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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday May 16 2020, @12:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the did-they-file-a-permit? dept.

Geometry guided construction of earliest known temple, built 6,000 years before Stonehenge:

The sprawling 11,500-year-old stone Göbekli Tepe complex in southeastern Anatolia, Turkey, is the earliest known temple in human history and one of the most important discoveries of Neolithic research.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority have now used architectural analysis to discover that geometry informed the layout of Göbekli Tepe's impressive round stone structures and enormous assembly of limestone pillars, which they say were initially planned as a single structure.

Three of the Göbekli Tepe's monumental round structures, the largest of which are 20 meters in diameter, were initially planned as a single project, according to researchers Gil Haklay of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a Ph.D. candidate at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Avi Gopher of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations. They used a computer algorithm to trace aspects of the architectural design processes involved in the construction of these enclosures in this early Neolithic site.

Their findings were published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal in May.

[...] Discovered by German archaeologist Dr. Klaus Schmidt in 1994, Göbekli Tepe has since been the subject of hot archaeological debate. But while these, and other early Neolithic remains, have been intensively studied, the issue of architectural planning during these periods and its cultural ramifications have not.

Most researchers have made the case that the Göbekli Tepe enclosures at the main excavation area were constructed over time. However, Haklay and Prof. Gopher say that three of the structures were designed as a single project and according to a coherent geometric pattern.

[...] "This case of early architectural planning may serve as an example of the dynamics of cultural changes during the early parts of the Neolithic period," Haklay says. "Our findings suggest that major architectural transformations during this period, such as the transition to rectangular architecture, were knowledge-based, top-down processes carried out by specialists.

"The most important and basic methods of architectural planning were devised in the Levant in the Late Epipaleolithic period as part of the Natufian culture and through the early Neolithic period. Our new research indicates that the methods of architectural planning, abstract design rules and organizational patterns were already being used during this formative period in human history."

Next, the researchers intend to investigate the architectural remains of other Neolithic sites throughout the Levant.

More information:Gil Haklay et al, Geometry and Architectural Planning at Göbekli Tepe, Turkey, Cambridge Archaeological Journal (2020). DOI: 10.1017/S0959774319000660


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by RandomFactor on Saturday May 16 2020, @03:08PM (15 children)

    by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 16 2020, @03:08PM (#995007) Journal

    Both sites suggest spiritual motives that drove their construction despite the physical difficulty and inconvenience of doing so.

    I don't think "inconvenience" is the right word. Those days life was easy - just kill a mammoth and eat it for a week - so free time management was necessary.

    I'm not going to cop to 'easy' (hey, sometimes the mammoth wins...) but the average foraging time of Agta hunter/gatherers [sciencedaily.com] is about 20hrs/wk, which makes me a little jealous.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 16 2020, @03:24PM (8 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 16 2020, @03:24PM (#995013) Journal
    My average forage time is about one hour a week.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @03:58PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @03:58PM (#995018)

      You replaced forage time with employment.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:37PM (#995034)

        Too complex for him - you just have to mod him down and move on.

      • (Score: 1) by RandomFactor on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:11PM

        by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:11PM (#995045) Journal

        Hmmm, that may actually have been more about time spent raiding the refrigerator :-P

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      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:16PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:16PM (#995048) Journal

        You replaced forage time with employment.

        Why? I do a lot more with employment than merely forage.

    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:43PM (3 children)

      by Arik (4543) on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:43PM (#995037) Journal
      So you're saying you only spend 1/40th of your income on necessities?
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      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 16 2020, @07:57PM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 16 2020, @07:57PM (#995113) Journal
        I guess what I'm saying is that like is not compared to like. Even counting the time I spend outside of work, I spend less than 20 hours per week on necessities, and I get a lot more value out of my necessities than a hunter/gatherer gets out of theirs.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Arik on Saturday May 16 2020, @08:23PM (1 child)

          by Arik (4543) on Saturday May 16 2020, @08:23PM (#995125) Journal
          I suppose it depends to some degree on what you value. People didn't grow old and fat then, and usually didn't grow very old at all. But they could generally secure a healthy diet and satisfactory shelter for themselves and their children with about 20 hours a week of work, without being subjected to many of the unpleasant conditions that are common today. While their lives might have been shorter, they were probably in many cases happier with them.

          That said, obviously our material standard of living is much higher today in many ways. But we didn't go straight from the one condition to the other either. The agricultural revolution, in particular, did /not/ raise human standards of living. Quite the opposite, the more limited diet lead to all sorts of illnesses and problems, from simple malnutrition to the characteristic early destruction of the teeth among farmers, compared to hunters.

          The agricultural revolution did nothing to make the individual human better off. It simply allowed much greater population density. And it spread across the world for many centuries on the back of that one advantage for a very long time before eventually spawning the industrial revolution, which also while raising our lives in many ways brought new and deadly drawbacks as well.

