So-called “Stone Age” people were more sophisticated than you might think. They farmed, herded animals, manufactured tools, created art, and performed many of the same everyday tasks you do. They divided their time between rural, urban, and international activities as we do (well, except for the airplanes).
But archaeologists did not always have this impressive picture. When James Mellaart stumbled upon a large, well-preserved settlement in Central Turkey — untouched by later occupants — nobody suspected what marvels awaited. Pristine sites are a rarity in the world of archaeology. Usually, ancient cities have multiple levels from different time periods, with each new layer demolishing the lower levels. This mound in Turkey was “Stone Age” from top to bottom. The period known as the Stone Age is so named because of the predominance of stone tools being used for everyday tasks. Metal artifacts have been discovered, but they are few and of a ceremonial nature. The pottery is crude, and there is no evidence of written documents.
It was a scene from the early years after Babel, frozen in time.
Perhaps the most surprising discovery was the settlement’s immense size — 0.33 mile (0.5 km) in length and over 60 feet (18 m) tall at the crown. In time, archaeologists identified nearly two thousand dwellings from a period when most secular historians thought humans were still wandering around as bands of food gatherers. Continue Reading…