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Architecture                  4,000 BC
Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
Other

Africa

 

Southwest Asia

 The residential architecture of Tell as-Sawwan contrasts somewhat with that of other settlements of the period, consisting mainly of huts with stone foundations and the more common rectangular clay structures, although there is still little variability in building size or apparent construction cost. The residential architecture of Uruk reflects a diversity of occupational, economic and social classes. All the buildings were mud brick, but some were larger, better built, an more elaborately decorated. Many of the people lived in small rectangular buildings along narrow winding streets through which ran both above- and below-ground drainage canals. Apparently, houses were one story high for the poor (and two stories tall for the wealthier, but both types were similar. Built of mud brick and whitewashed, they represent an ideal architectural adaptation to the climate. (46)

During the late Neolithic era, circa 5000 BC to 4500 BC, the tribes of the Nile Valley were living in semi-subterranean oval houses, roofed with mud and sticks. ...and, by 3500 BC, began to construct megalithic monuments in strategic places around their local landscapes. (68)

The cities, a dozen in all, were carefully planned. The initial task was to build an elevated mound for each to protect it from floods. Then buildings were constructed using standardized bricks made of clay that had been reinforced with chopped reeds and straw, set in molds, and baked in kilns. Typical houses were either one or two stories high, sturdy, and built close together, with narrow lanes running between rows of these structures. (68)

They used naturally occurring petroleum products such as the bitumen and asphalt that bubbled to the surface of the earth in that area. They discovered--or were shown--that these materials could also be used to seal and caulk cracks and to build roads. (68)

An important development, full of meaning and promise for the history of mankind in civilizations to come, took place in the latter part of this same period (c. 4000 BC) when certain of the peasant villages began to assume the size and function of market towns and there was an expansion of the culture area southward onto the mud flats of riverine Mesopotamia. This is the period in which the mysterious race of Sumerians first appears on the scene, to establish on the torrid Tigris and Euphrates delta flats sites that were to become presently the kingly cities of Ur, Kish, Lagash, Eridu, Sippar, Shuruppak, Nippur, and Erech. ...the mud could be fashioned into sun­dried bricks, which now appear for the first time in history, and these could be used for the construction of temples - which likewise now appear for the first time in the history of the world. Their typical form is well known; it was that of the ziggurat in its earliest stages - a little height, artificially constructed, with a sanctuary on its summit for the ritual of the world-generating union of the earth­goddess with the lord of the sky. And if we may judge from the evidence of the following centuries, the queen or princess of each city was in those earliest days identified with the goddess, and the king, her spouse, with the god. (128)


Reconstruction of three temples at Tepe Gawra Mesopotamia, Fourth millenium BC. (135)

reconstruction of a temple at Eridu, Mesopotamia. fourth millenium BC. (135)

Egypt

The Predynastic people of Hierakonpolis lived in rectangular, semi-subterranean houses of mudbrick and thatch, they apparently worshipped in small, perhaps wooden shrines, they made and distributed regionally several kinds of pottery, some of it very beautiful. (47)

In 1973, while traveling through the Western Desert from Bir Sahara east to Abul Simbel, archaeologists Fred Wendorf and Romauld Schild decided to stop for a rest. A hundred kilometers west of the Nile Valley, they discovered a large ancient lake basin with hundreds of Stone Age camps. Among the finds were grave mounds that included offerings of butchered cattle, goats, and sheep, as well as groups of megalithic structures and alignments of upright stones. Six groups of stones, extending across the ancient basin, contained a total of twenty-four megaliths. Like the spokes on a wheel, each alignment radiates outward from a unique, complex structure. Astonishingly, these megaliths span twenty-five hundred meters in a north-south direction. In the north, there are ten preserved burial mounds made from broken sandstone blocks along the west bank of a shallow wadi. This northern group of megaliths ends in a small stone circle atop a rounded hill. This stone circle has been identified as a calendar. It contains two lines of stone sights consisting of pairs of narrow, upright slabs positioned to the north where the sun rose at the summer solstice, which was the beginning of the rainy season six thousand years ago. According to Wendorf and Schild, this astronomical date--the summer solstice, 4000 BC--corresponds to the time the device was last used. The dates and archaeological artifacts attributed to the site indicate that the Ru'at El Baqar people, Stone Age cattle herders who lived in the region seven thousand years ago, erected the Valley of Sacrifices burial mounds. In Africa, it is the earliest known ceremonial center that marks the beginning of complex societies. South of the valley there is a low, elongated hill with two smaller parallel rises. On the northernmost hill, a six-hundred-meter alignment of once upright sandstone megaliths, some of which weighed several tons, now appears as a cluster of broken rocks. University of Colorado astronomy professor John McKim Malville established that the line of megaliths was actually composed of three sublines aimed at the point where the brightest star of the Big Dipper, Ursa Majoris, rose between 6,700 and 6,000 years ago. In the area south of the first line, several other lines of upright stones have been recognized and mapped. The first is a 250-meter-long double alignment of stone blocks aiming at the point where the brightest stars in Orion's belt rose between 6,170 and 5,800 years ago. The second line of stones is slightly shorter and stands a bit farther away from the other two. It points to the position of Sirius, Canis Majoris, 6,800 years ago. (70)

