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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: 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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