...my belly hurts from laughing too much!
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orleander
    so what was going on in China at that time? How old is the Atlantis fable?
    China isn't actually that old. It is only the oldest "continuous" civilization. It's beginnings date back about 6,000 years, although the more established 2nd Dynasty dates from the 12th century BC. That's a bit speculative, though, since that doesn't surround the China we know today, but more the various feudal kingdoms which later became China. I think the first actual "Chinese" "country" was from 300-250BC.

    Atlantis, in the fable, supposedly existed at around 9,500BC. According to the dates that can be derived from Plato, it was supposed to exist 9,000 years before Solon, who was around in the 6th or 5th century BC.
    I'm sure the story of Atlantis was embelished somewhat, and may have become infused with history from other places like the island of Minos, but beneath all the distortions I see little reason to believe there might not have been a nation of some kind at the source.

    People sometimes treat history as being entirely devoid of any credibility if it hasn't survived in exactly it's perfect original form. You can't read it precisely in such cases, but the general gist of it still has a reasonable chance of being true.

    Of course, it frustrates me when people find ruins under the sea somewhere and automatically assume it must be Atlantis. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of submerged cities near the coastlines of the existing continents.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    K,k,k,k......

    I am hoooowling with laughter, as you instructed Wolfie...

    Aw...my belly hurts from laughing too much!
    Selene,
    by all means complain to one of the other admins about my selective persecution of your good self. Until then back off, and stop baiting wolf. Your comments are off topic, immature and unwelcome.
    And please don't indulge in a tranche of childish pms either.
    And most definitely do not respond to this warning.
    Thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    K,k,k,k......

    I am hoooowling with laughter, as you instructed Wolfie...

    Aw...my belly hurts from laughing too much!
    Selene,
    by all means complain to one of the other admins about my selective persecution of your good self. Until then back off, and stop baiting wolf. Your comments are off topic, immature and unwelcome.
    And please don't indulge in a tranche of childish pms either.
    And most definitely do not respond to this warning.
    Thank you.
    Ophiolite God of the science forum

    Wolf bites, so he obviously wants feeding.

    Who's baiting who? Those who don't want their maggots eaten should stop casting their lines first

    I only respond to your tranche of pm's which threaten corporal punishment and warnings of being cast out of the garden of eden.

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  22. #21  
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    Isn't there a place for discussions on "Who's comments are acceptable and who's aren't" ? I mean, it makes for an interesting debate, but it might belong in another section.
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    In a vague effort to keep this thread on track...

    I think there is certainly a sizeable amount of evidence pointing towards the possibility of such a civilisation.

    It is common in creation/religous stories for there to be a flood or a deluge or a destructive force of some kind wiping out nearly all of the world's population. So this would suggest that there was something before this time. And as some of said stories date back a few thousand BC, it is possible the civilisation existed that far back. Especially when you consider the date of the end of the last ice age and the time frames for the evolution of homo-sapiens.

    The texts that record such events have been written and re-written since pre-history, often with bias. So a lot of the original truth is lost. But if we look at all the stories as a whole, and isolate the similarities, we can see many sources pointing toward such similar beginnings for mankind. And most of them start or include the destruction of the world and all the people in it. Suggesting that a civilisation has been lost. Noah and Atlantis 'myths' etc.
    Interestingly too, I think it is important to remember that anccient texts were written by ancient people, with ancient understanding. So it is quite possible we are misinterpreting some of them because the words and meanings and knowledge have changed since then. e.g. the Native American Indians called the steam train the 'Iron Horse'. They knew it wasn't a horse made of iron, but they were the only words they had that could come close to describing what they were seeing. But that name taken out of context 100+years later suggests a very different interpretation of what existed.

