Gobekli Tepi and other record-breaking ancient homo sapiens stuff

I did a search for this topic and didn’t get any hits on site, a bit surprising.

edit: wow, i can’t remember making this draft!


Super fascinating. I’ve seen a documentary about this, and it had a nice discussion of how agriculture started because the hunter gatherers had settled down because food supplies were increasing so they didn’t need to move from place to place to get enough food. That lead to larger families because toddlers didn’t have to be carried, leading to population growth, leading to not enough food, leading to agriculture.

i seem to recall there is no evidence of habitation at gobekli tepi

also, there is a school of thought that agriculture started in order to produce more beer: An ancient thirst for beer may have inspired agriculture, Stanford archaeologists say


Thing I saw made out gobleki tepe was built by hunter gatherers who were not nomadic, I mean if they were fully nomadic they wouldnt have built a huge temple to mark a spot they were wandering past right.

Apparently there was also a genetic mutation in the wild wheat at that site that made it easier to gather the grains.

Another interesting factoid is that the modern day people most genetically related to the early Anatolian agriculturalists are Sardinians


I seem to remember it coming up in Pic Quiz before. Can’t seem to find it though. Could be imagining things.

I remember reading about it in one of those modern “how the world got this way” books- not Sapiens, but something along those lines.
They were presenting it as an example of of peaceful co-operation, and contrasting it with newly discovered evidence of a prehistoric battle far bigger than any they had previously imagined, which people travelled miles to participate in

Apparently much later than I remembered

Thousands of bone fragments belonging to many people have been discovered along with further corroborative evidence of battle; current estimates indicate that perhaps 4,000 warriors from Central Europe fought in a battle on the site in the 13th century BC. As the population density was approximately 5 people per square kilometer (13 per square mile), this would have been the most significant battle in Bronze Age Central Europe known so far and makes the Tollense valley currently the largest excavated and archaeologically verifiable battle site of this age in the world.[1]


Oh man that reminds me of the theory that the “hairy” man character “Enkidu” in the Epic of Gilgamesh might have been based on a real Neanderthal, one of the last survivors to have contact with Homo Sapiens, and that the epic actually documents the extinction of the Neanderthals.


I too have a vague recollection of it. I think the picture was of a carving of an animal on one of the large stones

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Graham Hancock is the one to watch on this.
Many videos talking about it.

Or von Daniken, if you’re really looking for pseudo-scientific nutjobs.

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I prefer ‘harmless eccentrics’.

Hancock is a true believer, but he tries hard. I have given some of his stuff a listen some years back when I was really into this stuff.

von Daniken, on the other hand, strikes me as an opporunitist who knows most of his original work is bullshit but rides the wave since it pays him. Can’t blame him for that, but I’ve decided early on not to spend much time on him.

The one to really watch on this stuff is the Youtuber Ancient Architects

Pressure on resources leads to war, and people will organise themselves when this happens. We’re about to witness it happening.

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True enough. I think the surprise expressed in this case is that they could organize that many people around a cause for war that early. If spiritual endeavours unite people that closely around a common belief, so does the prospect of killing somebody else and stealing his lands, possessions, and women (apologies to feminists, but while women may have been involved in the cheerleading, it does seem a pretty gendered occupation.)

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Egyptians were doing the same around the same time.

Yeah, but Egyptians had an organised empire- so did Mesopotamians. It took a lot more effort and chunk of your GDP (to use an anachronistic term) to get together that big of a killing machine.

Of course. They had an organised system of rule that enabled relatively large military action. Either this was also possible in what is now northern Germany, or the archeological evidence is wrong. Or, large scale military combat was possible without centralised rule. That seems unlikely.

True- the evidence of mounted bronze-equipped warriors, as opposed to stone and club-equipped foot soldiers seem to show there was more of a stratified society.

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Tribal societies had cavalry, but I agree with you.