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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 bzipitidoo on Sunday May 17 2020, @05:06AM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 17 2020, @05:06AM (#995257) Journal

    I suspect the idea of mammoth hunting is a "man the mighty hunter" myth, concocted by macho men who like to think their ancestors were the meanest, toughest, and most fit of all animals in Stone Age times, the apex predator.

    They probably could kill mammoths, with traps, long range weapons, and perhaps endurance, but it would have been at the least a lot more effort than hunting antelope. Very likely a lot riskier too. It's not just that mammoth are a lot, lot bigger than antelope, and may be more inclined to fight than flee. It's also that they are smarter, and once humans showed their colors, they would remember. Is it possible that any humans who killed a mammoth would find themselves and their village or camp attacked by the rest of the herd, the next night?

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  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:51PM

    by Arik (4543) on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:51PM (#995329) Journal
    Yes, I think you're right. People feel it's more flattering to imagine their ancestors hunting the very biggest game, rather than the more realistic scenario of them preferring to hunt less dangerous prey, and scavenge anything else they can.

    "They probably could kill mammoths, with traps, long range weapons, and perhaps endurance, but it would have been at the least a lot more effort than hunting antelope. "

    And it would have relied on luck to even be occasionally viable. Mammoths likely behaved very similar to African Elephants today, which means they are usually found in herds with several large, adult Elephants watching out for and guarding the young. Attacking a herd of elephants with spears is just suicidal. Maybe once in awhile you find a young one that's gotten separated from the group and manage to take it down? Sure. But you don't plan your hunt based on the idea you'll get incredibly lucky. You plan your hunt to go out and take prey that you reasonably expect to find, and to be able to take safely.

    You mention antelope, and we know they were commonly hunted, a favorite prey of early humans. Hunting antelope you would get close enough to attack with javelin or throwing spear or a small bow, trying to get one good shot in by ambush most likely. And the antelope would get hit and run away, the rest of the herd would see that and run away too. Then you just follow the blood trail, and recover the body. Relatively safe and easy. Maybe another predator claims the body before you can retrieve it - that's the main risk here.

    Compare that to what would happen if you tried to ambush a Mammoth in the same way. The mammoth probably doesn't run away - it charges straight at you. The rest of the herd? Yeah, several of those are charging you too, maybe one of them is leading the young ones away at the same time but still. You're very likely coming out of this shaped like a pancake, and even if your target does bleed out later, you're not going to be around to harvest it.

    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?