...the most important innovation of this period was the development of architecture. Several clay models of homes, discovered in graves, resemble the rectangular clay-brick houses of the Old Kingdom. It seems the idea of individual dwellings, towns, and perhaps urban planning started around 4500 BC. (70)

With funding from the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Lehner collected fifteen samples of ancient mortar from the masonry of the Great Pyramid. These samples of mortar were chosen because they contained fragments of organic material which, unlike natural stone, would be susceptible to carbon-dating. The outcome was surprising. As Mark Lehner commented at the time: The dates run from 3801) BC to 2869 BC. So generally the dates are significantly earlier than the best Egyptological date for Khufu...In short, the radiocarbon dates, depending on which sample you note, suggest that the Egyptological chronology is anything from 200 to 1200 years off. You can look at this almost like a bell curve, and when you cut it down the middle you can summarize the results by saying our dates are 400 to 450 years too early for the Old Kingdom Pyramids, especially those of the Fourth Dynasty ... Now this is really radical...I mean it'll make a big stink. The Giza pyramid is 400 years older than Egyptologists believe. (134)

As for human activities, the early decline in rainfall in the eastern Sahara may have led to the oldest-known astronomical alignment of megaliths in the world. Consisting of a set of huge stone slabs in the desert of southern Egypt, known as Nabta, it forms a stone circle, a series of flat, tomb-like stone structures and five lines of standing and toppled megaliths, and is dated at around 6.5 to 6 kya. The stone slabs, some of which are 3m high, were dragged more than a kilometre to the site. They lie on the shoreline of an ancient lake, which was used by nomads for grazing their cattle during the summer rainy season. To judge from carbon dating of charcoal and ostrich shells, occupation may have started as early as 12 kya. Nomads used the area until about 5.6 kya, at which time it became hyperarid and uninhabitable. Nabta is close to the Tropic of Cancer, and so the noon sun is vertically overhead around the summer solstice. The vertical sighting stones in the circle form a calender system, when combined with an east-west alignment between one megalithic structure and two stone megaliths over a kilometre distant, and two other geometric lines involving about a dozen additional stone monuments that lead both northeast and southeast from the same megalith. Other Nabta features, which subsequently appear suddenly and without evident local antecedents in the late Predynastic and early Old Kingdom in the Nile Valley, are...the use of astronomical knowledge and devices to predict solar events. Many of these had been well developed for a long time at Nabta. (145)

The Amratian peoples lived c. 4000-3500 BC and are significant in that they were the first people to introduce the use of totemic imagery on pottery. Their graves were also notable in that they lined them with mud walls. (149)

Indus Valley

 ...we are justified in seeing in the Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro and in its roomy and serviceable houses, with their bathrooms and elaborate systems of drainage, evidence that the ordinary townspeople enjoyed here a degree of comfort and luxury unexampled in other parts of the then civilised world. (135)