    And if you want to be even more open-minded to the possibility of ancient people not understanding what they see, we can talk alien intervention and genetic manipulation and such... but maybe that is for another thread.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I'm sure the story of Atlantis was embelished somewhat, and may have become infused with history from other places like the island of Minos, but beneath all the distortions I see little reason to believe there might not have been a nation of some kind at the source.
    True, although I guess if we're going to account for any of that in the search for the earliest great civilization, we'll have to prove they existed, first.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    People sometimes treat history as being entirely devoid of any credibility if it hasn't survived in exactly it's perfect original form. You can't read it precisely in such cases, but the general gist of it still has a reasonable chance of being true.
    In a way it's actually both humbling, and kinda disappointing. I remember this summer when I was on vacation in Oxford, I cruised up to Bath to meal around the Roman ruins. The technology, the design, and even the architectural themes are so shockingly close to today's that it blows the mind. In fact, when you look at some of the technology at places like Bath, the Middle Ages and even the centuries that followed really were a setback in technology. There's also technology showing up in further excavations and study that surpasses what we believed was only capable to much later generations. I mean, there were large-pane glass-enclosed saunas, sophysticated heat pumps, hallow structural members, and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Of course, it frustrates me when people find ruins under the sea somewhere and automatically assume it must be Atlantis. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of submerged cities near the coastlines of the existing continents.
    I always thought this was a bit odd, too. The sea level and the land have changed a lot over the centuries (on the scales that would effect a town). Also, when they find scatterings of carved blocks and statues, to me, I want to say "wish we had the cargo manafest for the ship that must have sank here." We've also come to learn relatively recently that the Romans built some impressively large and complex ships and barge-palaces, which if they sank, would probably certainly look like a little temple or town.

    On another note, did anyone ever figure out what those big stone blocks where off the coast of Florida? I'm trying to dig up a link to the site (but I'm being lazy).


    Quote Originally Posted by UKDutyPaid
    ...So it is quite possible we are misinterpreting some of them because the words and meanings and knowledge have changed since then. e.g. the Native American Indians called the steam train the 'Iron Horse'. They knew it wasn't a horse made of iron, but they were the only words they had that could come close to describing what they were seeing. But that name taken out of context 100+years later suggests a very different interpretation of what existed.
    This is certainly true. If you're going to read a text from centuries ago, you can't take the terminology in context of today's meanings. To do that is to waste your time. This kind of fault happens a lot when casual readers look over historic texts, or even more modern literature written in a different style.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Isn't there a place for discussions on "Who's comments are acceptable and who's aren't" ? I mean, it makes for an interesting debate, but it might belong in another section.
    Not necessarily but it seems to get raised through certain peoples childish pedantry and superiority complexes.

    Well i am surprised none of you have mentioned the Clovis Culture from North America.

    Archeologists records have dated this civilization as far back as 13,000, to possibly 50,000 years ago.

    Although there seems to be some debate and controversy surrounding the dates.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_...e-Clovis_sites

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=7565568

    http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=2043

    Mesopotamia is considered to be the oldest known civilization dated from 5th millennium BC.

    With these dates in mind as well as the Clovis i would think there is a good chance there was a primitive form of civilizations forming previous to these dates.

    But you have to be careful with the term 'civilization' as this normally means a settled group characterized by the practice of agriculture.
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  26. #25  
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    I'm often curious what we're going off of when we assume there were no civilized people before recorded history. I guess the most credible basis to go off of is whether we're able to dig up any tools from earth layers that go that far back. (And of course there's a chance that many pre- 10,000 BC civilizations may have been covered over by rising oceans)

    I worry sometimes that it's just on a lack of written records. Modern history shows us that the conquerer often likes to erase their victims' cultural records. Part of why we know very little about ancient Aztec and Maya cultures is because the Spanish tended to burn any records they found.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I'm often curious what we're going off of when we assume there were no civilized people before recorded history.
    The search is more for the earliest civilization, not the earliest civilization with writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I guess the most credible basis to go off of is whether we're able to dig up any tools from earth layers that go that far back. (And of course there's a chance that many pre- 10,000 BC civilizations may have been covered over by rising oceans)
    That's easily enough answered. Do we not find fossils from older than 10k years? But either way, why would we have a problem digging back that far? With the exception of the sea-bed, we regularly trod around on ancient ground. Depending on the geology and weather of a region, an ancient site can sit for quite a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Part of why we know very little about ancient Aztec and Maya cultures is because the Spanish tended to burn any records they found.
    I was my understanding that the Aztecs and Mayans lacked a form of written language applied to paper. The the Spanish came, their logs concerning the way in which the people reacted to books was probably a clear indication that they hadn't experienced that form of keeping before.
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    Another interesting Maya/Aztec sidetrack (though still related) is the ancient stories of a white man with a beard coming and teaching them about civilisation. Which is why, apparently, when the Europeans turned up, the natives just laid down their weapons and did what they were told, because they thought it was some kind of 'second coming'.

