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Archaeologist argues world's oldest temples were not temples at all
University of Chicago Press Journals ^ | October 6, 2011 | Unknown

Posted on 10/07/2011 2:07:06 PM PDT by decimon

Ancient structures uncovered in Turkey and thought to be the world's oldest temples may not have been strictly religious buildings after all, according to an article in the October issue of Current Anthropology. Archaeologist Ted Banning of the University of Toronto argues that the buildings found at Göbekli Tepe may have been houses for people, not...gods.

The buildings at Göbekli, a hilltop just outside of the Turkish city of Urfa, were found in 1995 by Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute and colleagues from the Şanlıurfa Museum in Turkey. The oldest of the structures at the site are immense buildings with large stone pillars, many of which feature carvings of snakes, scorpions, foxes, and other animals.

The presence of art in the buildings, the substantial effort that must have been involved in making and erecting them, and a lack of evidence for any permanent settlement in the area, led Schmidt and others to conclude that Göbekli must have been a sacred place where pilgrims traveled to worship, much like the Greek ruins of Delphi or Olympia. If that interpretation is true it would make the buildings, which date back more than 10,000 years to the early Neolithic, the oldest temples ever found.

However, Banning offers an alternative interpretation that challenges some of Schmidt's claims.

He outlines growing archaeological evidence for daily activities at the site, such as flintknapping and food preparation. "The presence of this evidence suggests that the site was not, after all, devoid of residential occupation, but likely had quite a large population," Banning said.

Banning goes on to argue that the population may have been housed in the purported temples themselves. He disagrees with the idea that the presence of decorative pillars or massive construction efforts means the buildings could not have been residential space.

(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: anatolia; catalhoyuk; catalhuyuk; gobeklitepe; godsgravesglyphs; prehistory; sanliurfa; turkey

1 posted on 10/07/2011 2:07:08 PM PDT by decimon
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To: SunkenCiv

Tepe or not Tepe ping.


2 posted on 10/07/2011 2:08:08 PM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

Göbekli and get some new jokes.


3 posted on 10/07/2011 2:15:43 PM PDT by DManA
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To: decimon

I remember years and years ago, maybe in Readers Digest, an article written from the point of view of far future archeologist “explaining” what common 20th century objects meant. For instance a parking meeter was a shrine to a god that people made sacrifices of coins to.

It was pretty funny.


4 posted on 10/07/2011 2:18:15 PM PDT by DManA
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To: decimon; SunkenCiv
The "temples" are simply stone versions of a similar device still in production ~ the TOTEM POLL.

The fact that most of the larger stones are simply a phalus bent over as a lintel pretty much indicates they weren't used as living quarters.

Now, over 12,000 years did somebody in the stone age stop by and cook dinner?

FUR SHUR!

Particularly if they came all that way to deliver a clan members ashes to the clan totem ~ they'd probably camp a few days then move on.

The archaeologist who thinks we can probably READ the stones makes more sense.

My attempt from last winter when I was trapped in front of this computer is as follows:

 

 

Animal

Type

Action

1

Bustard 

Bird

Largest Flying Bird

2

Crane

Bird

Life ~ Start of

3

Crow

Bird

Wise

4

Eagle

Bird

Hunter – in sky

5

Vulture

Bird

Life – End of

6

Boar

Game

Horn

7

Bull

Game

Horn ~ Strong

8

Deer

Game

Horn

9

Gazelle

Game

Horn ~ Fast

10

Horse

Game

No Horn - strong

11

Rabbit

Game

No Horn - weak

12

Sheep

Game

No Horn

13

Canine

Predator

No Horn

14

Cat

Predator

Hunter ~ on land

 

 

Göbekli Tepe ~ in the National Geo article someone bothered to report on how many different "kinds" of animals were shown in one way or the other on the 15,000 different carvings.

 

Think about it ~ that's a HUGE COLLECTION of stonework dwarfing every public exhibit on Earth.

 

This was put together by Paleolithic people.

 

No doubt it was as important to them as the Louvre, Hermitage, Smithsonian, etc. are to us.

 

So, I took the counts of animals and looked to see if there were patterns that would reflect more recent totem lists.

 

We have many societies before ours that had assigned totems, and virtually all of them used groups of 12 with subgroups of 3 and 4, 2 and 6. 

 

Even Wales was so militarized in its multicentury effort to keep out the Saxons and others after the coming of the Dark Ages that they ended up with 12 primary clan/family surnames.

 

The Irish had less pressure until they arrived in Alba (now Scotland) and then involvement with the Vikings also settling there resulted in a similar sort of structuring of Scottish clans.

 

There were 12 Greek tribes (traditionally), and we all know about the 12 tribes of Israel, and also the 12 tribes of the descendants of Ishmael, and a couple of others. 

 

What a clan does is minimize the destruction to society that occurs with the ever inevitable inter tribal warfare found in low tech agrarian societies of hunters and gathers.

 

When the battle is over it's not just the tribe's responsibility to bury the dead warriors (and others) it's also his totemic "clan brothers" who may well be found in the victorious tribe.  Everybody gets to share in the cleanup.  We do not, if we can avoid it, leave dead bodies around to feed the big cats.

