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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: 2) by Phoenix666 on Monday May 18 2020, @12:43PM (1 child)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 18 2020, @12:43PM (#995720) Journal

    That is all fine and technically true for rhetorical purposes, Arik, but if you want to throw out the exact sorts of markers and evidence archaeologists have used to posit a spiritual purpose for Göbekli Tepe then you have to do the same for every other civilization they have done the same for. The consensus of the world's archaeologists is that when certain images, objects, and placements obtain, a spiritual or religious purpose is strongly indicated.

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  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Monday May 18 2020, @08:45PM

    by Arik (4543) on Monday May 18 2020, @08:45PM (#996006) Journal
    "then you have to do the same for every other civilization they have done the same for."

    Oh not really. For many civilizations written records are available to fill in at least some of the gaps.

    But for pre-historic sites, it's simply honesty to say we don't really and can't really know some of the things we might like to know. What did those figures mean? I strongly suspect some of them had astronomical significance, meaning they had a timekeeping function. Even that is somewhat speculative. Would astronomy and timekeeping have been seen as 'spiritual' by the people then? That's piling speculation on top of speculation. Does it seem likely, sure? But how would you prove it? I can't imagine a way.

    One thing we can say with some assurance is that it's very unlikely they even had a concept that would *exactly* correspond to what we mean by 'spiritual' or 'religious' today.
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