2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Judging by many indirect data, a large meteorite probably fell to the Earth about 13 thousand years ago. This coincided with the onset of the Little Ice Age, and may have been the cause. Since by this time people of the modern type have already settled throughout the globe (including in America), it would be tempting to assume that some of them have witnessed a giant planetary catastrophe. The other day, Scottish archaeologists said that they allegedly managed to find confirmation of this hypothesis. The work caused a real stir in the English-language media. For example, New Scientist titled its publication simply and unambiguously: "The fall of the comet that caused the Little Ice Age to the Earth was depicted on ancient reliefs." Let's try to figure out whether this is really so and what such loud statements mean.
The Göbekli Tepe temple complex is the oldest large megalithic structure in the world. It is 6,000 years older than the famous Stonehenge. In the oldest layer of the complex, which is considered in the article, in the 60s, three-meter monolithic columns were discovered, connected by walls of raw stone in a round-shaped building. The oldest buildings of this layer date back to the 11th millennium BC.
The original article titled "Archaeoastronomic Transcript of Göbekli Tepe: What Does the Fox Say?" published in Mediterranean Archeology and Archeometry. Archaeologists from the University of Edinburgh have suggested that some of the drawings on the columns allegorically depict the position of celestial bodies around the 11th millennium BC. According to scientists, the ancient temple served as an observatory, where observations of the stars were carried out, and one of the columns was dedicated to the disaster of the late Dryas, caused by the collision of a celestial body with the Earth around 10 890 BC.
So far, the hypothesis of a celestial body falling to Earth about 13 thousand years ago has not been proven, although there are a number of geological arguments based on the anomalous composition of soils in synchronous layers, and archaeological arguments based on a sharp change in the industry of producing stone tools, in its favor. Scottish archaeologists believe that this work will be a full complement to this series, but there are several questions about the premises and conclusions of their study.
Scientists have built their hypothesis on the fact that the image of the scorpion on the column No. 43 from Göbekli Tepe, as in the Greek tradition, denotes the constellation scorpius (scorpius). As a working hypothesis, this is quite acceptable if, for example, we assume that many mythological texts could not have survived to this day directly, but be reflected in the mythology of neighbors. The assumption that all animal figures (waterfowl, wolf, eagle, frog, goat, wild boar, rat, lion and fox) around the scorpion also denote constellations seems much less reasonable, although there are no obvious prerequisites for this.
Column No. 43 from Gebekli Tepe
The authors explained their interpretation by the fact that some constellations of the northern hemisphere easily fit into the contours of the animals knocked out on the column. The problem is that schematic representations of constellations fit too easily into very different shapes if desired. This is similar to the quasi-scientific statement that the parrots depicted in reliefs in Mesoamerica are elephants, because they look like elephants in depictions in Asia; however, there is no additional evidence that the artist could have known about the existence of elephants. Or as a statement that the wavy line on the ceramics of a thousand years ago symbolizes water in all cultures, because modern European children depict it that way.
Fortunately, it has long been known that complex global universals do not exist, and even, at first glance, the most obvious images traditionally mean different things on different continents. For example, most people in the world see the constellation Ursa Major as a cart or a herd of deer, and not at all as a bucket that Europeans are used to.
But the strangest assumption of this work seems to be that archaeologists interpret the relief of a man without a head as a symbolic depiction of the mass death of people in a catastrophe on a planetary scale, confirming this statement with the adjacent image of a snake, which, in their opinion, is an obvious symbol of death and confirmation of a meteorite fall: Moreover, the snake motif is a good symbolic depiction of a meteor trail. " And the indentations on the column, according to the authors of the work, are "an image of a comet eclipsing the Sun, Moon and stars." Considering that in many parts of the world the serpent symbolizes fertility, it is at least unfounded to say that the serpent is a symbol of death, without any additional evidence. It is surprising that the Edinburgh researchers did not study the contents of the other zoomorphic images located in the complex.
Image of a man without a head
The chronological scale used by the authors also makes one wonder. They refer to an alternative dating of Göbekli Tepe, made by Andrew Collins, with which most of the world scientific community disagrees.
In the blog of a research group that has been studying the history of this monument since 1994, this article was not passed over in silence. A team of archaeologists led by Klaus Schmidt published a note on their blog page where they criticized their Scottish colleagues. First of all, they write, there is a high probability that the most ancient structures of Göbekli Tepe were underground, perhaps even covered with roof structures, which would limit their use as observatories. Further, they pose the question of whether the prehistoric hunter really organized the stars into the same constellations that we are used to seeing today (most of them go back to the Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek traditions of describing the starry sky). They also add that, contrary to what is written in the article, the columns with reliefs found in Göbekli Tepe are not shrouded in mystery. Over the past decades, an extensive scientific literature has been published on this issue, which, unfortunately, did not make it into the study. For example, animals depicted on various columns have specific intracultural meanings that are not revealed in this interpretation. According to Klaus Schmidt, the authors show the neglect of classical works in their interpretation of the meaning of the bas-relief of a man without a head. "Unfortunately, the authors of the article do not explain in any way the emphatically erect phallus, which in the regional tradition symbolizes fertility and vitality rather than the absence of life."