 

Totems are animals with specific characteristics.  You have the Eagle, sharp of eye, flying over everything, and on the ground his competitor ~ the (small) cat ~ it also hunts silently, by stealth, and at night. It hunts the same game as the Eagle ~ small rodents!  That's the characteristic that makes Eagles and small cats respected!

 

BTW, I found both the cat and the eagle in the list of animals whose pictures are found in profusion at that temple site.

 

These folks, BTW, didn't have any BIG CATS ~ they probably still told stories about sabertoothed tigers and they sure didn't want one of those guys coming out of the stones.  In fact, the people who built the first "sky boxes" for the vultures here may have been among those who exterminated the last big cats in that region (11,000 years ago).

 

I found the list had 4 kinds of horned mammals.  I found the list had 4 kinds of non-horned mammals.  Presumably, given that time frame, ALL of those mammals were looked upon as game ~ including horses and dogs ~ and most likely PARTICULARLY dogs since they don't have horns!

 

There were 4 additional kinds of birds ~ the LARGEST FLYING BIRD, the bird that brings life (crane/stork story), the bird that takes away the remains of death (buzzard, culture), and the wisest bird.

 

So, we have three groups of 4 different groupable totems.  We have the Eagle and the Cat bracketing them as "special spirits" ~

 

That gives 14 totemic animals and that's sufficient for COUNTING, determining seniority within a tribe (assuming you can move through the totem cults to senior positions), and probably identifying relative age at death PLUS whether or not someone was honored, e.g. like a tribal chieftain or a totemic or clan elder or shaman.

 

You can see what i discovered in those counts.  BTW, the guys doing the counting found two different kind of "deer".  I didn't differentiate by species ~ but instead by "form" or "kind" ~ which is what I figure the ancients were into.  They Fur Shur weren't writing science books.  They were, instead, praying for food, and seeking the spirits of the totems to aid them in their struggle for survival.

 

Since they used a base 14 it matters that there are 7 game animals in the list, and 7 non-game animals.  That enables you to add up to 14, or maybe MULTIPLY.  Could be interesting to see more of the art work to see if there are arrays of animals that can be construed to mean NUMBERS or Counts, plus appellations giving you something like "Old 46" rather like the way so many of those ancient Mayan names translate out!


5 posted on 10/07/2011 2:29:23 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: decimon

“the presence of decorative pillars or massive construction efforts”

Massive construction efforts are still employed by the very wealthy of our time-I would think that ostentation among the rich of earlier societies would have been much the same. The same with the decorative pillars and other such details-The Roman Empire puts us to shame with that sort of thing. Personally, I doubt that people have changed that much in their desire to flaunt wealth and influence in 10,000 years or more.


6 posted on 10/07/2011 2:30:12 PM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line...")
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To: DManA
Göbekli and get some new jokes.

I've never blekied. Not even once.

7 posted on 10/07/2011 2:30:37 PM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

There’s plenty examples of dual use religious temples in history.

There’s also examples where temples were conquered and used for non religious purposes. When Turkey pushed the Greeks out of northern Cyprus, some christian churches were turned into things like horse stables.


8 posted on 10/07/2011 2:41:45 PM PDT by Mount Athos (A Giant luxury mega-mansion for Gore, a Government Green EcoShack made of poo for you)
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To: DManA

Perhaps it was “Motel of the Mysteries”
http://www.amazon.com/Motel-Mysteries-David-Macaulay/dp/0395284252


9 posted on 10/07/2011 2:57:09 PM PDT by Polynikes (Hakkaa Palle)
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To: muawiyah
The "temples" are simply stone versions of a similar device still in production ~ the TOTEM POLL.

Is that where they survey people to see which animal they like the best?

10 posted on 10/07/2011 3:33:58 PM PDT by Rocky (REPEAL IT!)
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To: Rocky

About half of them; the other half like you the best ~ or they have horns ~ makes them of two minds about what they should do.


11 posted on 10/07/2011 3:36:48 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Rocky; muawiyah
The "temples" are simply stone versions of a similar device still in production ~ the TOTEM POLL.

Is that where they survey people to see which animal they like the best?

My favorite is the Pollcat.

12 posted on 10/07/2011 3:49:27 PM PDT by decimon
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To: DManA

I remember that article or one like it and besides being funny it was pretty bloody accurate. “Religious Site”, “Ceremonial Object”, and “Shrine Center” are the automatic fall back positions for archaeologists trying to describe something or a place the purpose of which they have no clue about. It is how they are trained to perceive and report what they find and God help any undergrad who strays from the accepted dogma. Same thing applies in almost every branch of university study and is why, in my opinion, many of the most successful innovators never attended or quickly dropped out of college.


13 posted on 10/07/2011 4:19:13 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: decimon; muawiyah; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks decimon and also muawiyah.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


14 posted on 10/07/2011 5:50:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: decimon

Sounds like a palace.


15 posted on 10/07/2011 5:52:59 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: DManA

I remember a comic that did much the same with his cartoons.

He had an archaeologist from the future explaining the rotary telephone as a device for communicating with the gods.

