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1 Off Colfax  Sun, May 22, 2011 7:37:42pm

Wow. Simply wow.

It's not every day that a team of archaeologists get the chance to rewrite a good chunk of history.

2 yasharki  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:02:21pm

"the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization" "The assemblage was built some 11,600 years ago, seven millennia before the Great Pyramid of Giza." Stone pillars cannot be carbon dated unless there are pieces of wood embedded in them, which our illustrious author doesn't mention, neither does he mention any evidence supporting this his claim to the age of Gobeki Tepe. Smells like BS.

"Eleven millennia ago nobody had digital imaging equipment, of course". No shit, we didn't have it 30 years ago, thanks for enlightening us...

"On the ground he saw flint chips—huge numbers of them. "Within minutes of getting there," Schmidt says, he realized that he was looking at a place where scores or even hundreds of people had worked in millennia past." Eghm, shouldn't those chips be covered by meters thick layer of soil after 11+ thousand years? Egyptian sphynx had to be dug up, and it's supposedly half as old, how could "flint chips" be laying around still? Scores, or hundreds I guess... (BS smell is getting stronger)

"the site had no water source—the nearest stream was about three miles away" Gee, it must have been them darn aliens, no human can work 40 minutes away from a water source...

3 andres  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:05:14pm

re: #2 yasharki

"the site had no water source—the nearest stream was about three miles away" Gee, it must have been them darn aliens, no human can work 40 minutes away from a water source...

(Sorry to answer this, but I'm too tired to get to the rest. :) )

There's no problem working 40 minutes from a water source. It's an entirely different thing to live 40 minutes from a water source.

4 Decatur Deb  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:09:13pm

There are many ways to date sites other than direct C14--the simplest is stratigraphy, using layered comparisons to organic-bearing soils. Others include thermoluminescence, if ceramics are in higher layers, and magnetic mapping.

[Link: www.uapress.arizona.edu...]

5 yasharki  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:14:37pm

re: #3 andres

I know people who grew up in villages in SU where the only fresh water source they had was infrequent rain, or a once-a-week water truck. And they managed just fine.

However my favorite part about the article is this: "oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization"... I'm at a loss of words...

6 Decatur Deb  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:15:30pm

More dating methods, from wiki.
[Link: en.wikipedia.org...]

An academic archaeologist is not likely to be very far off on a dig only 11,000 years old. (Unless Noah's flood washed away all the evidence.)

7 yasharki  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:17:12pm

re: #6 Decatur Deb

Sure, I won't argue with an archeologist, being a CS major and all, but dating methods and conclusions aren't mentioned in this article, which raises a question in my critical mind...

8 Decatur Deb  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:19:07pm

Yeah-- Nat Geo is a popular periodical, not a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The NG web should give a pointer to some of the hard publications of the site.

9 Decatur Deb  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:27:01pm

Here's a link to an article with academic references. Some of the pubs might be online.

[Link: www.thelivingmoon.com...]

10 andres  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:28:04pm

re: #8 Decatur Deb

Yeah-- Nat Geo is a popular periodical, not a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The NG web should give a pointer to some of the hard publications of the site.

Reasonable. The small problem is that most peer-reviewed journals require member access to read. Still, a reference shouldn't be something out of this world to ask for.

11 Decatur Deb  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:30:23pm

re: #10 andres

Reasonable. The small problem is that most peer-reviewed journals require member access to read. Still, a reference shouldn't be something out of this world to ask for.

Even sexy archaeology doesn't attract many web ads for Goldline and Arab girlfiends.

12 yasharki  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:33:55pm

re: #9 Decatur Deb

Now we're talking, this is scientific stuff, thanks for digging this up. Note however that the NG article goes against scientific data: "As important as what the researchers found was what they did not find: any sign of habitation", vs. "The PPN A settlement has been dated to ca. 9000 BC. There are remains of smaller houses from the PPN B and a few epipalaeolithic finds as well.". So there was a settlement, and houses right, how is that lack of habitation?