    I believe their ancient story also included something about giants that helped them build their pyramids and such (moving stones), which as you know are incredible feats of architecture. In fact the Mayan building foundations, famous for their incredible craftsmanship, where the only thing the Europeans didn't knock down, instead they built on them.

    Add to this the the crystal skull, stories of levitational powers (for moving stones), the mechanical device that is reckoned to track the stars, the Venus calendar etc etc and you discover an amazing wealth of detailed knowledge.

    My point being that there was clearly a civilisation that had immense capablities with regards to astronomy, farming and architecture. Such understanding surely requires time to establish, which in itself is a hint there was something substancial in existance long before this time. Either that or a white man with a beard came to earth, spliced humans from monkeys and taught us how to live... Stargate anyone?
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I'm often curious what we're going off of when we assume there were no civilized people before recorded history.
    The search is more for the earliest civilization, not the earliest civilization with writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I guess the most credible basis to go off of is whether we're able to dig up any tools from earth layers that go that far back. (And of course there's a chance that many pre- 10,000 BC civilizations may have been covered over by rising oceans)
    That's easily enough answered. Do we not find fossils from older than 10k years? But either way, why would we have a problem digging back that far? With the exception of the sea-bed, we regularly trod around on ancient ground. Depending on the geology and weather of a region, an ancient site can sit for quite a while.
    Yeah, I meant finding tools might be the hard part. The only good reason I can see for ruling out civilizations older than 10,000 BC would be if they were doing a lot of digging at the level of Earth layers that go back to that time, and not finding tools.

    But, as you pointed out: we have to get pretty lucky to do one of these digs and have it just so happen to be in the right place. There don't seem to be a lot of ways to guess which areas of ground will lead us somewhere and which won't, especially pre-ice age.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Yeah, I meant finding tools might be the hard part. The only good reason I can see for ruling out civilizations older than 10,000 BC would be if they were doing a lot of digging at the level of Earth layers that go back to that time, and not finding tools.

    But, as you pointed out: we have to get pretty lucky to do one of these digs and have it just so happen to be in the right place. There don't seem to be a lot of ways to guess which areas of ground will lead us somewhere and which won't, especially pre-ice age.
    Wha?

    We have a very good idea of what the physical geography of our planet was 10000 years ago. We are quite certain as to where the rivers and major sources of freshwater were. We also have a very good (now) record of the origins of written language, not just in the Old World, but also in the New World.

    We have used these facts to help us explore just about any part of the world that could have supported a large population 10000 - 15000 years ago. And we have found no evidence of written language, of large scale social stratifiaction (and the divisions of labour that allow for advanced civilisations to exist), or of agriculture or inductry on a large scale.

    We, therefore, have many, very good reasons for presuming there were no 'advanced' civilisations (at least of humans) over 10,000 years ago.
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    It's kind of hard for me to believe that the areas currently under water wouldn't have been habitable. Indeed, they would seem to be the most habitable in an ice-age world.

    Where do you find the warmest temperatures? Try the lowest altitudes.


    As far as evidence, common sense suggests that evidence gets harder to find the further back you want to look because.... well..... it's got to survive a lot longer in order to ever reach us.

    That still doesn't excuse if they're suffering an extreme lack of evidence, but it certainly mitigates. The ability to find homo-erectus and neanderthal bones in the areas now above water, but no homo-sapien bones in those same areas, kind of sends up a flag for me.

    It suggests that the highlands were "overrun by orcs"....... or who knows what they called them (certainly not the names we use today). I doubt our ancestors thought much of the quasi-primates they shared a planet with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    We also have a very good (now) record of the origins of written language, not just in the Old World, but also in the New World.
    ...
    We, therefore, have many, very good reasons for presuming there were no 'advanced' civilisations (at least of humans) over 10,000 years ago.
    You make some fair points here, certainly. However, as has been discussed earlier in the thread, written language is not the be-all and end-all of the definition of advanced. But then again we haven't really established what advanced means either in this thread. The Gauls didn't have written language, but they had organised towns, trade routes, advanced smithing techniques etc... so does this qualify as advanced? And if so, do you think we would know anything about them if it weren't for the romans recording it?

    I suppose the main point is that we have managed to piece together much about our past through a combination of archeology and written records, even then many parts of history are patchy as hell. So I would suggest that if you remove any written record, and add 8000 years, then the chance of identifying and understanding an ancient civilisation on archeology alone is a momoth task. We have only found one 'Lucy', but does that mean that she had no friends?


    It suggests that the highlands were "overrun by orcs"
    haha! great analogy/idea
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKDutyPaid
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    We also have a very good (now) record of the origins of written language, not just in the Old World, but also in the New World.
    ...
    We, therefore, have many, very good reasons for presuming there were no 'advanced' civilisations (at least of humans) over 10,000 years ago.
    You make some fair points here, certainly. However, as has been discussed earlier in the thread, written language is not the be-all and end-all of the definition of advanced. But then again we haven't really established what advanced means either in this thread. The Gauls didn't have written language, but they had organised towns, trade routes, advanced smithing techniques etc... so does this qualify as advanced? And if so, do you think we would know anything about them if it weren't for the romans recording it?

    I suppose the main point is that we have managed to piece together much about our past through a combination of archeology and written records, even then many parts of history are patchy as hell. So I would suggest that if you remove any written record, and add 8000 years, then the chance of identifying and understanding an ancient civilisation on archeology alone is a momoth task. We have only found one 'Lucy', but does that mean that she had no friends?
    OK. Written language isn't the be-all and end-all, but at least it can be seen as evidence that a particular civilisation is advanced. That is, possession of a written language could be taken to entail an advanced civilisation, although not, as you point out, the reverse.

    Even so the window of opportunity for advanced civilisations is not huge: from about 40,000 years bp - the time of the 'great leap forward' - to 10,000 years bp, as per the OP. At least, if we're talking about human civilisations. I cannot answer for the octopodes.

    We also have a pretty good archaeological record of technological/tool-using advance by humans in the period from 40,000 to 10,000 years bp. It shows steady increase in use of more sophisticated stuff until we find the agricultural breakthroughs from about 12,000 ybp and thereafter.

    This is also supported by analysis of the genetic clock of modern domesticates - not just wheat and barley and rice and so on, but also dogs and cats. All modern domesticates, wherever found, show signs of having been domesticated within the last 14 or 15 thousand years.

    I don't want to be the party pooper here and rain on some Atlantis-fantasy parade, but the evidence is strongly in favour of the notion that the first advanced civilisations are ones we already know of - the Mesopotamian, the Chinese and the Egyptian (with a doff of the cap to some of the others - the Indus Valley, the New Guinean and so on).
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Quote Originally Posted by UKDutyPaid
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    We also have a very good (now) record of the origins of written language, not just in the Old World, but also in the New World.
    ...
    We, therefore, have many, very good reasons for presuming there were no 'advanced' civilisations (at least of humans) over 10,000 years ago.
    You make some fair points here, certainly. However, as has been discussed earlier in the thread, written language is not the be-all and end-all of the definition of advanced. But then again we haven't really established what advanced means either in this thread. The Gauls didn't have written language, but they had organised towns, trade routes, advanced smithing techniques etc... so does this qualify as advanced? And if so, do you think we would know anything about them if it weren't for the romans recording it?

    I suppose the main point is that we have managed to piece together much about our past through a combination of archeology and written records, even then many parts of history are patchy as hell. So I would suggest that if you remove any written record, and add 8000 years, then the chance of identifying and understanding an ancient civilisation on archeology alone is a momoth task. We have only found one 'Lucy', but does that mean that she had no friends?
    OK. Written language isn't the be-all and end-all, but at least it can be seen as evidence that a particular civilisation is advanced. That is, possession of a written language could be taken to entail an advanced civilisation, although not, as you point out, the reverse.

    Even so the window of opportunity for advanced civilisations is not huge: from about 40,000 years bp - the time of the 'great leap forward' - to 10,000 years bp, as per the OP. At least, if we're talking about human civilisations. I cannot answer for the octopodes.


    We also have a pretty good archaeological record of technological/tool-using advance by humans in the period from 40,000 to 10,000 years bp. It shows steady increase in use of more sophisticated stuff until we find the agricultural breakthroughs from about 12,000 ybp and thereafter.

    This is also supported by analysis of the genetic clock of modern domesticates - not just wheat and barley and rice and so on, but also dogs and cats. All modern domesticates, wherever found, show signs of having been domesticated within the last 14 or 15 thousand years.

    Well, it is interesting to know what the evidence against is. And, of course, there may remain some gaps in the exclusions created by it.

    If the world had ended in 1500 AD and some civilization rising out of the ashes some millenia later were to study the findings on the North American continent, but not South or Central America and were unaware of the rest of the world, they might conclude there had never been any advanced civilizations prior to the cataclysm.

    That's more extreme than what Atlantis theories suggest, but not if we imagine a few isolated cultures springing up, but the rest of the world remaining like the North American Indians.

    Indeed, it's possible that the American Indians would show a steady increase in the use of tools and agriculture, if certain factors allowed for it, but none of that would reflect on whether Europe had become advanced.

    I don't want to be the party pooper here and rain on some Atlantis-fantasy parade, but the evidence is strongly in favour of the notion that the first advanced civilisations are ones we already know of - the Mesopotamian, the Chinese and the Egyptian (with a doff of the cap to some of the others - the Indus Valley, the New Guinean and so on).
    I'm not going to be crushed if the idea turns out to be entirely false. I like to examine it because I think it makes for better fiction. The closer you can weave a fanciful tale to match reality, the more immersive it becomes, I think. It's sort of like how "the davinci code" was so fun, but only a really uninformed person would take it very seriously. Still, Dan Brown was wise to include as much genuine research as possible in order to weave the illusion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    If the world had ended in 1500 AD and some civilization rising out of the ashes some millenia later were to study the findings on the North American continent, but not South or Central America and were unaware of the rest of the world, they might conclude there had never been any advanced civilizations prior to the cataclysm.

    That's more extreme than what Atlantis theories suggest, but not if we imagine a few isolated cultures springing up, but the rest of the world remaining like the North American Indians.

    Indeed, it's possible that the American Indians would show a steady increase in the use of tools and agriculture, if certain factors allowed for it, but none of that would reflect on whether Europe had become advanced.
    One qualification here. Around 1500 CE, modern mainland US was the seat of a thriving, and yes advanced, civilisation, the Mississippian. Not too much is known about it because the diseases introduced early on so devastated the population that, by the time explorers began reporting back to Europe regarding the Mississippi-Missouri basin, only fragments of villages were left.

    I used as my main reference source for this my usual recommendation: Guns, Germs and Steel.

    Wiki too, has something to say about it.

    Of course, the fact that it is so little known in general can be seen to lend weight to your speculation - perhaps it is quite easy to forget. :wink:
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    Same here, as kojax, I like the discussion of the theory, I have no conclusive proof either way. But it is an interesting debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Indeed, it's possible that the American Indians would show a steady increase in the use of tools and agriculture, if certain factors allowed for it, but none of that would reflect on whether Europe had become advanced.
    This is an interesting point actually. I would argue that the change from civilisation to 'great' or 'advanced' civilisation came when man changed from a hunter gatherer/nomadic lifestyle, such as the American Indians, to an agricultural based lifestyle. The ability to control your surroundings and provide ample food allows for the cultural focus to shift from merely a survival based approach to a broader one. It creates more free time to explore the other aspects of life. Astronomy, maths, writing etc. Whatsmore I would say that these elements are essential for a civilisation to truly develop its thinking.

