Gobekli Tepe and other Excavations in context of Cereal Domestication. Credit: The Tepe Telegrams
This week’s post will take you into what I believe is the hottest topic in both archaeology and paleoclimatology. The key issue focuses upon the excavation at Gobekli Tepe and the crumbling paleoclimatology of the Younger Dryas weather event. So, don’t skim and jump out of this week’s conclusion. Do skip links with which you are already familiar, but don’t miss what’s happening
We know from DNA that Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) in the Northern Hemisphere interbred with Neanderthals 60,000 to 40,000 years ago. The Neanderthals became extinct as a separate specie shortly thereafter, leaving mankind’s future solely with northern AMH hybrids and southern AMH originals. We shouldn’t be confused: Neanderthals remain in the gene pool as evidenced in northern AMH DNA.
So, what lit the fire under northern AMH, causing them to display polished interlocking monolithic architecture and construction, cement floors, 3D sculpture of man and animals, functional analysis and design, huge organization, putting a value (in some form) on individual human life, and first yearnings that appear to me (and the late excavator Dr. Klaus Schmidt) as spiritual, and social complexity.
What happened at Gobekli Tepe wasn’t a one-off event on the edge of Mesopotamia (see the map above). The cultural marker to look for is the T-shaped pillar icons. You’ll find them beside several excavations on the Tepe Telegram map: Nevali Cori (Video), Hamzan Tepe (read and weep), Cayonu, and the others have no web links at present.
The antiquity of PPNA takes us back to 11,500 Before Present, the end of the Younger Dryas disaster. The Wiki explanation I just linked gives what I believe is the soon-to-be-obsolete theory about causation for that disaster, because the following reasoning seems much for realistic and will be hard to refute. So, you get to participate in the hottest debate in paleoarchaeology from the point where is gains credibility.
The New (more complete) Hypothesis about the Causation of the Younger Dryas.
The current hypothesis links causality of the Younger Dryas back to the ultimate event: the sudden diversion of meltwater from the Laurentide Ice Sheet into the North Atlantic, caused by an unproven collapse of one or more ice dams, by which the huge cooling of the Atlantic directly led to a major climate change. But, that hypothesis depends on two other hypotheses: (1) that the ice dams collapsed on such a scale as to trigger the event, and (2) the presupposed melting of the Laurentide Glacier had provided a big enough lake of meltwater. Both are needed to dump enough cold water fast enough to fuel the climate event.
In October 2007, the US National Academy of Science published in PNAS a paper by R. B. Firestone et al titled: “Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling.”
On January 2, 2009, Scientific American published a paper by David Biello titled: “Did a Comet Hit Earth 12,000 Years Ago?”
On March 27, 2018, Antonio Zamora published the YouTube video: “Younger Dryas Impact Quantification.”
On February 12, 2018 Chris on The Dabbler’s Den launched a series of 7 ten-minute videos which clearly knits together the new hypothesis.
3) The Impact
From now on, this will be my working hypothesis as to the trigger that started the avalanche.
And this will also provide the imagery that certainly riveted the attention and reshaped the mindset of folks in the Northern Hemisphere who witnessed (and survived) the start of the Younger Dryas. Their memories would have shaped, mutated and ultimately led to conceptions about the external forces in the heavenlies. They would have taught the distorted myths to their descendants through the following millennia. This no doubt caused their descendants to look up for the engines of their destiny.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke