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Resetting the Zero Point of Civilization

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on March 5th, 02010

A pillar at the Gobekli Tepe temple near Sanliurfa, Turkey.  (photo:  Berthold Steinhilber/Laif-Redux)

A pillar at the Gobekli Tepe temple near Sanliurfa, Turkey. (photo: Berthold Steinhilber/Laif-Redux)

The good folks at Atlas Obscura pointed me to this fantastic story on an archaeological find near the Syrian Border in Turkey that pushes back the date of great stonework, and in effect the beginning of known civilization, by many millennia. (snippet below)

Standing on the hill at dawn, overseeing a team of 40 Kurdish diggers, the German-born archeologist waves a hand over his discovery here, a revolution in the story of human origins. Schmidt has uncovered a vast and beautiful temple complex, a structure so ancient that it may be the very first thing human beings ever built. The site isn’t just old, it redefines old: the temple was built 11,500 years ago—a staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid, and more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge first took shape. The ruins are so early that they predate villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculture—the first embers of civilization. In fact, Schmidt thinks the temple itself, built after the end of the last Ice Age by hunter-gatherers, became that ember—the spark that launched mankind toward farming, urban life, and all that followed.

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