    I believe that in some wicka and pagan based faiths, that the story of Adam and Eve is a reflection of this change. Once they had 'eaten of the fruit of knowledge' they were cast out from a more natural and in-tune way fo living, to one where they began to change the world arround them.

    I'm not quite sure whee I'm going with this post, i just find the 'facts' interesting. I guess I'm getting at something about how all the stories we have are linked and point to a single origin, whether it be a civilisation we know about, or one we don't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Well, Jericho is believed to have been founded in 9000BC, so 10kBC isn't that far off.
    so 10 generations is nothing to you.... a lot can happen in 1000 years i mean in the last 1000 years we have
    1.come out of the dark ages
    2.built cars
    3.new advancments in science
    4.gone to space
    5.cloned animals
    6.documented almost all of earths history
    7.made great advancments in medical.
    8. increased the life span of a human by around 30 years.
    9.increased the life span of a dog by 7 years.
    10.made skyscrapers.
    11.discovered america
    12.maped the earth.
    13. maped 1 side of the moon.
    14.gone to the moon!
    15.sent probs to most of the planets. (not includeing pluto. which is not a planet says so scientists.
    16.built computers
    17.build T.V.s
    18. made the internet.
    19.developed the nuke
    20.and maped the human body.
    21. quantum mechanics
    22.quantum comeputers
    23.developed weather forcasting

    BOO YA!

    -Lot more just cant think of :P"
    so Jericho could have been build in 9000b.c but a lot coulda happend between then. i mean nomads at 10000 and between there someone probobly got a spark in the heads about agriculture and started staying in one place
    trash can man :-D

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    I get the impression that part of why we only find sparse remnants of things like batteries, or little mechanical devices is because technology was constantly being discovered and then lost.

    Either the discoverers didn't write it down, or they made too few copies, or the inventor opted not to share their discovery. (Maximum advantage would be the use it without telling anyone else how to do the same.)

    I think a lot of notions of "magic" came from guilds that would discover something and then cover it over in mummery and mysterious codes and such to keep others from getting it. The Masons are a good example of this, but I strongly suspect there are others.
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    like in the dark ages. a rewind in human advancment, chirstians burned anyone for discovering anything new.

    but for cities and agriculture to have "been lost and then rediscovered" a cataclysmic event must have happens and it is very unlikely as well. Something the size of.. say a super valcano erupting and reducing the human population (say there was only 30million people back then) to 5 million.
    trash can man :-D

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    I'm not too keen on Atlantis, but, coming from a nautical family, and living on a coastal delta, Kojax's suggestion that our best evidence may be lost to the sea has always seemed self-evident.

    Just what makes a "civilization"? I think we often say "organized agriculture" not because this is civilization, but because it enables civilization. I'm going to show how civilization can exist without agriculture.

    Also imagining civilization, we envision cities. Of course to carry on any division of labour, you need the various specialists and classes not too far down the road from each other. It just makes practical sense that one shouldn't haul goods far across the landscape, to get them processed, traded, consumed. A city is about conservation of travel costs. I'm going to show another way.

    Meet the pre-Columbian Haida. They have the biggest canoes, 60-seaters, and they run an unassailable protection racket. They have always maintained ruthless hegemony, up and down the North American Pacific Northwest coast. Any wealth they want, they take. When they need work done, they take slaves. They also own the coastal "trade". It is easy for them; booty travels light and fast on water. The tributary nations may starve, but the Haida, never.

    They were stinking rich.

    The Haida live in shoreside villages, built more up from the water than down to it. The canoes of war and freight and pleasure come and go. Nobody walks to the nearest village. All the coast from the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) to Puget Sound (Washington State) is Haida coast, taxable, accessible. It functions like a single city, and the Haida masters exclusively possess all the roads.

    They had quite the setup.

    Do similar arrangements seem likely elsewhere, pre-agriculture?
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    The other possibility I can forsee is that the survivors of whatever cataclysm hit the world had to resort to hunting to survive for a few generations, and didn't know how to read and write so as to instruct their grand-children.

