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Seller: ancientgifts ✉️ (5,288) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, US, Ships to: WORLDWIDE, Item: 383911785277 Stone Age Lost Civilization Neolithic Paleolithic Culture Religion Cave Art Math. The Lost Civilizations Of The Stone Age by Richard Rudgley. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Hardcover with dustjacket. Publisher: Century UK; (1998) 320 pages. Size: 9¼ x 6¼ x 1½ inches, 1½ pounds. This title challenges the notion that modern history is far superior to the events and accomplishments of early civilization. The author, a scholar of prehistoric art, religion, and technology, argues that the occurrences and characteristics of later human history have their origins in prehistory. He argues that the system of constellations in the night sky, the use of calculating instruments, and artistic representations all prove that the people of the Stone Age were anything but primitive. Perhaps after reading this insightful book, the reader will come away with an entirely different take on prehistory and its legacy. CONDITION: LIKE NEW. New and unread (but not entirely unblemished) hardcover w/dustjacket. Century UK (1998) 308 pages. Inside the pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, clearly unread, though of course based on appearances it does seem possible that one or two bookstore customers may have flipped through it while the book was on the bookseller's shelf. Despite the fact that the pages are absolutely unblemished from the perspective of inside the book, from the outside perspective the surfaces of the closed page edges show some age tanning, and the fore-edge surface of the closed page edges shown as well some faint, tiny brown-colored age speckles (known as "foxing"). The tanning to the page edges (and age-spotting to the fore-edge surfaces) is really only observable to the closed page edges (visible only when book is closed, not to individual pages, only to the mass of closed page edges, sometimes referred to as the "page block"). The individual pages of the book, when opened, if scrutinized intently do show a wee bit of tanning to the extremities, but again, this is not really prominent except to the mass of closed page edges. Otherwise as described, the individual (opened) pages themselves are unblemished. We would also note that the dustjacket and cloth covers, though absolutely clean (and in the case of the dustjacket, devoid of any tears or chips), do evidence very mild edge and corner shelfwear, principally in the form of a tiny (1/4 inch) closed, neatly mended edge tear to the back side of the dust jacket at the top open corner. Neatly repaired, it's almost unnoticeable. This is the UK printing of this hardcover edition, and the book simply evidences the accumulation of 15 years (plus) shelfwear, sitting unsold on a bookseller's shelf in the humid environs of the UK. The condition is entirely consistent with a new, unread book which has spent it's life sitting unsold on a UK bookseller's shelf. Given the indications of aging we have only graded it "like new", however the book is new and unread, just showing a wee bit of aging and shelfwear. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! Selling rare and out-of-print ancient history books on-line since 1997. We accept returns for any reason within 30 days! #008.1d. PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR JACKET DESCRIPTION(S) AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEW: REVIEW: Award-winning British scholar takes a provocative and engaging look at the Stone Age, challenging some of the most basic assumptions about the beginnings of civilization, and offering a fascinating and rich introduction to a lost world. Line drawings and photo illustrations. Richard Rudgley is an Oxford-trained scholar of Stone Age art, religion and technology. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: Ever wonder what it was like to be a caveman? Whether you are a dentist, sculptor or accountant, you may have more in common with our Stone Age ancestors than you think. Rudgley, a scholar of Stone Age art, religion and technology at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, takes issue with the standard descriptions of the origins of civilization, arguing that prehistoric peoples were far more accomplished than they are generally thought to have been. Although the title evokes science fiction, Rudgley's analysis elucidates the differences among numerous academic theories on topics as diverse as Venus figurines, Neolithic chewing gum and 300,000-year-old bone markings. Rudgley reinterprets these findings in order to paint a picture of Stone Age culture that rightly deserves to be called "civilization," even though conventional scholarship says that writing and, with it, civilization arose "suddenly" in the Near East around 3000 B.C. and that other written languages were derived from this first script. But Rudgley provides evidence of earlier sign systems, what Marija Gimbutas calls the "alphabet of the metaphysical," that developed independently at sites such as Transylvania, where tablets have been dated to about 4000 B.C. Historical linguists have reconstructed compelling precedents to these written systems, which, when combined with work by archeologists and other scientists, suggest the need to revise our present definition of civilization. Previously unpublished photographs. FYI: Rudgley won a British Museum Award for his last book, Essential Substances. REVIEW: A powerful tract on behalf of prehistoric culture, intended to show the importance and relatively advanced nature of Stone Age civilization. Rudgley (Stone Age Studies/Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Univ.) points out that although 95 percent of humanities time on the planet preceded the dawn of history, prehistory has received 5 percent (or less) of scholarly attention. Here he sets about to rectify things. The author demonstrates at length that the rudiments of civilization, ranging from astronomy, mathematics, and art to pottery, dentistry, and accounting, originated in Neolithic cultures. Writing might be thought of as a unique innovation of civilizations indeed, history may have begun when people first recorded events in writing but Rudgley instead argues that proto-hieroglyphics may have existed in Egypt and that Chinese and other writing systems may also be vastly older than has been believed. And he argues, too, that prehistoric beings pioneered both visual art and science. The author's review of prehistoric cultural achievements is erudite and fascinating, especially his discussions of Stone Age language, technology, mining, and religious art. By necessity, his reasoning is sometimes speculative (e.g., he cites the possible existence of Paleolithic science and mathematics from the slenderest of archaeological evidence). Other claims, such as his assertion that an archaic progenitor language existed in prehistory, do not appear to advance his argument for the superiority of prehistoric culture. With some contempt, he decries the myopic attitudes of anthropologists and other social scientists who have disparaged Stone Age cultures as primitive. Rudgley's argument on prehistory's behalf is often forceful. But he's too quick to attribute 20th-century ignorance of the Stone Ages significance to our modern prejudices, when the more persuasive cause may be prehistory's scanty written records and archaeological legacy. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Among historians, one of the most widely accepted criteria for a society's being "civilized" is whether it has a writing system, one that permits complex record keeping and allows for an account of the past. By that measure, writes British scientist Richard Rudgley, many societies of the most ancient Stone Age are to be reckoned as civilizations, for new archaeological evidence suggests that the Neolithic writing systems of cultures like Mesopotamia and the Nile valley have their roots in even older systems, some dating back to the time of the Neanderthals. (Just what those writing systems say remains a matter of debate, and Rudgley acknowledges that "if a script cannot be deciphered, then it will always be possible to dismiss it.") Prehistoric sign systems aside, Rudgley urges that the chronology of human cultural evolution be pushed back well into the Paleolithic; "the most fundamental cultural innovations," he suggests, "actually occurred far earlier in the overall sequence [of human development] than is generally realized." He maintains, for instance, that fired pottery, another characteristic of civilized societies, existed among Siberian nomads some 13,000 years ago, and that a knowledge of metallurgy existed in Egypt 35,000 years ago. Any call for a revision in widely accepted chronologies is, of course, sure to be controversial among prehistorians, and Rudgley's book, well reasoned as it is, will provoke debate. But what an enthralling and intriguing read! REVIEW: An authoritative, eye-opening look at Stone Age civilizations that explodes traditional portrayals of prehistory. The rise of historical civilization 5,000 years ago is often depicted as if those societies were somehow created out of nothing. However, recent discoveries of astonishing accomplishments from the Neolithic Age -- in art, technology, writing, math, science, religion, medicine and exploration -- demand a fundamental rethinking of humanity before the dawn of written history. In this fascinating book, Richard Rudgley describes how the intrepid explorers of the Stone Age discovered all of the world's major land masses long before the so-called Age of Discovery. How Stone Age man performed medical operations, including amputations and delicate cranial surgeries. How Paleolithic cave artists of Western Europe used techniques that were forgotten until the Renaissance. How Prehistoric life expectancy was better than it is for contemporary third-world populations. Rudgley reminds us just how savage so-called civilized people can be, and demonstrates how the cultures that have been reviled as savage were truly civilized. The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age shows the great debt that contemporary society owes to its prehistoric predecessors. It is a rich introduction to a lost world that will redefine the meaning of civilization itself. REVIEW: I found many of the insights in this books valuable. Rudgely does a good job of compiling some information about the stone age into a nice, easily accessible form. He also is successful in showing the fairly obvious idea that "civilization" did not spring forth fully formed like Athena from the forehead of the first Sumerian kings. By bringing together evidence from archaeology, ancient history, linguistics and anthropology, the author convincingly demonstrates that the inventions, achievements and discoveries of prehistoric times have all but been edited out of popular accounts of human history. He describes how stone age explorers discovered all the world's land masses, presents strong evidence for writing before 5000BC and for mathematical, medical and astronomical science as well as tool-making and mining long before the Sumerians. Tracing the human story from the cusp of history back to the earliest known artefacts, he shows that the making of rugs, dental drilling and accountancy among others, were all known in the Neolithic. But not only that - the other "ideological wall" placed at about 40 000BC is also being shown up to be highly dubious as many anomalous cases of earlier symbolic and artistic activities are coming to light. "Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age" is lavishly illustrated with figures, plates and a map of language families, and there's an extensive bibliography and index. A well-researched, well-written book that sometimes perhaps goes into too much technical detail for the casual reader, but always remains thought-provoking. REVIEW: Read it and think! That's what this book is about. Forget about reviews by people who quibble with technical issues that are the subject of debates in professional archaeology. This book (like Guns, Germs and Steel-Buy it!) takes the reader on an exploration of one perception of how and when civilization came into being. It is outstanding in its depth and breadth, and allows the reader to come to his or her own conclusions. No one knows what really happened and we probably never will, but Rudgely sure gives us information to ponder. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: PREHISTORIC ROCK ART: Rock art (also known as parietal art) is an umbrella term which refers to several types of creations. These include finger markings left on soft surfaces, bas-relief sculptures, engraved figures and symbols, and paintings onto a rock surface. Above all forms of prehistoric art cave paintings have received more attention from the academic research community. Rock art has been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. The earliest examples of European rock art are dated to about 36,000 years ago. However it was not until around 18,000 years ago that European rock art actually flourished. This was the time following the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (22,000-19,000 years ago). Climatic conditions were beginning to improve after reaching their most critical point of the Ice Age. Upper Paleolithic rock art disappeared suddenly during the Paleolithic-Mesolithic transition period, around 12,000 years ago. This was a point in time when the Ice Age environmental conditions were fading. A correlation between demographic and social patterns and the flourishing of rock art has been suggested by academics. In Europe the rock art located in the Franco-Cantabrian region (from southeastern France to the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain) has been studied in great detail. During the late Upper Paleolithic, this area was an ideal setting for prolific populations of several herbivorous species. Consequently a large human population could be supported. This is reflected in the abundance of the archaeological material found in the region. However, in recent years the geographic region in which Upper Paleolithic rock art is known has increased significantly. After over a century of discussion about the ‘meaning’ of rock art, no complete scholarship consensus exists, and several explanations have been proposed to account for the proliferation of this prehistoric art. There are several explanations that have been put forward by scholars to account for the meaning of European Upper Paleolithic rock art. Possibly the simplest of all theories about Upper Paleolithic rock art is that there is no real meaning behind this type of art. Paleolithic rock art is the product of an idle activity with no deep motivation behind it. In the words of one leading specialist in the field, it was a “mindless decoration”. As simple and innocent as this view may sound, it has some important implications. Some late 19th and early 20th century scholars saw people in the Upper Paleolithic communities as brute savages incapable of being driven by deep psychological motivations. During that time scholars even rejected the idea that rock art could have any connection with religion/spiritual concerns or any other subtle motivation. This approach is not widely accepted today. But the view was an influential one in the early years of archaeology, and it still has proponents today. Some scholars have claimed that rock art was produced as boundary markers by different communities. These boundaries would have been created during the time climatic conditions increased the competition for territory between Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer communities. According to this view cave art is seen as a sign of ethnic or territorial divisions within different Upper Paleolithic human groups coexisting in a given area. Cave art according to this view was used as a marker by hunting-gathering communities. It was an indication to other groups of the originating group’s exclusive ‘right’ to exploit a specific area and thus avoid potential conflicts. Several scholars have proposed that the Franco-Cantabrian region was a glacial refuge with a high population density during the Upper Paleolithic. Cave art was used as a social-cultural device to promote social cohesion in the face of the otherwise inevitable social conflict. This proposed point of view is in line with what we know of demographic and social patterns during the Upper Paleolithic. More population density meant more competition and territorial awareness. Nonetheless this viewpoint has some inconsistencies and shortcomings. Even the proponents of this proposition acknowledge that it is not consistent with or account for the stylistic unity displayed by some rock art traditions. Other scholars have countered that this viewpoint contradicts the fact that no ethnographic study provides support for this claim. It can also be argued that if Upper Paleolithic groups increased their awareness of territoriality, it is reasonable to expect some sort of indication of this in the archaeological record. There should be an accompanying increase of signs of injuries inflicted with sharp or blunt weapons in human remains. There should be some existing some indications in the archaeological record of trauma that could be linked to inter-group conflicts. Counter-arguments postulate that if the art actually successfully helped to avoid conflict, then it follows that signs of conflict would not be detected in the archaeological record. By analyzing the distribution of the images in different caves, some scholars have suggested that the distribution of the cave paintings is not random. They claim there is a structure or pattern in its distribution, sometimes referred to as a ‘blueprint’. According to studies conducted by these scholars, most horses and bison figures were located in central sections of the caves. They were also the most abundant animals, about 60% of the total. They postulate that bisons represent female identity, and horses represented male identity. They believe that some universal concepts relating to male and female identity were the basis of rock art. In the words of one proponent of this viewpoint, “Paleolithic art might be seen as reflecting some fundamental ‘binary opposition’ in Upper Paleolithic society. Society was structured (perhaps predictably) around the oppositions between male and female components of society.” In addition to studying the figurative art scholars have also paid attention to the abstract motifs. Proposed explanations fall within structuralist thought that was dominant during the 20th century in France. Using the linguistics, literary criticism, cultural studies, and anthropology prevalent to the time, it is claimed that human cultures are systems. These systems can be analyzed in terms of the structural relations among their elements. Proponents of this viewpoint proposed that cultural systems contain universal patterns. These patterns are products of the invariant structure of the human mind. Proponents posit that proof of this can be detected in the patterns displayed in mythology, art, religion, ritual, and other cultural traditions. Initially this explanation was very popular and widely accepted by scholars. However when researchers attempted to fit the evidence into the standard layout scheme observed in cave art, a correlation could not be established. As more rock art was discovered it also became evident that each site had a unique layout. It was not possible to apply a general scheme that would fit all of them. Although unsuccessful this viewpoint was influential. And it had merit. At the time structuralist thought was dominant in many academic disciplines. By attempting a structuralist explanation of rock art it was sought to show that Upper Paleolithic people were not ignorant savages. That peoples of the Upper Paleolithic possessed cognitive capacity, just like people today. Another suggestion is that Upper Paleolithic rock art is a manifestation of sympathetic magic. The art is designed to aid hunting. In the words of one proponent, "secure control over particular species of animals which were crucially important human food supply". Some supporting evidence of this view includes the fact that sometimes the animals were apparently depicted with inflicted wounds. This suggestion is reinforced by ethnographic analogy based on similarities between Upper Paleolithic art and Australian Aboriginal rock art. Magic rituals may not have a direct material outcome. However this type of practice surely boosted confidence and had a direct psychological benefit (a form of placebo effect). By whatever means this would have increased the overall success rate of hunting activities. In this context Upper Paleolithic rock art is seen as a magical tool to positively effect the success of the hunters. The ethnographic data indicating that magic plays a significant role in tribal life does not only come from Australian Aboriginal groups. Other examples are found among the native Kiriwina people who live in Papua New Guinea. In that culture the levels of superstition and magic ceremonies rise with the levels of uncertainty. For example when it comes to canoe building magic is used only in the case of the larger sea-going canoes. The small canoes which are used on the calm lagoon or near the shore where there is no danger are quite ignored by the shaman/magicians. This emphasizes the idea that magic can be a psychological response to conditions where uncertainty grows. This are precisely the same circumstances and responses we would expect of Paleolithic hunter-gatherer communities affected by increasing population pressure. In this proposition Upper Paleolithic art is the result of drug-inducing trance-like states of the artists. This is based on ethnographic data linked to San rock art in Southern Africa. San rock art possesses some common elements with European Upper Paleolithic art. Some scholars have posited that some of the abstract symbols in Paleolithic cave are actually depictions of hallucinations and dreams. San Shamans for instance perform their religious functions under a drug-induced state. They enter a trance which allows them to enter into the ‘spirit realm’. It is during this state that shamans claim to see ‘threads of lights’ which are used to enter and exit the spirit realm. When the human brain enters into certain altered states bright lines are part of the visual hallucinations experienced individuals. This visual pattern is not linked to the cultural background but rather a default response of the brain. Long thin red lines interacting with other images are present in San rock paintings. They are believed to be the ‘threads of light’ reported by their shamans. The spirit realm “visited” by the shamans is believed to be behind the rock walls. Some of the lines and other images appear to enter or exit from cracks or steps in the rock walls. The paintings function as ‘veils’ between this world and the spirit world. This is another solid line of reasoning. Nonetheless there is no empirical basis to generalize the idea of shamanism as the cause of European rock art as a whole. At best shamanic practices could be considered a specific variation of the religious and magical traditions. Shamans do not create magic and religion. It is the propensity for believing in magic and religion present in virtually every culture that gives embodies shamanism. Ultimately this viewpoint rests on magic and religious practices. That’s a view not really too far removed from the argument that sees art as a form of hunting magic. Almost all cultural developments have multiple causes. It seems reasonable then to suppose that rather than a single cause the development of Upper Paleolithic has a multi-causal explanation. None of the arguments presented by scholars can account fully for the development of Upper Paleolithic rock art in Europe. Anthropological studies worldwide commonly emphasize the religious/spiritual origin of rock art. This is not the only origin detected thorough ethnographic studies. There are clear examples of secular origin. But proposed theories which involved religious or mystical origins are the most frequent. However it could also be the case that art in the European Upper Paleolithic had a meaning to those cultures different and apart from the more contemporary communities that ethnographers have been able to study. Archaeology has been able to detect caves that may have been connected to rituals and magic at least in some Upper Paleolithic communities of Europe. Human burials were found in the Cussac cave associated with Paleolithic art. According to some scholars this find underscores the religious/spiritual character of the rock art found in some caves. If the assumption that at least some European rock art was created for religious reasons can be accepted, then it is safe to suppose that rock art is just the most archaeologically visible evidence of prehistoric ritual and belief. Unless rock art was the only and exclusive material expression of the religious life of prehistoric communities, we can assume that there is an entire range of religious material that has not survived. Some of the Upper Paleolithic portable art could also be connected to religious aspects and be part of the ‘material package’ of prehistoric ritual. Our knowledge of the meaning of Upper Paleolithic rock and portable art should not be considered either correct or incorrect, only fragmentary. The element of uncertainty is likely to always be present in this field of study. This should lead to flexible models complementing each other. Also required will be the willingness to accept that, as more evidence is revealed viewpoints will have to be adjusted. This will by necessity involve the rejection of any form of dogmatic or simplistic explanation [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. The Altamira Cave: Altamira is a Paleolithic cave located in Santillana del Mar in the Cantabria region in northern Spain. Altamira was declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1985. The cave was inhabited for millennia and so it contains remains of the daily activities of the population. Nowadays the cave is 270 meters long and the archaeological site can be found inside the cave, near the entrance. However there are also remains in the outside the cave