To use the device, a worshiper dialed in the number of the god he wished to appease, then banged the receiver against the body of the phone over his head to make a jingling noise with the bell.


16 posted on 10/07/2011 6:22:26 PM PDT by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: decimon

He outlines growing archaeological evidence for daily activities at the site, such as flintknapping and food preparation. “The presence of this evidence suggests that the site was not, after all, devoid of residential occupation, but likely had quite a large population,” Banning said.

- - - - - -
Without reading the actual reports, permanent settlement, even of a large group would not preclude it being a religious site (or temple). Many temples had permanent residents (priests, caretakers, slaves, etc) and served as both houses and sites of worship, even pilgrimage sites. So, quite realistically, they could both be right.


17 posted on 10/07/2011 6:24:13 PM PDT by reaganaut (Romney IS Obama - just paler.)
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To: muawiyah

Do you think that they exterminated the big cats on propose, since they were a threat? They could either hunt humans or serve as competition for humans’ food.

Great explanation of animals and numbering. Have you written this up anywhere aside from here?


18 posted on 10/07/2011 6:57:58 PM PDT by worst-case scenario (Striving to reach the light)
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To: worst-case scenario
Yeah ~ but I've posted this about three times here since last January.

There are professionals in the field out there who are trying to crack the code. They are looking at what would ordinarily be called "shamanistic symbols" and suggesting that these things are actually IDEOGRAPHS.

Frankly I think that the ancients of the time had some well developed memory palaces and given the amount of knowledge around at the time you could probably have 2 or 3 guys in each clan in each tribe who KNEW IT ALL!

They'd not had a need for writing.

However, they were long into symbolic representation of Clan Structure and Power ~ and the use of Totems.

They don't do those animals just for the artistic aspect ~ they do them because THEY COUNT.

Actually, in doing the analysis I did and finding that there were no large cats it occurred to me I'd also discovered that was quite meaningful ~ and I've owned three pet cats ~ there are general characteristics ascribed to cats and to eagles.

Later religions have the Eagle and the Owl rotating night and day but earlier religions could have easily had the Eagle and the Small Cat rotating night and day ~ and death on the ground, and death in the air!

There are just all sorts of meanings you can derive out of counting which of each kind of animal totem you have.

Notice I came up with a base 14 rather than 12. That could have come about through mergers or cooperative agreements between two broader groups that had a slightly different range of totems ~ which may be why they have two kinds of deer in the mix. But 14 gives you some brackets on the smaller set of 12 ~ which was used thousands of years later in nearby Mesopotamia (Babylonian 24 hour day, 60 minutes, gives you two numbers divisible by 12 such that you get a prime number 2 and a prime number 5.

I suspect the Babylonian counting system derives from a system similar to this one, but it would have been developed in Eastern India more than likely "way back when".

I go back to this thing regularly, and if there are any new animals pop up I'll see where they belong.

I need a better record of the Kola Peninsula ideographs and bas reliefs carved back about 7 thousand years ago ~ Some of the oldest Chinese/Tartaric poles out in the Gobi desert might be relevant (See: Deer Stones)

19 posted on 10/07/2011 7:27:04 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: reaganaut
These guys were into hunting and gathering. The local carrying capacity wasn't going to be all that great so they'd need to work a far larger hunting ground.

The Japanese are the only people who succeeded in developing an urban society before domestication of plants. That had to do with the very high level of productivity available in their forests.

20 posted on 10/07/2011 7:29:31 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Ok, but I don’t see where you are going with that. There is archeological evidence for ritual sites with a steady population even among generally nomadic groups.

Like I said, I haven’t read the reports on this, but I do have a background in Archeology and it wouldn’t be impossible for it to be both.


21 posted on 10/07/2011 7:44:45 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see".)
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To: reaganaut

12,000 year old buildings are really rare!


22 posted on 10/07/2011 7:46:44 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: DManA
I remember years and years ago, maybe in Readers Digest, an article written from the point of view of far future archeologist “explaining” what common 20th century objects meant. For instance a parking meeter was a shrine to a god that people made sacrifices of coins to.

It might have been the same article, but I remember when they mentioned how horrified the archeologists would be when they excavated a church basement and found all the cooking equipment used for bazaars, figuring that some kind of cannibal sacrifice was performed there.

23 posted on 10/07/2011 8:13:38 PM PDT by Oatka ("A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." –Bertrand de Jouvenel)
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To: muawiyah

LOL. Yes they are.


24 posted on 10/07/2011 10:12:03 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see".)
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To: decimon

Hey let’s face it, they just don’t know.


25 posted on 10/08/2011 1:16:44 AM PDT by Bellflower (Judas Iscariot, first democrat, robber, held the money bag, claimed to care for poor: John 12:4-6)
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Just an update.

26 posted on 01/10/2014 12:42:18 AM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: Bellflower

You know the accounts of Solomon building all those places for his foreign wives to burn incense and sacrifice to their gods?

I’m thinking day spas and shopping malls...


27 posted on 01/10/2014 12:53:03 AM PST by Ezekiel (All who mourn the destruction of America merit the celebration of her rebirth.)
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