          Even in historical times, during the colonization of the americas, it's a fact that natives never willingly went full colonist, while colonists often went native and would not come back voluntarily. The colonist life had many advantages but it came at such a high price that those who knew both ways never chose it voluntarily.
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          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 16 2020, @08:53PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 16 2020, @08:53PM (#995132) Journal

            I suppose it depends to some degree on what you value.

            One of my necessities allows me to travel a thousand miles in a day.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:31PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:31PM (#995031)

    That may be, but it can't support the sheer amount of people per square acre that farming can in an age where army size basically determined victory.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:25PM

      by HiThere (866) on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:25PM (#995055) Journal

      I think you have the wrong time period. They didn't have ways of preserving food for an army on the march, so it *had* to keep marching, or die in it's tracks, if it was larger than the local environment would support. This was true up to the time of Napoleon. They also didn't know much about sanitation. So they had to keep moving or die in their tracks. Etc.

      Read about the Trojan War. (There's a reasonable argument that the Trojan Horse was actually an Assyrian style siege engine covered with horse hides built by some foreign mercenaries.) And realize that this is LONG after the time being talked about here.

      Read about the Persian Empire's invasion of Greece, and the problem with the army's water supply. And realize that a quite small number of Greeks defeated that army. But that is also LONG after the time period under discussion.

      Read about the Medes and the Persians. And realize that that was LONG after the time period under discussion.

      Large, but not too large, armies are very useful in low-tech situations, but they sure aren't decisive on their own. Terrain can dominate. Fortifications are extremely important. Even Sun Tzu said that there are some fortresses you should just leave alone.

      That said, this was a pre-agricultural society. The "army" would be more like a band of hunters, possibly a fairly large band if the area would sustain such, but less than 100 people, and probably more like 25. Such a group can do a lot, but it's not the way you think of an army. Actually, most of the time it would probably operate in groups more like 5 in good country. You don't want to get too much smaller that that if you can avoid it when your best weapon is either a spear or an atlatl because of predators. (Arrows are for birds until you develop fancy bows or metal points.)

      Now you were contrasting this with early agricultural settlements. They had much larger populations, but the people living in them weren't largely as adept at handling weapons. And they weren't an army, those came later. Walled cities didn't come into Greece until AFTER the Dorian invasion. They were developed by the invaders, who were centaurs (i.e., they rode horses). I suspect that the "taur" part of centaur is a reference to a bull, and the the pre-Dorian Greeks didn't have a word for horse. I also suspect that the Greeks fleeing this invasion were the Philistines mentioned in the Bible, or their ancestors were. And this, again, is WAY LATER than the time under discussion. But it's the earliest one that there's decent evidence for, and even there the evidence is pretty sparse. But Athens held out against the Dorian invasion, which is why Attic Greek is different than other Greek of the classical era. (Not that different. The Dorians may have conquered, but they were a trivial number compared to the settled Greeks. They didn't conquer with a large army, but with cavalry, which the Greeks didn't understand.)

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  • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:16AM (3 children)

    by legont (4179) on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:16AM (#995243)

    Please note that modern hunter-gatherers live in the most hostile environments that even our state of the art technology finds difficult to use. 50000 years ago some of them had the best lands and probably worked 2 hours per week at most.

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    • (Score: 1) by RandomFactor on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:16PM (2 children)

      by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:16PM (#995394) Journal

      Fair point on the environmental difference.
       
      2 hours a week would make it more efficient than working and driving over to the supermarket once a week.
       
      Not much of an option now of course as killing off 7 billion people to support the lifestyle would encounter some resistance.

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      • (Score: 2) by legont on Monday May 18 2020, @04:19AM

        by legont (4179) on Monday May 18 2020, @04:19AM (#995605)

        Once upon a time I was on an island that was owned by an Asian military for the last hundred years or so. No visitors. Here is the procedure of living over there that I imagined and tried. You walk naked. When hungry you walk into the water and stick your finger out. When a few minutes later a fish bits your finger you take it out, bake it and eat it. That's pretty much it for the work part.
        The challenging parts are obviously population control and alien invaders. First is a matter of some discipline and the second... perhaps a thermonuclear bomb buried on the beach will do. Seriously, the only real problem is how to get them all foreigners to fuck off.
        Hawaii was a good example of paradise... As per the killing, a virus will do it for us one day; perhaps the day already came.

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      • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Monday May 18 2020, @09:33AM

        by deimtee (3272) on Monday May 18 2020, @09:33AM (#995658) Journal

        I've read that during good times, hunter-gatherers spend about five hours a week on getting food. That leaves plenty of time to build stuff to confuse their distant descendants.
        Of course during the bad times they can spend all their time on food and still go hungry.

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