since the original entrance fell down. The cave can be divided into three sections: the entrance, the great room or polychrome room, and the gallery. The entrance is the portion in which Paleolithic people used to live. Archaeologists found there remains of animals bones and ashes belonging to continuous fireplaces. Also plentiful were flint objects such as knives, axes, and flint fragments. All of these are indications of human activity in this part of the cave. Archaeologists have found these types of remains located in different layers of sediments. It seems reasonable to assume then that the cave was inhabited for long periods of time. The so-called polychrome or great room is painted in several colors. It is found in the inner part of the cave, where there is no natural light. The entrance and the polychrome room form a great hall. But since the cave is a narrow gallery there is little room for large spaces, except for the larger chamber. The end of the cave is a narrow gallery with difficult access, but it also contains paintings and engravings. The cave was discovered in 1868 by a hunter, Modesto Cubillas. He related the discovery to Marcelino Sanz de Sautola, a nobleman in the region. Sanz de Sautola did not visit the cave until 1875. He started the first excavation works on the site in 1879. He found objects made with flint, bones and horns, as well as colorants, fauna, and shells that allowed the cave paintings' dating. These excavations only took place at the entrance of the cave. Sanz de Sautola published a paper on his findings a year later. At the time of the discovery primary research on topics pertaining to prehistory were carried out in France by scholars who did not accept the authenticity of the paintings. Their position was that the paintings at Altamira since they did not show the same patterns and features of those caves studied in France. Sanz de Sautola was labeled as a liar and Altamira was forgotten. In 1902 a French prehistorian published his findings on Altamira confirming the authenticity of the cave art. From that moment onward the cave gained a key role in the international prehistoric research. Excavations resumed and two consecutive levels were discovered. One level was from the Upper Solutrean Period and other from the Lower Magdalenian Period. Both periods belonged to the Paleolithic. These data were confirmed in later excavations of 1924/5 and 1980/1. The latter excavations revealed greater complexity of the archaeological register. These studies and the carbon 14 dating of 2006 showed the different stages of human occupation of the cave. Eight levels were distinguished. They ranged from the Middle Magdalenian (15,000-10,000 BC) to the Gravettian (25,000-20,000 BC). Based on the archaeological research experts assume that the paintings and engravings of the cave were made by the people who inhabited the cave during the different periods. Most of the paintings and engravings of Altamira are located in the polychrome room. They range from animals to hands. The oldest paintings are located on the right of the roof and they include horses, positive and negative images of hands, and a series of dots. They are mostly drawn using charcoal. There are also 'masks' created by drawing eyes and mouth to the bumps on the walls. These have been dated to the Lower Magdalenian period. However, the majority of the paintings from this period represent deer. On the right of the roof are found 25 colored images mostly in red and black. There are very large representations of horses and bisons, as well as a female deer that measures more than two meters. The drawing technique employed was engraving the wall with a flint object and then drawing a black line using charcoal. Afterward it was colored with red or yellow. Details such as hair were made with a charcoal pencil while elements like eyes or horns were engraved. Although they may seem simple figures, bumps and cracks on the roof were purposely used to give volume to the animals. The narrow gallery contains a special set of masks representing animal faces, deer and bison for instance. The technique employed is simple and astonishing at the same time. The artist took advantage of the walls bumps and the perspective to create a whole face with simple elements such as ayes and lines representing the mouth or the nose. Altamira is now closed to the public due to its preservation problems. In eons past the entrance to the cave collapsed and covered the cave opening. The collapse created a stable climate inside that ensured the preservation of the paintings. However when the cave was discovered outside air started circulating causing changes in humidity and temperature. Furthermore during the 20th century walls and paths were built inside the cave to accept hundreds of thousands of visitors. Both he changes in temperature and humidity as well as the changes brought about by the hundreds of thousands of visitors adversely affected the paintings. Between 1997 and 2001, measures were taken to control the environment within the cave. In 2002 the Spanish National Research Council initiated an exhaustive conservation plan. From 2011 an international committee of experts studies the feasibility of giving access to a restricted number of visitors without affecting the preservation of the paintings. Even though entry within the original cave itself is restricted, archaeological studies and experts made possible a recreation of the cave that can be visited. The recreation is accompanied by a museum which contains a permanent collection of objects from Altamira and other surrounding caves [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. Lascaux Cave: Lascaux Cave is a Paleolithic cave situated in southwestern France, near the village of Montignac in the Dordogne region. Lascaux houses some of the most famous examples of prehistoric cave paintings. Close to 600 paintings dot the interior walls of the cave in impressive compositions. Most of the images are of animals. Horses are the most numerous, but deer, aurochs, ibex, bison, and even some felines can also be found. These paintings represent most of the major images. However in addition there are also around 1400 engravings of similar themes. The artwork is dated from 15,000 to 17,000 BC. This falls within the Upper Paleolithic period. The artwork was created at the masterful hands of humans living in the area at that time. The region seems to have been a hotspot for artistically included humans. Many beautifully decorated caves have been discovered in the vicinity. The exact meaning of the paintings at Lascaux or any of the other sites is still subject to interpretation and scholarly debate. However the prevailing view attaches a ritualistic or even spiritual component to them. Either certainly hints at the sophistication of their creators. Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1979, along with other prehistoric sites in its proximity. On a fall day in 1940 four boys examined the fox hole down which their dog had fallen on the hill of Lascaux. After widening the entrance Marcel Ravidat was the first one to slide all the way to the bottom. His three friends followed after him. After constructing a make-shift lamp to light their way, they found a wider variety of animals than expected. In the Axial Gallery they first encountered the depictions on the walls. They returned the following day with better preparations and explored deeper parts of the cave. In awe of what they had found the boys told their teacher, after which the process towards excavating the cave was set in motion. By 1948 the cave was ready to be opened to the public. Lascaux cave was decorated around 15,000-17,000 BC. Anatomically modern humans (homo sapiens) had been in Europe for at least 40,000 BC. According to the archaeological record, they seem to have been abundant in the region between southeastern France and the Cantabrian Mountains in the north of Spain, This region includes Lascaux. The cave itself shows only temporary occupation. It was probably only occupied during the period linked to activities related to creating the art. However, it is possible that the space the daylight could into the cave might have been more regularly inhabited. This space would only have been first couple of meters of the entrance vestibule of the cave. Finds originating from the cave indicate that the deeper parts of the cave were lit by sandstone lamps as well as by fireplaces. The lamps used animal fat as fuel. The artists worked in what must have been smoky conditions. They used minerals as pigments for their images. Reds, yellows, and blacks are the predominant colors. Red was provided by hematite, either raw or as found within red clay and ochre. Yellow was from iron oxyhydroxides. Black was provided either by charcoal or manganese oxides. The pigments could be prepared by grinding, mixing, or heating. After these preparatory steps they were transferred onto the cave walls. Painting techniques include drawing with fingers or charcoal or applying pigment with 'brushes' made of hair or moss. Other techniques included blowing the pigment on a stencil or directly onto the wall with, for instance, a hollow bone. The catch is that there are no known deposits of the specific manganese oxides found at Lascaux anywhere in the area surrounding the cave. The closest known source is some 150 miles away, in the central Pyrenees. This suggests a trade or supply route. It was not uncommon for humans living around that time to source their materials a bit further afield, perhaps tens of miles away. But the distance in question here may indicate that the Lascaux artists put in an enormous amount of effort to acquire the oxides for their paints. Besides the paintings many tools were found at Lascaux. Among these are many flint tools. Some of those display signs of being used specifically for carving engravings into the cave walls. Bone tools were also present. The pigments used at Lascaux contain traces of reindeer antler. This was most likely either because antler was carved right next to the pigments or because it was used to mix the pigments into water. The remains of shellfish shells were also found, some of them pierced. The finds correlate well with other evidence of personal adornment found among humans living in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic. The art at Lascaux was both painted on and engraved into the uneven walls of the cave. The artists worked with the edges and curves of the walls to enhance their compositions. The resulting impressive displays depict mainly animals. However a significant amount of abstract symbols are also depicted, and even a human. Of the animals, horses dominate the imagery. The next most common images are of by deer and aurochs, and then ibex and bison. A few carnivores such as lions and bears are also present. The archaeological record of the area shows that the animals depicted reflect the fauna that was known to these Paleolithic humans. The entrance of the cave leads away from the daylight and straight into the main chamber of the cave. Aptly named the Hall of the Bulls this space contains mostly aurochs. Aurochs are a species of large cattle, now extinct. In a round dance four large bulls tower above fleeing horses and deer. The relief of the walls serves to emphasize certain aspects of the paintings. The animals are shown in side profile, but with their horns turned. This creates in the paintings a liveliness indicative of great skill. Most of the animals depicted are easily identifiable. However others are less clear. For instance there’s a seemingly pregnant horse with what looks like one horn on its head. Another mysterious figure is depicted with panther skin, a deer’s tail, a bison’s hump, two horns, and male genitals. Some scholars have creatively suggested it may be a sorcerer or shaman, but what it really represents is hard to determine. Beyond the Hall of the Bulls lies the Axial Gallery, a dead-end passage. However it is a spectacular dead end. The Axial Gallery has been dubbed the 'Sistine Chapel of Prehistory'. Its ceiling is home to several eye-catching compositions. Red aurochs stand with their heads forming a circle. Then the main figures of the Gallery stand opposite one another. There’s a mighty black bull on one side, a female aurochs on the other. The aurochs seem to jump onto some sort of lattice that has been drawn underneath her hooves. There are horses in many shapes, including one known as the 'Chinese Horse'. The rendition of the horse is with its hooves depicted slightly to the back, demonstrating a use of perspective far ahead of its time. Towards the back of the passage, a horse gallops with its mane blowing in the wind while its companion falls over with legs in the air. A second exit from the Hall of the Bulls leads to the Passage. The Passage houses mostly engravings but also some paintings of a large variety of animals. Following the Passage is the Nave. In the Nave a large black bull as well as two bisons stand out because of the wild power the images convey. The depictions suggest that the beasts are fleeing. Opposite a freeze shows five deer who appear to be swimming. After the Nave the Chamber of Felines throws some predators into