    I was reading some interesting online stuff that spoke of agriculture just suddenly appearing in the archaological record, with no indications of where it came from or how it was developed. It might have been on one of those conspiracy-ish sites, though.

    I'm curious how sure we are that the technology developed on the continents as we know them, rather than somewhere else, and then migrated when the inventors had to migrate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimatter54
    a cataclysmic event must have happens and it is very unlikely as well.
    I disagree. Given what we know about ice ages, geological formations and movements, climate change and meteorite strikes etc, not to mention the fact that nearly every creation story/religion tells of a great cataclysm that wiped out all but a few of the people alive... I say there was a fairly high chance that it happened.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKDutyPaid
    a great cataclysm that wiped out all but a few of the people alive...
    Suppose we have a few of those, globally, plus regional ones. Since gathered food sources like crab, fish, seaweed, survive most anything, we can guess the surviving generations would migrate to the coasts if they weren't already there. It might not be so bad... like the bellows action of European plagues. We'd gradually spread inland & specialize toward agriculture, until WHAM, die off & try again. Those self-isolating pioneers keep getting snuffed. Meanwhile, the "pool" of humans occupy the coasts & seas, and spawn fresh waves of ...landlubbers... after each cataclysm. This story could be older than our species. Only after agriculture really comes into its own can it pressure the absorption of coastal folk (or maybe they just genocided them).
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    That makes a lot of sense. Especially when you consider that a small population would find game very plentiful. There's no reason to even practice agriculture if the hunting is easy. Why would someone go to all the effort?

    The generation that finds themselves in an underpopulated world isn't going to sit there thinking: " Gosh, we'd better keep our children informed about how to grow crops because someday in the far future the world might re-populate."

    Nobody's that far sighted. They probably assume the new hunting/gathering life they've found will last forever.
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    I'm fascinated by the concept of "pumping" that cyclic calamities may force, to our long term advantage.

    I mentioned European plagues for example. Here's how it works:

    You have two villages, A and B.

    A is situated on a forested river delta, and the A folk are fishers mostly. The shore is piled with clamshells; testament to the limited resource. They cut a few choice trees to build their boats, and they have a certain culture and technology appropriate to fishing. They could design an astronomically relevant henge, as they spend a lot of time stargazing. But manpower and organization is limited due to the gatherer lifestyle. They would never clear the land of precious trees!

    B folk live in that elevated, isolated valley just beyond the ridge. They are farmers. They have cleared and landscaped much of the terrain. They know how to move boulders and divert streams. Work parties are common. They care little for the movements of the heavenly bodies. The land does not yield so much as it once did, and they've got to trudge for hours gathering firewood. Many children suffer malnutrition, life is a drag.

    Along comes Death. Village A is decimated, B dodges the bullet. Later, some farmer folk come down from the hills to scout things out. They find a scarcely inhabited ghost town, and rich soil, ripe for the taking. What's going to happen?

    Of course the B folk try their technology on this new environment. And maybe they thrive better over time than the A folk ever would have, thanks to the Grim Reaper. But there's more yet, because these newcomers learn a few tricks from the natives. They learn to wind yarns into ropes. They use these ropes to restrain their livestock.

    After a while, B folk seem primitive to the A folk. High time Death came to help move things along, eh?
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    Every society eventually over-populates itself, which takes away all of their upward mobility, and drives them to a level of basic subsistence where they no longer have the resources to do anything progressive.

    Death cuts them back down to the nubbins, and then out of the abundance of available resources to work with, they start doing things again. It's too bad we can't bring about that process another way, perhaps artificially instead of just waiting for a calamity to do it?
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    Discover the New World. Heh. I live in British Columbia. *pwns*

    Well China's got their population stabilized, yet they keep improving the land's productivity. So even in isolation they grow wealthier.
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    Once you've got a stable population, all those food increases free up your labor. I mean a larger % becomes available. With more free labor, you're able to find better increases faster, and so the process accelerates itself.

