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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, Interesting) by HiThere on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:48PM (1 child)

    by HiThere (866) on Saturday May 16 2020, @04:48PM (#995039) Journal

    That's rather unlikely. Mammoths would be dangerous to kill, and the only obvious way to kill lots of them with primitive weapons is something like driving them off a cliff by starting a grass fire. People *did* do things like that, but this probably isn't near a cliff.

    OTOH, mammoths probably occasionally stampeded, and they might have preferred to avoid mammoth death sites, as elephants today avoid obvious elephant death sited. So that would explain one or two of the skeletons. And people have a tendency to say "more is better", which could explain the others. I'm not guessing about *why* people camped near mammoth skeletons, just that the ones with that custom tended to survive better. So if they had a belief that "it's good luck to camp near a mammoth skeleton", that would explain getting as many as possible near your camp site. And you don't need to explain *why* they though it was good luck if it actually was beneficial.

    As to why they would camp there originally...well, killing a mammoth is dangerous, and it's too heavy to cart back to camp. Much easier to bring the camp to the mammoth. And a mammoth is temporary wealth to the entire tribe. (Not that temporary, as the bones can be made into very useful tools.)

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16 2020, @05:31PM (#995059)

    I mean... or maybe mammoths did as elephants do, and had graveyards? Which the humans raided for bones?