the mix. Engravings of lions dominating the room. In another branch of the cave the room known as the Shaft adds some more material for discussion. Here is a wounded bison with its intestines sprawling out from its gut. There is also a woolly rhinoceros, a bird on what might be a stick, and a naked man with an erection. This image must clearly tell a story although it is hard to be certain exactly what that story might be. The original cave was closed to the public in 1963 after it became clear that among other problems the many visitors caused the growth of algae on the cave walls. The algae was causing irreparable damage to the paintings. Despite the closure fungi have spread within the cave and efforts to control these issues and protect the art are ongoing. Those looking for an alternative experience can visit Lascaux II. This is a replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery sections. Lascaux II was opened in 1983 CE and is located only 200 meters (660 feet) from the original cave [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. The Chauvet Cave: The Chauvet Cave is a Paleolithic cave situated near Vallon-Pont-d’Arc in the Ardèche region of southern France. Also known as the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave it houses impeccably preserved, exquisite examples of prehistoric art. It is now reliably dated to between about 30,000 and 33,000 years ago. There are both numerous and diverse animals dotting the interior walls of the cave. They are both painted and engraved. They demonstrate such high artistic quality that they were initially thought to have been closer in age to the similarly stunning Lascaux Cave. However the artwork in Chauvet Cave is much, much older. In fact the art work in Chauvet Cave is twice the age of that in twice as that in Lascaux Cave. When the art work in Lascaux Cave was created, that in Chauvet Cave was already 15,000 to 20,000 years old. Its age and artistry have made us reconsider the story of art as well as the capabilities of these humans. The cave has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. On Sunday the 18th of December 1994 Jean-Marie Chauvet and his two friends Éliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire were following their passion for speleology (the study of caves). They were exploring an area on the left bank of the river Ardèche, close to the Pont-d’Arc. A light air flow emanating from a hole alerted them to the possible existence of underground caverns. While making their way through the passages they then discovered some small traces of red ochre. Immediately following that discovery they were stunned by the full magnitude of the hundreds of paintings and engravings ensuing. The Chauvet Cave was occupied by humans during at least two periods. The first was from about 37,500 years ago to 33,500 years ago. The second was from about 32,000 to 27,000 years ago. Around 80% of the registered dates fall around the 32,000 years old mark. This corresponds with the average age of the paintings and engravings and sits snugly in the Aurignacian Period. The remaining signs of occupation are from around 27,000 years ago, which correlates with the succeeding Gravettian Period. From at least around 21,000 years ago onwards until its rediscovery in 1994 the Chauvet Cave was completely sealed off to visitors due to the entrance having collapsed. The artists of this cave thus belonged to the Aurignacian culture. This was the first culture of the Late or Upper Paleolithic in Europe. It began when anatomically modern humans first arrived in Europe around 40,000 years ago and lasted until around 28,000 years ago. The human population were hunter-gatherers whose prey was made up predominantly of reindeer, horses, bison and aurochs. They faced competition from predators such as cave bears and cave lions, panthers and wolves. The human population of the Aurignacian Period used a wide range of organic tools. They made personal ornaments, figurative art, and even musical instruments. They are regarded by anthropologists as possessing the full package of what we call fully modern behavior. Hearths have been found within the cave so it is clear that domestic activities of these groups of people took place here, too. Interestingly, the hearths had an additional non- domestic use. They were also used for producing the charcoal which was part of the artists’ toolkit and palette. Evidence indicates that the artists of Chauvet Cave had torches at their disposal. They must have only cast dim, flickering shadows in the pitch black darkness within the cave. The natural relief of the walls would have been continually highlighted and contrasted. Sure this must have been quite impressive to witness, especially when combined with the animal shapes used to decorate them. Black paint made from charcoal or manganese dioxide and red paint made from hematite was applied onto the rock surfaces. The paint was applied either by brushes; fingers; using bits of charcoal as pencils; or stump-drawing. Stump drawing is a technique whereby paint is stuck onto the wall then spread with a hand or a piece of hide. Paint could also be sprayed onto the walls through tubes. The adventurous may have sprayed paint directly from the mouth. The spray was directed across stencils such as hands placed on the wall. Chauvet stands out because the walls were often prepared for the imminent paint jobs by scraping them clean first. This really enabled the paintings to pop. There are hundreds of paintings and engravings in the Chauvet Cave. These range from geometric forms of red dots on the walls, to handprints, to more than 420 animal representations. In the majority are animals that were not hunted, such as lions, rhinoceroses, and bears. This is noteworthy as from the succeeding Gravettian Period onward preferences tended to be opposite. During the Gravettian Period the focus of the depictions were on animals humans preyed upon. Chauvet also stands out for its use of sophisticated techniques such as wall scraping, stump-drawing, and depicting perspective. These techniques are otherwise not as abundantly employed in prehistoric cave art. Although this is a controversial and much debated topic, many scholars believe that these Paleolithic people may have had some sort of shamanistic religion in which the art played a role. Perhaps is addition to the religious purpose of the art there may have been an element of hunting magic added to it. With hunting magic it was believed that the depicted animals were directly influenced by acting on their images. The depiction of a successful hunt enabled a successful hunt “in real life”. Some of the first paintings one sees after having entered the cave are three cave bears painted in red in a small recess. The artist has cleverly used the relief of the wall to form the shoulders of the biggest bear. In addition the artist employed the technique of stump-drawing the muzzle, the outlines of the head and the forequarters, giving the composition more depth. This first part of the cave is predominated by the color red. It is home to a couple of clusters of large red dots, located in a side chamber, They were made by dipping the palm of the right hand in liquid red paint and then pushing it against the cave wall. A bit further into the first section of the cave there are some mysterious images. Again these are colored in red with geometric bits that are hard to identify. They could be symbolic signs or even representations of animals. Experts have suggested they might be abstract representations of a butterfly or a bird with its wings spread. A large panel of red paintings lies beyond extending for more than 40 feet. The paintings feature mostly handprints, geometric signs, and animals such as lions and rhinos. A chamber that has no art adorning its walls paves the way into the second section of the cave where the paintings are now predominantly black rather than red. The second section of the cave is best known for its engravings. The Hillaire Chamber therein is dominated by engravings decorating large rocks hanging from the ceilings. One of them is a remarkable long-eared owl which is shown with its head facing the front while its body is seen from the back. This rendering eternalizes the species’ striking 180 degree rotation party trick. Further on more horses jump out. This time they are drawn in charcoal on the so-called Panel of the Horses. About 20 animals are seen in a unique naturalistic scene which is rare in Paleolithic art. The panel is one of the major pieces of the Chauvet Cave. Taking center stage are four horses’ heads. However but the real eye-catchers are two rhinoceroses that stand face to face, horns crossed. They are depicted confronting each other in just the way male rhinos actually fight in the wild. A Reindeer Panel and a structure made up of a cave bear skull further highlight these Paleolithic humans’ versatility. The skull is decorated with charcoal marks and placed on top of a large limestone block. Its hollow eye-sockets peer out into the darkness. When advancing further into the cave, things just keep getting more spectacular. The end chamber is so richly decorated you hardly know where to look. The first standout piece is the Panel of the Rhinos, drawn with charcoal on rock. The Panel of Rhinos features nine lions, one reindeer, and a staggering 17 rhinos. Rhinos are otherwise very rare in Paleolithic wall art. The composition has spatial perspective. This is achieved by leaving gaps in strategic places and decreasing the horn sizes of the rhinos towards the back. To the right of the central recess, the incredible Panel of the Lions makes up another unique scene in Paleolithic art. The main scene shows a pride of 16 lions chasing a group of seven bison. Most of the lions are represented merely as heads, but it provides a realistic snapshot of a hunt in progress. The lions’ tense expressions, their poses, and the fact that male lions have joined the females are just as in nature. The techniques set this piece apart even further. It features a scraped surface; shading achieved by stump-drawing; areas left blank to create depth; and scraping enhanced outlines. All these characteristics serve to make the animals almost leap from the wall. Some shapes much more mysterious than these easily identifiable animals are also present in the end chamber. The Panel of the Sorcerer has both black drawings and engravings. The Panel of the Sorcerer features animals such as lions, a horse, two mammoths and a musk ox. However there is also an odd shape known as the ‘Sorcerer’. It seems to be a composite creature made up of a woman’s lower body crowned with the upper body and horned head of a black bison. The last few animals in this chamber are a red rhinoceros, a sketchy rhinoceros, and a mammoth drawn in charcoal and engraved. Lascaux Cave was heavily damaged by the carbon dioxide produced by its countless visitors. Taking those lessons to heart, the Chauvet Cave is sealed off to the public. It continues to be studied by an interdisciplinary team. A watchful eye is kept out for any signs of environmental deterioration within the cave. Again following the Lascaux example a replica known as the Pont-d’Arc Cavern has been built close to the original cave so as to satiate the interests of people fascinated by our artistic ancestors [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. STONE AGE SITES: The Ness of Brodgar: The Ness of Brodgar is a Neolithic Age site discovered in 2002. It WAS discovered as a result of a geophysical survey of the area of land in Stenness in Orkney, Scotland. That particular area of land separates the salt water Stenness Loch from the fresh water Harray Loch. The site covers 6.2 acres. Excavation of the site began in 2003 when a stone slab was plowed up to the north of the site. The excavations are ongoing with only 10% of the area excavated as of 2012. This site is considered one of the most important finds in recent archaeology. It dates from around 3500 BC, predating both Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza (the pyramids date from around 2560 BC, and Stonehenge from around 3000-2400 BC). Perhaps more importantly the site provides context for other famous Neolithic sites in the surrounding area. This is particularly true with regard to the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. The Ness of Brodgar is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Less than one mile north of the Ness of Brodgar the Ring of Brodgar stands. These are huge monoliths erected in the patterned circle of a henge. Scholars have long held that they served in rituals concerning the dead and the afterlife. Less than a mile to the south are the Standing Stones of Stenness. These are also arranged as a henge. Their meaning has been interpreted by scholars as involving ceremonies concerning the land of the living. The surrounding area comprises such famous sites as Maeshowe, The Barnhouse Stone, The Unstan Tomb, Comet Stone, Watchstone and, to the north, the Ring of Bookan and Skara Brae. All of these sites are dated to the Neolithic Age. With such a close concentration of Neolithic monuments it would not be surprising to uncover a large settlement from the same