    Unfortunately the reverse is true as well. Overpopulation accelerates its own misfortunes.
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    I've only stumbled upon with this thread and forum, quite nice I might add.

    Regarding this topic I would like to point out some sketchy things; Albeit being very hard to prove, there has been discussion of civilizations other than recorded ones having reached some advancements.

    Jericho has been recognized as the oldest AVAILABLE "city" for us to study, and while the most accepted date for its foundation is 9,000 BC (Çatalhöyük would be worthy of deeper study in that matter), some discussions among experts dare to even take it to the 11,000-12,000 BC. We have to remember very clearly that Jericho as we recognize it has been destroyed once to its foundation (that is not recorded only in the bible); taking speculation further we might wonder if it wasn't THE FIRST TIME it was destroyed...

    By the way Mesopotamia is not quite the right denomination for the culture there, first was the Sumer empire (sumerian), then advancing to the asyrian and lastly to the babylonian. Maybe there is some pre-natufian culture that settled within "Jericho" area. If we see the findings of Çatalhöyük and compare the building type to that of 50 B.C. era Israel, houses do not differ that much. We can only wonder why if humankind tend to evolve so quickly we didn't advance earlier...

    I find this civilizations pre-dating the 10,000 BC to be very believable, let's look at our own records for that. As mentioned before, winning cultures tend to destroy altogether traces of the losing cultures, and this is particularly true when talking of ancient civilizations. In egyptian or kemetic records we find they were pretty adept of erasing traces of other cultures, such as the nubians (which was an EMPIRE before the kemetic development) or the jewish people.

    Spaniards crushed much of the evidence of written knowledge (Aztecs used some kind of paper only so few are preserved and are called códices or codex (I do know this because I am Mexican and have studied some of the prehispanic culture). The same happened with the Mayan, Toltec and Olmecan cultures with its own circumstances, as well as with Spain also happened to the Inca Empire. Written texts in paper are unlikely to be found with so much time passed. If it wasn't for stone records, much more would have been lost.

    Think of it, paper crumbles within a few centuries and it does so much quicker the more processed it is. The same goes with every tool made by man. Metal well preserved can last for ages, but when exposed to the elements and humidity, it can become a pile of rust pretty quickly, even a great japanese katana would last a few millenia before it would be no more.

    If we look at our advancements, take for example plastic and everything related the materials degrade themselves in just 500 years max., the so fabled concrete structures would just take 300-1000 years to fade into nothing. Carved stone can last more than concrete and whatnot, and stone is only (if we bare witness to our own history) the material of "mid-advanced civilizations" constructions and many of our structures are not made of stone.

    Every trace of our great acomplishments without the proper maintenance (which take a lot of knowledge, technology and manpower) just don't take the passage of time.

    Consider this, even as we live these moments, humankind is steadily striving for a more earth-friendly environment, such a civilization would leave behind even less traces; If tragedy stroke in the years to come, humans able to survive wouldn't have what it takes to maintain anything as it is. Other thing that needs to be considered is the capacity of mankind to keep itself from evolving and advancing.

    The dark age is but the modern vestige of possibly a very ancient practice, that is to label progress with a taboo marker so it won't happen. Some american native cultures also spoke of "forbidden places" or forbidden practices (sound familiar?) this could all easily contribute to the ignorance of an earlier civilization.
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    It think maybe part of the reason we perceive "Copper" and "Bronze" ages is because Copper doesn't rust, but Iron does. It would be really a big surprise to find an Iron tool from 6000 BC, even if they were widespread.


    Another thing we're forgetting, or 2 things:

    1) - Printing Press.

    We assume that whatever technology existed would be widespread, but in any pre-printing press era, there's no mechanism for things to become widespread unless they're extremely easy to communicated by word of mouth.

    2) - Guild Law

    The ancient societies had no patent laws. If a person discovered something exceptional, they usually formed a guild, and kept it really hush hush for as long as they could, which... without a printing press.... could sometimes be a very long time.


    A society could have literacy, but only teach it to less than 1% of their population. Things like electric batteries, or complicated mechanical calculators would be shown to the masses as "magic" by the very secretive guilds that knew how to create them.
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