Anyway, I'm drunk and tired, scratch my comments, they're just that, comments.

13 yasharki  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:35:18pm

re: #11 Decatur Deb

Indiana Jones?!

14 Decatur Deb  Sun, May 22, 2011 8:41:57pm

re: #13 yasharki

Indiana Jones?!

Alouette recently listed 'archaeologist' among the preferred heroes of bodice-ripper romances.

15 freetoken  Sun, May 22, 2011 9:25:41pm

re: #2 yasharki

Though you're likely inebriated the objections you raise are still needing addressing.

Note that Gobekli Tepe has been an archeological hot spot for a couple of years now, and the NGM article is just the latest to cover it. Earlier articles about it have showed up at LGF.

Stone pillars cannot be carbon dated unless there are pieces of wood embedded in them, which our illustrious author doesn't mention, neither does he mention any evidence supporting this his claim to the age of Gobeki Tepe. Smells like BS.

As others have pointed out there are many different dating techniques. Also, remember that they are digging into mounds, and obviously the lower levels were put there before the upper levels. The mounds are filled in, so one can also try to date the lowest level deposits, the ground upon which the monuments were placed.

"Eleven millennia ago nobody had digital imaging equipment, of course". No shit, we didn't have it 30 years ago, thanks for enlightening us...

Not true. The CCD came from the 1960's and by the 1970's there were early digital imaging machines around.


"... Eghm, shouldn't those chips be covered by meters thick layer of soil after 11+ thousand years? Egyptian sphynx had to be dug up, and it's supposedly half as old, how could "flint chips" be laying around still? Scores, or hundreds I guess... (BS smell is getting stronger)

The flint chips simply indicated that the area had people running around it in the neolithic times. And, as far as Egypt is concerned the problem is Saharan winds blowing sand and dust, which tends to obscure structures very quickly.

....Gee, it must have been them darn aliens, no human can work 40 minutes away from a water source...

You obviously live in the time of automobiles to make a statement like that.

Anyway, going onward... Gobekli Tepe is very interesting because it is such an obviously large effort. Why is that important? Because 11,000 years ago people were not permanently living there. The operating theory (in a very general sense) about pre-agricultural human society is that humans as hunter-gatherers would move with the animals and fruiting seasons of plants - only when we learned to cultivate plants did we settle permanently in one place.

If Gobekli Tepe supports that idea - that there were not permanent settlements here but only seasonal habitation, then that supports the previous held belief but now the question becomes why would humans expend such effort on construction if they weren't going to live there.

Thus it is proposed that the only significant driver of humans to do Gobekli Tepe would have to do with religion. Note that 11,000 years ago "religion" would not just encompass existential beliefs but be practical, integrated with the legal system (such as it was) and politics (such as they were.) I.e., "culture".

Therefore, Gobekli Tepe seems to be telling us that we developed a (relatively) sophisticated culture before we permanently settled and practiced agriculture.

At least that is my take of the whole thing, and why Gobekli Tepe is important.

16 yasharki  Sun, May 22, 2011 10:45:18pm

re: #15 freetoken

Pardon my mistake on CCD development, I was 10 years off, but that's negligent compared to the scope of 11 thousand year discovery which I was referring to.

Now as you correctly point out that they were digging into mounds, so logically those flint pieces should have been at the bottom layer which has been dated 11 thousand years back, not laying around on top as NG article suggested, right? So my inebriated point holds steady, swaying just a bit :)

Your point about "us" becoming settled only after learning how to cultivate plants is kinda shaky imho, fishing and trading (among other things) come to mind in opposition to your argument.

The proposition of to-live-or-to-believe sounds bizarre to say the least, there could have been a number of other reasons for "humans to do Gobekli Tepe". I also have no clue why you would bundle homo sapients into "us", as in entire human population, this could have been a single tribe you know...


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