period. Yet based on the excavations completed thus far, archaeologists believe that the Ness of Brodgar primarily served not the living, but the dead. According to National Geographic Magazine archaeologists think that thousands of years ago the Ness was a place where Orkney's Neolithic farming communities gathered in large numbers for seasonal rituals and to commemorate the dead…The complexes also all appear to share a roughly common layout. The impression is that the inhabitants not only had places where the dead are congregated and where the ceremonial events take place, but there were also places where the living congregated.” It is thought that the Ness of Brodgar was a liminal site between the land of the living, symbolized by the Stones of Stenness, and the land of the dead at the Ring of Brodgar. That the Ness of Brodgar site was not a domestic settlement is supported by an absence of any of the usual evidence of daily activity in and around the buildings excavated thus far. There are no middens and no signs of family or community life. Rather, all evidence points to the buildings serving a strictly ritualistic, ceremonial, purpose. According to the initial survey over one hundred structures remain buried at the site. They are all surrounded by an immense wall which rose over thirteen feet and had openings only in the north and south sides. These entrances/exits correspond precisely to the Ring of Brodgar to the north and the Stones of Stenness to the south. In 2008 the excavations revealed the largest Neolithic structure ever found in Britain. Known as Structure Ten, it measures 82x65 feet. Structure Ten was neither a tomb nor a domicile. Four stone `dressers’ have been found inside which archaeologists speculate may have been used as altars. Further evidence uncovered in 2010 indicates the use of paint in decorating the walls of the structures and slate tiles as roofing material. Many more finds of interest such as the small statue known as `Brodgar Boy’ have been uncovered. However archaeologists involved with the excavation have made it clear that they have hardly begun the work of unearthing and interpreting the site. Orkney is one of the keys to understanding the development of Neolithic religion. The excavations of the Ness of Brodgar are just scratching the surface. Work is expected to continue at the site for decades as archeologists reconstruct the immense complex and interpret the original purpose of those who built it. Excavators concede that the present theory of a liminal passage between the worlds of the living and the dead could certainly be re-evaluated as excavations progress. For the present however the theory appears to be sound based upon the established sites in the vicinity [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. The Barnhouse Settlement: The Barnhouse Settlement is a Neolithic village located in Antaness, Orkney, Scotland. The Barnhouse Settlement was inhabited between about 3300 and 2600 BC. The present designation of 'Barnhouse' comes from the name of the farmland on which the village was discovered in 1984. Excavation of the site began in 1986. The excavations revealed ten stone buildings which conformed in design and construction, though not in style, to the village of Skara Brae. The Village of Skara Brae was occupied around 3100 BC, and is located 5 miles to the north-west of the Barnhouse Settlement. Only the foundations of the Barnhouse Settlement buildings remain intact as the village was deliberately destroyed in around 2600 BC. Indications are that the buildings were destroyed by their inhabitants. Then centuries of agricultural activity on the farm displaced many of the loose stones. Grooved Ware pottery found at the site further links Barnhouse to Skara Brae and also to the nearby Standing Stones of Stenness where similar ceramics were uncovered. To date fifteen buildings have been excavated and partially reconstructed. In Skara Brae the houses were built into the earth and surrounded by midden. Unlike Skara Brae the structures which comprise Barnhouse were free-standing. Most of these are small buildings. They appear to have been homes. Two other larger structures seem to have served other purposes. The site also includes the famous monolith known as the Barnhouse Stone. The Barnhouse Stone is aligned directly to both the passage entrance of Maeshowe, half a mile to the north-east; and to the Standing Stones of Stenness, a half mile to the north-west. The three form a kind of triangle between the three structures. The Barnhouse Stone is thought to have played a significant role in rituals performed at these nearby sites as did the village itself. Proximity to the enormous complex presently being excavated at the Ness of Brodgar, and the alignment of Maeshowe, Barnhouse, the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Watchstone, Ness of Brodgar, and Ring of Brodgar, seem to confirm a clear connection between all these sites. Scholars Observed in 1952 that the Barnhouse Stone is aligned with the Watchstone in a direct line to the center of the Ring of Brodgar and points to the rising sun on 1 May, the traditional date of the pagan Sabbat of Beltane (see The buildings of the village were constructed along the same lines as those at Skara Brae. Many feature the same design of a central, kerbed hearth, stone furniture, recessed stone beds, and “dressers”. All the houses at Skara Brae are identical in feature and size and this has been interpreted to mean that the community considered everyone in the village as equally important. There was no chief or ruling class given any special accommodations. However the two large buildings designated Structure Two and Structure Eight are noticeably different in style and size. The style and size suggest use as ritualistic community centers rather than domiciles. These two larger structures at Barnhouse suggest the theory that this community was centered on someone or something they considered of great importance. The Barnhouse Settlement lies in proximity to so many other sites clearly identified as ceremonial in nature. This suggests that the larger structures may have been the dwellings of a priestly class. They could have officiated at rituals held at Maeshowe, the Standing Stones of Stenness, The Ness of Brodgar, and Ring of Brodgar. However it is equally possible that the two structures were themselves ceremonial sites and that no-one resided therein. Structure Two conforms to the design of a chambered cairn in which rituals were known to take place in similar archaeological sites. Structure Eight contains a “dresser”, which has been interpreted as a kind of altar. It is accompanied by what appears to have been offerings. One of these potential/assumed offerings is a Grooved Ware ceramic pot. It contained fourteen pieces of flint and was found near the hearth in Structure Eight. Flint was rare on Orkney. A pot containing fourteen nodules of the stone would have been very valuable offering and would have constituted an impressive sacrifice. Of course there is no way to determine what the ceramic pot of stone signified to the ancient inhabitants. So it remains unknown whether the flint was an offering or simply a valuable which was kept by the hearth. That Structure Two could have been the home of a person or persons of importance is possible as the building was in use throughout the life of the village. However certain features such as a stone cist filled with human bones suggests a ritual use. This cist was covered by a triangle of stone. It was positioned so that anyone entering the building would have to walk across it. Further, the chambers of Structure Two do not conform to other sites (such as Skara Brae) where sleeping quarters have been identified. The purpose and use of Structure Eight located directly across from Structure Two is equally mysterious. Structure Eight is the largest edifice in the village and is built on a platform of clay. The building was originally roofed, as were all the structures of the village. Inside the building contained a central hearth and a “dresser” flanked by two large stones. The layout of the interior suggests a definite ritual use. This is especially true of the long passageway between the entrance and leading to the hearth and dresser. It has been suggested that this building represents a shift in religious ceremonies. Prior to religious services had been conducted as outdoor ceremonies which (presumably) included the entire community. Now the religious ceremonies seem to have evolved into cloistered rituals indoors which were only for the initiated. This theoretical shift is perhaps partially substantiated by dating of the Standing Stones of Stenness. Open air rituals were known to have taken place there earlier than the originally postulated date of 3000 BC. Particularly in light of the recent excavations at the Ness of Brodgar it has been proposed that Structure Eight was another in a complex of ceremonial sites. This complex would have stretched from Barnhouse through the sites leading to the Ring of Brodgar. However by itself this is not evidence of change in ceremonial religious practices. Rather the evidence is in the offerings at the hearth in Structure Eight and the bone-filled cist in Structure Two. These have been interpreted to support the theory that these buildings were used to either commune with, remember, or honor the dead. This seems consistent with finds at the Ness of Brodgar. It is well substantiated that Barnhouse Settlement and the Standing Stones of Stenness were in use at the same time. This would include Structure Two. However Structure Eight was built later than the rest of the village, at around 2600 BC. In fact Structure Eight was built after the village had been abandoned and purposefully destroyed. Evidence suggests that all of the buildings were simultaneously demolished sometime around 2600 BC. At the same time the rest of the buildings were being destroyed, Structure Eight was raised. This has further bolstered the theory of a dramatic change in religious practices dated to this time. The existence of a “blocking stone” in the entrance passage at Maeshowe has been interpreted as evidence that closed rituals may have been performed at that site as well. However since no definite evidence found thus far fully substantiates this theory it must remain conjecture. Skara Brae was once thought to be unique until the discovery of Barnhouse. However Structure Eight was the largest roofed Neolithic Age building to be uncovered until the recent discovery of Structure Ten at the Ness of Brodgar. Excavations at that site have already changed the way the other nearby sites are understood. Archaeologists are confident that continuing work there will reveal many more important finds which will further clarify what now remains unknown [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. Skara Brae: Skara Brae is a Neolithic Age site consisting of ten stone structures. It is located near the Bay of Skaill, Orkney, Scotland. Today the village is situated by the shore. However when inhabited in about 3100 to 2500 BC it would have been further inland. Steady erosion of the land over the centuries has altered the landscape considerably. Interpretations of the site based upon its present location have had to be re-evaluated in light of landscape evolution. The name `Skara Brae’ is a corruption of the old name for the site, “Skerrabra” or “Styerrabrae”. The name designated the mound which buried and thereby preserved the buildings of the village. The name by which the original inhabitants knew the site is unknown. Skara Brae is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Traditionally Skara Brae is said to have been discovered in 1850 when an enormous storm struck Orkney and dispersed the sand and soil which had buried the site. The landowner noticed the exposed stone walls and began excavations. He uncovered four stone houses. Recognizing the importance of his find he contacted George Petrie, a British antiquarian. Petrie began work at the site and by 1868 had documented important finds and excavated further. His findings were presenting at the April 1867 meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. At least one local historian claimed that the story of the “discovery” of Skara Brae was “a complete fiction”, that it was long known that there was an ancient site at the location. In a 1967 article historians cited one James Robertson who in 1769 recorded the site in a journal of his tour of Orkney. He claimed to have found a skeleton “with a sword in one hand and a Danish axe in the other”. Whether any similar finds were made by William Watt or George Petrie in their excavations is not recorded. Petrie extensively cataloged all the beads, stone tools and ornaments found at the site and listed neither swords nor Danish axes. In fact no weapons of any kind other than Neolithic knives have been found at the site. Scholars believe that even these were employed as tools in daily life rather than for any kind of warfare. Work was abandoned by Petrie shortly after 1868 but other interested parties continued to investigate the site. In 1913 another British antiquarian further excavated the location and at this point the site was visited by unknown parties. Apparently over a weekend these unknown parties excavated furiously and are thought to have carried off many important artifacts. What these artifacts may have been is not recorded. In 1924 the site was placed under the guardianship of the Commissioners of Works. They undertook to secure the buildings against the toll being taken by exposure to the sea. In this same year, another gale force storm damaged the now excavated buildings and destroyed one of the stone houses. In an effort to preserve the site and have it professionally excavated the archaeologist and Edinburgh professor Vere Gordon Childe was called to Skaill. A large sea wall was constructed throughout the summers of 1925 and 1926. However it was not until 1927 that they were able to begin excavating the site. Excavations at the site from 1927 onward have uncovered and stabilized Europe’s best preserved Neolithic Age village. In a 1929 report to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland on Skara Brae the traditional story of the site being uncovered by a storm in 1850 was described, and Mr. Watt was mentioned as the landowner at the time. There was no mention of any pubic knowledge that the site of the ancient village was recognized for any ancient remains prior to 1850. Skara Brae was declared a World Heritage site in 1999 by UNESCO. Today the village is under the administration of Historic Scotland. The builders of Skara Brae constructed their homes from flagstones and layered them into the earth for greater support. They filled the space between the walls and the earth with middens for natural insulation. Every piece of furniture in the homes, from dressers to cupboards to chairs and beds was fashioned from stone. Hearths indicate the homes were warmed by fire and each home would originally have had a roof, perhaps of turf. It is assumed that each roof would have had some sort of opening to serve as a chimney. Even with a chimney it is evident that the windowless houses would have been fairly smoky and certainly dark. As wood was scarce in the area it is unknown what fueled the hearth. The theory that the people of Skara Brae waited by the shore for driftwood from North America seems untenable. The village was not originally located by the sea. Further as wood was so precious it seems unlikely it would have been burned. A wooden handle discovered at the site provides evidence that wood was most likely used in making tools rather than as fuel. Each house was constructed along the same design and many have the same sort of furniture and the same layout of the rooms. The village had a drainage system and even indoor toilets. Artifacts uncovered at the site give evidence that the inhabitants made grooved ware. This was a style of pottery which produced vessels with flat bottoms and straight sides, decorated with grooves. The style was indigenous to Orkney. This type of ceramic has led to the designation of the inhabitants of Skara Brae as Grooved Ware People. Evidence of similar pottery has been found in other sites in Orkney such as Maeshowe. The Grooved Ware People raised cattle and sheep, farmed the land, and hunted and fished for food. They also crafted tools, gaming dice, jewelry, and other ornaments from bone, precious rock, and stone. The 1867 excavations uncovered so many knives and scrapers that it was thought that the inhabitants manufactured such items for trade. There have also been claims by archeoastronomers that Skara Brae was a community of astronomers and wise men who charted the heavens. The claim is based partly on stone balls found at the site engraved with rectilinear patterns. The original excavations of Skara Brae mention stone and bone artifacts which were interpreted as being used in gaming. Perhaps these balls were used for similar gaming purposes. No one actually knows with any degree of certainty what the balls’ purpose was. Any such claim can only be speculation. There is no evidence at the site however to support the claim that Skara Brae was a community of astronomers. In fact the preponderance of evidence suggests a pastoral, agricultural village. In keeping with the story of Skara Brae’s dramatic discovery in the 1850 storm it has been suggested that weather was also responsible for the abandonment of the village. A theory popular for decades claims the site was buried in sand by a great storm which forced the populace to abandon their homes and flee quickly. This theory further claims that this is how Skara Brae was so perfectly preserved. Like Pompeii it was quickly and completely buried in a cataclysm. The 1929 report to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland mentions beads among the artifacts uncovered. The report describes that beads were “scattered over the surface of the floor. One group of beads and ornaments were found clustered together at the inner threshold of the very narrow doorway. These have been strung together and form a necklace. It would appear that the necklace had fallen from the wearer while passing through the low doorway”. Nothing in this report nor evidence at the site would seem to indicate a catastrophic storm driving away the inhabitants. On popular work “Circles and Standing Stones” suggests that, “It was one such storm and a shifting sand dune that obliterated the village after an unknown period of occupation. As was the case at Pompeii, the inhabitants seem to have been taken by surprise and fled in haste for many of their prized possessions…were left behind. One woman was in such haste that her necklace broke as she squeezed through the narrow doorway of her home, scattering a stream of beads along the passageway outside as she fled the encroaching sand”. The beads described in this fanciful account simply do not provide conclusive or even firm support for such a scenario. The absence of human remains and/or any other evidence of a cataclysm suggest a different reason for the abandonment of the village. Evidence at the site substantiated during archaeological excavations of the 1970’s have disproved the cataclysm theory. That theory rested largely on the supposition that Skara Brae stood by the shore in antiquity as it does today. The archaeological evidence points to a theory shared by most scholars and archaeologists that the village was abandoned for frankly unknowable reasons. After it was abandoned it gradually became buried by sand and soil through the natural progression of time [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. Göbekli Tepe: Located in modern Turkey Göbekli Tepe is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. The discovery of this stunning 10,000 year old site in the 1990s sent shock waves through the archaeological world and beyond. Some researchers even claimed it was the site of the biblical Garden of Eden. There many examples of sculptures and megalithic architecture which make up what is perhaps the world’s earliest temple at Göbekli Tepe. They predate pottery, metallurgy, the invention of writing, the wheel and the beginning of agriculture. The fact that hunter–gatherer peoples could organize the construction of such a complex site as far back as the 10th or 11th millennium BC is astonishing. The fact not only revolutionizes our understanding of hunter-gatherer culture but poses a serious challenge to the conventional view of the rise of civilization. Göbekli Tepe is Turkish for the “hill of the navel”. It is a 1000 foot diameter mound located at the highest point of a mountain ridge. It is located around 9 miles northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa (Urfa) in southeastern Turkey. Since 1994 excavations have been taking place at the site. Discoveries to date have been astounding, especially bearing in mind the excavators estimate that their work has uncovered a mere 5% of the site. Göbekli Tepe consists of four arrangements of monolithic pillars linked together by segments of coarsely built dry stone walls. Together they form a series of circular or oval structures. There are two large pillars in the center of each complex which are encircled by slightly smaller stones facing inward. Archaeologists believe that these pillars could have once supported roofs. The structures vary in size between around 33 and 98 feet in diameter and have floors made of terrazzo (burnt lime). Forty-three of the megaliths have been excavated thus far. They are mainly T-shaped pillars of soft limestone up to around 16 feet in height. They were excavated and transported from a stone quarry on the lower southwestern slope of the hill. Geophysical surveys on the hill indicate that there are as many as 250 more megaliths lying buried around the site. The number suggests that another 16 complexes once existed at Göbekli Tepe. Although some of the standing stones at Göbekli Tepe are blank others display extraordinary artwork. This artwork is in the form of elaborately carved foxes, lions, bulls, scorpions, snakes, wild boars, vultures, water fowl, insects, and arachnids. There are also abstract shapes and one relief of a naked woman, posed frontally in a sitting position. A number of the T-shaped stones have depictions of what appear to be arms at their sides. This suggests that the megaliths could have represented stylized humans or perhaps gods. the pictograms at Göbekli Tepe do not represent a form of writing. However they may have functioned as sacred symbols whose meanings were implicitly understood by local populations at the time. The depictions of vultures at Göbekli Tepe have parallels at other Anatolian and Near Eastern sites. The walls of many of the shrines at the large Neolithic settlement of Çatal Höyük (in existence from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC) in south-central Turkey were adorned with large skeletal representations of vultures. One theory put forward to explain the prominence of vultures in the early Anatolian Neolithic is in the context of possible excarnation practices suggesting a funerary cult. After death bodies would have been deliberately left outside and exposed, perhaps on some kind of wooden frame. The bodies would be stripped of flesh by vultures and other birds of prey. The skeletons would then be interred somewhere else. Perhaps the ritual of excarnation was the focus of a cult of the dead practiced by the inhabitants of Göbekli Tepe. The ritual was certainly in use elsewhere in Anatolia and the Near East in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. In fact the practice is still followed by India’s Parsi population. The origins of the Parsi practice may be found in Zoroastrian Indo-Iran. Curiously archaeologists have so far found no evidence of settlement at Göbekli Tepe. Houses, cooking hearths, and refuse pits are all absent. The archaeologists have however found over 100,000 animal bone fragments, many of which exhibited cut marks and splintered edges. These indicate that animals were being butchered and cooked somewhere in the area. The bones came from wild game such as gazelle, boar, sheep and red deer. Also found were the bones from different species of birds such as vultures, cranes, ducks and geese. Over 60% of all bones were from gazelle. Wild species accounted for 100% of the bones. This provides evidence that that the people who inhabited Göbekli Tepe were hunter-gatherers. They were not early farmers who kept domesticated animals. Due to the presence of multiple monumental complexes at such an early date Göbekli Tepe is a somewhat unique site. However there are some parallels with the site at the early Neolithic settlement of Nevalı Çori. Nevalı Çori was on the middle Euphrates River in Eastern Turkey. The site lies only 12½ miles north-west of Göbekli Tepe. The main temple at Nevalı Çori was dated to around 8,000 BC. This was perhaps a thousand years later than Göbekli Tepe. The cult complexes at the settlement had a number of features in common with Göbekli Tepe. These included terrazzo-style lime cement floor, monolithic T-shaped pillars built into dry stone walls, and two free-standing pillars in the center of the complex area. The T-shaped pillars show reliefs of what appear to be human hands. Unfortunately Nevali Çori is now lost. It is submerged beneath a lake created by the Atatürk Dam in 1992. The excavators of Göbekli Tepe believe that around 8,000 BC the people at the site deliberately buried the monuments under mountains of soil and settlement refuse. The refuse included flints and animal bones. All of the refuse was brought from elsewhere. This backfilling is the main reason why the site has been preserved after so many thousands of years. Why the inhabitants of Göbekli Tepe abandoned the site is not clearly understood. It appears obvious that the monuments had lost their relevance. Possibly this had some connection with the new way of life which accompanied the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. That transition occurred around the time Göbekli Tepe was abandoned. We know from typological dating of stone tools and radio carbon dates that the final building phase at Göbekli Tepe dates to around 8000 BC. However the date of its very earliest occupation is far from clear. Radio carbon dates from charcoal for the later portions of the oldest layer date to around 9,000 BC. Archaeologists estimate that Göbekli Tepe’s stone monuments are about this age, though the structures have not been directly dated themselves. From the available evidence archaeologists estimate Göbekli Tepe’s beginnings at 11,000 BC or earlier. This is remarkably old for such a complex set of monuments. The planning and building of such a site as Göbekli Tepe would have required a degree of organization and resources hitherto unknown in hunter-gatherer societies. Archaeologists working the site have made the intriguing suggestion that the temples and other religious structures were not built after they had learned to farm and live in settled communities. To the contrary the hunter-gatherers of the area first constructed megalithic sites like Göbekli Tepe. By doing so they then laid the foundation for the later development of complex societies based on agriculture and pastoralism. Indeed investigations of other sites surrounding Göbekli Tepe has revealed a prehistoric village just 20 miles away. Evidence of the world's oldest domesticated strains of wheat has been recovered there. According to radio carbon dates agriculture developed in the area around 10,500 years ago, just a few hundred years after the construction of Göbekli Tepe. Other sites in the region show evidence for the domestication of sheep, cattle and pigs animals 1,000 years after Göbekli Tepe’s monuments were erected. All this evidence suggests that the area around Göbekli Tepe was at the forefront of the agricultural revolution. Perhaps the most elusive aspect of the megalithic structures at Göbekli Tepe is their function. Why did hunter-gatherers construct such elaborate monuments? In the opinion of the archaeological team excavating the site, it was an important location for a cult of the dead. No definite burials have been discovered so far. However they believe they will be found underneath the floors of the circular monuments. In the absence of houses or domestic buildings of any sort in the area the archaeological team views Göbekli Tepe as akin to a pilgrimage destination which attracted worshipers from as far away as a hundred miles. Indeed the vast amount of animal bone discovered at the site certainly suggests that that ritual feasting (and even sacrifice) regularly took place here. There is perhaps a parallel here with the much later site at Durrington Walls. Durrington Walls is close to Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England. Dating to around 2600 BC Durrington Walls was a huge ritual timber circle. Enormous amounts of animal bone, mainly pigs and cattle, were discovered. This suggested to the archaeological team excavating the site that ritual feasting was an important feature of the site. Recent excavations at Göbekli Tepe have uncovered pieces of human bones in soils which came from the niches behind the stone pillars at the site. Archaeologists believe the bones show that corpses were brought into the ritual areas demarcated by the engraved T-shaped stone. They were then laid out and left to be stripped of their soft tissue by wild animals. Such activity would Göbekli Tepe both a cemetery and a center of a regional death cult. It is difficult to believe that the barren semi-desert where Göbekli Tepe is located was once a region of green meadows, woods, and fields of wild barley and wheat. The area would also have been thronging with vast herds of gazelle and flocks of geese and ducks. Indeed the animal and plant remains indicate such a rich and idyllic scene that Göbekli Tepe has been linked with the biblical story of the Garden of Eden. For those who take the story as a literal truth, the biblical location of Eden was at a point where four rivers descend. This has been interpreted as within the Fertile Crescent. The ancient Fertile Crescent is defined as an agriculturally rich region in Western Asia. It consists of present-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, south-eastern Turkey and west and south-western Iran. The four rivers of the biblical Eden would include the Tigris and Euphrates. Those adherents of the idea that the environs could be the biblical Garden of Eden point out that Göbekli Tepe lies between both of these rivers. The Book of Genesis also states that Eden is ringed by mountains, as is Göbekli Tepe. Other researchers believe that the Eden narrative in the Bible could be better interpreted as an allegory for the transition from a hunter-gather lifestyle to agriculture. Of course biblical accounts were recorded millennia after the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture took place. The archaeologists involved in the excavation of Göbekli Tepe opine that the shift from hunting to farming in the area brought about the decline of Göbekli Tepe. Intense work was required for agricultural societies to succeed. Perhaps there was no longer the time or the need for the monuments of Göbekli Tepe. In the areas surrounding Göbekli Tepe trees were chopped down, soils became exhausted and the landscape was gradually transformed into the arid wilderness we see today. Unfortunately as the fame of Göbekli Tepe has spread art thieves and illegal antiquity dealers have been alerted. Around the end of September 2010 a 1.3 foot-high, T-shaped stele decorated with a human head and an animal figure was stolen from the site. Since the theft security at the site has been improved by installing a locking gate and a camera system. Hopefully this will be enough to deter future thieves. As long as only a tiny fraction of the incredible site of Göbekli Tepe has been excavated we can never know for sure why it was built and why it was buried and abandoned. Future work at the site will undoubtedly illuminate answers to not only these enigmas, but on our understanding of this critical stage in the development of human societies. One thing is certain. Göbekli Tepe has many more fascinating secrets to reveal [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. Çatalhöyük: Çatalhöyük was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia. It existed from about 7100 to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. In July 2012 it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Çatalhöyük is located overlooking the Konya Plain, southeast of the present-day city of Konya (ancient Iconium) in Turkey. It’s approximately 87 miles from the twin-coned volcano of Mount Hasan. The eastern settlement forms a mound which would have risen about 65 feet above the plain at the time of the latest Neolithic occupation. There is also a smaller settlement mound to the west, and a Byzantine settlement a few hundred yards to the east. The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age. A channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between the two mounds. The settlement was built on alluvial clay which may have been favorable for early agriculture. The site was first excavated in 1958, and then again annually between 1961 and 1965. These excavations revealed that this region of Anatolia was a center of advanced culture during the Neolithic period. Excavations uncovered 18 successive layers of buildings revealing various stages of the settlement and eras of history. The bottom layer of buildings can be dated as early as 7100 BC. The top layer was dated to 5600 BC. The University of Cambridge initiated renewed excavations beginning in 1993. Çatalhöyük was composed entirely of domestic buildings, with no obvious public buildings. While some of the larger ones have rather ornate murals, the purpose of some rooms remain unclear. The maximum population of the eastern mound has been estimated to be 10,000 people. However the population likely varied over the community's history. An average population of between 5,000 and 7,000 is considered a reasonable estimate. The sites developed as large clusters of buildings grew together. Households looked to their neighbors for help, trade, and possibly marriage for their children. The inhabitants lived in mud brick houses that were crammed together in an aggregate structure. No footpaths or streets were used between the dwellings. The dwellings were in honeycomb-like clusters. Most were accessed by holes in the ceiling and elevated doors on the side of the houses. The elevated doorways were reached by ladders and stairs. The rooftops were effectively streets. The ceiling openings also served as the only source of ventilation. This sole opening allowed smoke from the houses' open hearths and ovens to escape. Houses had smoothly finished plaster interiors characterized by squared-off timber ladders or steep stairs. These were usually on the south wall of the room, as were cooking hearths and ovens. The main rooms contained raised platforms that may have been used for a range of domestic activities. Typical houses contained two rooms for everyday activity, such as cooking and crafting. Ancillary rooms were used as storage, and were accessed through low openings from main rooms. All rooms were kept scrupulously clean. Archaeologists identified very little rubbish in the buildings. They located middens (trash dumps) outside the ruins, with both sewage and food waste. They also found therein significant amounts of ash from burning wood, reeds and animal dung. In good weather many daily activities may also have taken place on the rooftops. In essence the rooftops may have functioned as a community plaza. In later periods large communal ovens appear to have been built on these rooftops. Over time houses were renewed by partial demolition and rebuilding on a foundation of rubble. This is how the overall mound was gradually built up. As many as eighteen levels of settlement have been uncovered. As a part of ritual life the people of Çatalhöyük buried their dead within the village. Human remains have been found in pits beneath the domicile floors, particularly beneath hearths, the platforms within the main rooms, and under beds. Bodies were tightly flexed before burial and were often placed in baskets or wound and wrapped in reed mats. Disarticulated bones in some graves suggest that bodies may have been exposed in the open air for a time before the bones were gathered and buried. In some cases graves were disturbed and the head removed from the skeleton. These heads may have been used in rituals as some were found in other areas of the community. In a woman's grave spinning whorls were recovered and in a man's grave stone axes. Some skulls were plastered and painted with ochre to recreate faces. This custom was more characteristic of Neolithic sites in Syria and Jericho than at sites closer by. Vivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement both on interior and exterior walls. Predominant images include men with erect phalluses and hunting scenes. Also predominate are red images of the now extinct aurochs (wild cattle) and stags, and vultures swooping down on headless figures. Relief figures are carved on walls, such as of lionesses facing one another. Heads of animals, especially of cattle, were mounted on walls. A painting of the village with the twin mountain peaks of Hasan Dağ in the background is frequently cited as the world's oldest map and the first landscape painting. However, some archaeologists question this interpretation. Many argue for example that it is more likely a painting of a leopard skin instead of a volcano, and a decorative geometric design instead of a map. Distinctive, striking clay figurines of women have been found in the upper levels of the site. Particularly notable is the “Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük”, dated to between 5500 and 6000 BC. The original archaeologist excavating Çatalhöyük believed that these well-formed, carefully made figurines represented a female deity. The figurines were carved and molded from marble, blue and brown limestone, schist, calcite, basalt, alabaster, and clay,. Although a male deity existed as well, the original excavating archaeologist noted that "statues of a female deity far outnumber those of the male deity, who moreover, does not appear to be represented at all after Level 6". To date, eighteen levels have been identified. No identifiable temples have been found. Nonetheless these artfully-hewn figurines were found primarily in areas believed to be shrines. A stately goddess seated on a throne flanked by two lionesses was found in a grain bin. Archaeologists suggest this might have been intended as a means of ensuring the harvest or protecting the food supply. And again, though no temples have been found, the graves, murals, and figurines suggest that the people of Çatalhöyük had a religion rich in symbolism. Rooms with concentrations of what appear to be religious items may have been shrines or public meeting areas. Excavated artifacts include the earliest known textile fragments. They may be fabrics used to wrap the dead. They were carbonized in a fire and radiocarbon dated to about 6000 BC. The original excavating archaeologist excavated nearly two hundred buildings in four seasons. However the current team spent an entire season excavating one building alone. In 2004 and 2005 the team found “mother goddess” figurine similar to those excavation by the original archaeological team. But the vast majority did not imitate the Mother Goddess style suggested by the original team. Instead of a Mother Goddess culture, archaeologists point out that the site gives little indication of a matriarchy or patriarchy. Archaeologists note, "…there are full breasts on which the hands rest, and the stomach is extended in the central part. There is a hole in the top for the head which is missing. As one turns the figurine around one notices that the arms are very thin. Then on the back of the figurine one sees a depiction of either a skeleton or the bones of a very thin and depleted human. The ribs and vertebrae are clear, as are the scapulae and the main pelvic bones. The figurine can be interpreted in a number of ways. Perhaps as a woman turning into an ancestor, as a woman associated with death, or as death and life conjoined. It is possible that the lines around the body represent wrapping rather than ribs.” Whatever the specific interpretation such a unique piece may force us to change our views of the nature of Çatalhöyük society and imagery. Perhaps the importance of female imagery was related to some special role of the female in relation to death as much as to the roles of mother and nurturer." In an article in the Turkish Daily News the present archaeological team was reported denying that Çatalhöyük was a matriarchal society and quoted as saying, "When we look at what they eat and drink and at their social statues, we see that men and women had the same social status. There was a balance of power. Another example is the skulls found. If one's social status was of high importance in Çatalhöyük, the body and head were separated after death. The number of female and male skulls found during the excavations is almost equal." In another article in the Hurriyet Daily News the team is reported to say, "We have learned that men and women were equally approached". In a report in September 2009 on the discovery of around 2000 figurines the archaeological team is quoted, “…Çatalhöyük is perhaps best known for the idea of the mother goddess. But our work more recently has tended to show that in fact there is very little evidence of a mother goddess and very little evidence of some sort of female-based matriarchy…” While the original excavations had found only 200 figurines, the new excavations uncovered 2,000 figurines of which most were animals. Less than 5% of the figurines excavated were of women. Scholars suggested as early as in 1976 that Çatalhöyük was probably a hunting and gathering religion. The Mother Goddess figurine did not represent a female deity. The suggestion forwarded by scholars was that perhaps a longer period of time was needed in order to develop symbols for agricultural rites. There is strong evidence that Çatalhöyük was an egalitarian society. No houses with distinctive features which would indicate that the occupants were royalty or belonging to an elevated religious hierarchy have been found so far. Noting the lack of hierarchy and economic inequality one historian argued that Çatalhöyük was an early example of anarcho-communism. Conversely a 2014 paper argues that the picture of Çatalhöyük is more complex. True there seems to have been an egalitarian distribution of cooking tools and some stone tools. However unbroken quern-stones and storage units were more unevenly distributed. This indicates the likelihood of social inequality. Private property existed but shared tools also existed. It was also suggested that Çatalhöyük was slowly becoming less egalitarian, with greater inter-generational wealth transmission. The most recent investigations also reveal little social distinction based on gender. Men and women received equivalent nutrition and seemed to have equal social status, as typically found in Paleolithic cultures. Children were taught how to perform rituals. They were also taught how to build or repair houses. They leaned other skills watching the adults make statues, beads and other objects. Çatalhöyük's spatial layout may be due to the close kin relations exhibited amongst the people. Within the layout of the city it can be discerned that people were divided into two groups who lived on opposite sides of the settlement, separated by a gully. Since no nearby towns were found from which marriage partners could be drawn, this spatial separation must have marked two intermarrying kinship groups. This could provide an explanation of how so early on the settlement became so large. In upper (latter) levels of the site it is readily apparent that the people of Çatalhöyük were gaining skills in agriculture and the domestication of animals. Female figurines have been found within bins used for storage of cereals such as wheat and barley. The figurines are presumed to be of a deity protecting the grain. Aside from cereals peas were also grown. Trees in the surrounding hills provided a harvest of almonds, pistachios, and fruit. Sheep were domesticated and evidence suggests the beginning of cattle domestication as well. Nonetheless hunting continued to be a major source of food for the community. Pottery and obsidian tools appear to have been major industries. Obsidian tools were probably both used and also traded for items such as Mediterranean sea shells and flint from Syria. There is also evidence that the settlement was the first place in the world to mine and smelt metal in the form of lead [Wikipedia]. Nevalı Çori: Nevalı Çori was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in Şanlıurfa Province, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. The site is known for having some of the world's oldest known temples and monumental sculpture. Together with the earlier site of Göbekli Tepe it has revolutionized scientific understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic period. The oldest domesticated Einkorn wheat was found there. The settlement was located about 1600 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains. It was situated on both banks of the Kantara stream, a tributary of the Euphrates. The site was examined from 1983 to 1991 in the context of rescue excavations during the building of the Atatürk Dam below Samsat. Excavations were conducted by a team from the University of Heidelberg. Together with numerous other archaeological sites in the vicinity, Nevalı Çori has since been flooded by the damming of the Euphrates. Nevalı Çori could be placed within the local relative chronology on the basis of its flint tools. The occurrence of narrow unretouched Byblos-type points places it in the early to middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B. Some tools indicate continuity into Phase 4, which is similar in date to Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B. Four radiocarbon dates have been determined for Nevalı Çori. Three are from Stratum II and date it to the second half of the 9th millennium BC. This coincides with early dates from Çayönü and with Mureybet. The fourth radiocarbon test dates to the 10th millennium BC. This would indicate the presence of an extremely early phase of Pre-Pottery Neolithic at Nevalı Çori. The settlement had five architectural levels. The excavated architectural remains were of long rectangular houses. They contained two to three parallel flights of rooms, interpreted as mezzanines. The mezzanines are adjacent to a similarly rectangular ante-structure. These are subdivided by wall projections which are interpreted as residential space. This type of house is characterized by thick, multi-layered foundations made of large angular cobbles and boulders. The gaps between the large cobbles and boulders are filled with smaller stones. This provided a relatively even surface to support the superstructure. These foundations are interrupted every 1-1.5m by under floor channels at right angles to the main axis of the houses. These channels were covered in stone slabs but open to the sides. They may have served the drainage, aeration or the cooling of the houses. Twenty-three such structures were excavated. They were strikingly similar to structures from Çayönü. An area in the northwest part of the village appears to be of special importance. Here a cult complex had been cut into the hillside. It had three subsequent architectural phases dating back to the origin of the settlement. The more recent stratums possessed a terrazzo-style lime cement floor. Parallels are known from Cayönü and Göbekli Tepe. Monolithic pillars similar to those at Göbekli Tepe were built into its dry stone walls. Its interior contained two free-standing pillars of 10 feet height. The excavating archaeologists assumed that the structure possessed light flat roofs. Similar structures are only known from Göbekli Tepe so far. Soundings cut to examine the western side of the valley also revealed rectilinear architecture in two to three settlement layers. The local limestone was carved into numerous statues and smaller sculptures. These included a more than life-sized bare human head with a snake or sikha-like tuft. There is also a statue of a bird. Some of the structural pillars also bore reliefs. These included reliefs of human hands. The free-standing anthropomorphic figures of limestone excavated at Nevalı Çori belong to the earliest known life-size sculptures. Comparable material has been found at Göbekli Tepe. Several hundred small clay figurines (about two inches high) been interpreted as votive offerings. Most of them depicted humans. They were fired at temperatures between 500-600 degrees celsius. This which suggests the development of ceramic firing technology before the advent of pottery proper [Wikipedia]. Çayönü Tepesi: Çayönü Tepesi is a Neolithic settlement in southeastern Turkey which prospered from about 8,630 to 6,800 BC. It is located twenty-five miles north-west of Diyarbakır at the foot of the Taurus mountains. It lies near the Boğazçay, a tributary of the upper Tigris River and the Bestakot, an intermittent stream. The site was excavated for sixteen seasons between 1964 and 1991. The settlement covers both the periods of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic and the Pottery Neolithic. An analysis of blood found at the site suggests that human sacrifice occurred there. Çayönü is possibly the place where the pig was first domesticated. Genetic studies of emmer wheat show that the slopes of Mount Karaca was the location of first domestication. Mount Karaca is located in close vicinity to Çayönü. Emmer wheat is the precursor of most current wheat species. From the earliest phases of the major pre-historic occupation at Cayonu cultivated emmer along with cultivated einkorn was present [Wikipedia]. SHIPPING & RETURNS/REFUNDS: We always ship books domestically (within the USA) via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). Most international orders cost an additional $15.49 to $46.49 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer. There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Our postage charges are as reasonable as USPS rates allow. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are fully insured against loss, and our shipping rates include the cost of this coverage (through,, the USPS, UPS, or Fed-Ex). International tracking is provided free by the USPS for certain countries, other countries are at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked 30-day return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price; 1) less our original shipping/insurance costs, 2) less non-refundable PayPal/eBay payment processing fees. Please note that PayPal does NOT refund fees. Even if you “accidentally” purchase something and then cancel the purchase before it is shipped, PayPal will not refund their fees. So all refunds for any reason, without exception, do not include PayPal/eBay payment processing fees (typically between 3% and 5%) and shipping/insurance costs (if any). If you’re unhappy with PayPal and eBay’s “no fee refund” policy, and we are EXTREMELY unhappy, please voice your displeasure by contacting PayPal and/or eBay. We have no ability to influence, modify or waive PayPal or eBay policies. ABOUT US: Prior to our retirement we used to travel to Europe and Central Asia several times a year. Most of the items we offer came from acquisitions we made in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) during these years from various institutions and dealers. Much of what we generate on Etsy, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe and Asia connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. Though we have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, our primary interests are ancient jewelry and gemstones. Prior to our retirement we traveled to Russia every year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from us. There is a $3 fee for mailing under separate cover. I will always respond to every inquiry whether via email or eBay message, so please feel free to write. Condition: LIKE NEW. Unread (albeit of course likely slipped through while on the bookseller's shelf) but with mild age-blemishing and faint shelfwear. See detailed condition description below., Publisher: Century UK (1998), Format: Hardcover with dustjacket, Length: 308 pages, Dimensions: 9¼ x 6¼ x 1½ inches, 1½ pounds

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