The roots of the Indus civilization are revealed in a series of archaeological sites located to the west. For example, the site of Mehrgarh is located along the course of the Bolan River as it exits the foothills of the mountainous region called Baluchistan. in Baluchistan after 6000 B.P. Mudigak, is located on a well-known historical trade route between the Near East and south Asia that apparently was first established at this time. Mundigak was surrounded by enormous defensive walls interrupted with bastions. These walls had a practical purpose; the village was twice destroyed and twice rebuilt during its occupation. All of these Neolithic sites west of the Indus provide us with a glimpse of the earliest stages of development of the Indus Valley civilization. They all exhibit a reliance on a diverse agricultural base of crops and animals. They show a notable dependence on trade with points as distant as the Arabian Sea and central Asia. They share an architectural form of substantial and planned-out mud-brick houses. And they show a shift through time from the uplands of Baluchistan to the floodplain of the Indus itself. This shift is clearly seen in the archaeological record by about 5500 B.P. This shift to the floodplain was the key to the development of civilization in this part of the world. It was made possible by the development of technology for flood control and protection, including the construction of artificial mounds, on which at least a portion of the settlements were built, as well as monumental walls around entire villages for protection from enemies and floodwaters. In this way, villages were protected from the periodic rampages of the Indus by being built, in part, above the floodwaters and by being surrounded by walls higher than those same floodwaters. Dams were built to impound and direct floodwater to storage areas for use in the dry summers that followed wet springs. Also, large tanks or cisterns were constructed to store rainwater for use in the dry season. The degree of planning that went into Indus Valley urban sites is unmatched among the earliest civilizations. Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, and Kalibangan follow virtually identical plans. There is...an "essential unity" to the organization of life in the Indus civilization. In these three cases, a citadel was built up on a platform of mud-brick on the western margin of the city. The citadel was surrounded by large public buildings, including bathhouses and granaries, and this "upper city" was encompassed by a monumental wall. In each of these three cases, the vast expanse of the city - the residential area where tens of thousands of people lived - was spread out to the east of the citadel. The lower city likewise was surrounded by a great wall. In all three cases, it is clear that the cities did not grow simply by accretion, blocks of residences added haphazardly as they were needed in response to population growth. Instead, these cities reflect a pattern of forethought in their construction, with broad main thoroughfares separated by secondary streets, which were, in turn, separated by narrow passageways leading to individual residences. Most of the roads were laid out in an often precise grid of parallel and perpendicular pathways. The alignment of the roads is precisely along the cardinal directions, which likely were determined astronomically.The houses themselves were made of mud-bricks that are so regularly and consistently proportioned (most bricks are made in proportions of 2.75 X 5.5 X 11 in.), it is clear that brick makers, like their modern counterparts in brickyards, adhered to established size and form standards. Altogether, the Indus civilizations appear to have been highly centralized and tightly controlled, from the layout of their cities, the shapes of their bricks, and even the organization of their economy, including standardized weights and measures found in excavations at Indus cities. ...more than 4,000 years ago, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley were part of an international trading system. There simply is no evidence that organized warfare or armies or the fear of attack played any role in the development of civilization in the Indus Valley. (170)

China

 By about 4,000 BC there were scores of villages in north China, which usually contained about two or three hundred inhabitants, who lived in wattle-and-daub houses that looked very much like the circular houses and compounds marking the evolution of agricultural communities in Southeast Asia some 3,000 years ealier.(27)

In a real sense, the first ancestors of the civilization we know imprecisely as “China” were probably the sturdy peasants of the Yangshao period (radiocarbon-dated to c. 5100-3900 BC), who lived in villages like Bampo. Wearing rough clothes made of hemp, bunkered down in houses with floors dug several feet below ground to shield themselves from winter snows and summer heat, the people of Bampo followed the familiar agricultural cycle of China. (49)

This reconstruction of a Neolithic house at Bampo illustrates how early Chinese farmers protected themselves against the harsh north China winters by living in pit-houses. (49)

Europe

 …south of Xaghra - itself the site of a huge semi-subterranean stone circle - is the necromancer's castle, the 'Giant's Tower' of Gigantija, the greatest and the oldest of the megalithic temples of the Maltese archipelago, reckoned to have been built around 3600 BC. Looking down on it from above, I am struck not only by its enormous size but also by the way in which it faithfully and exactly reproduces what may be thought of as the 'canon' of all the Maltese megalithic temples - an outer retaining wall of cyclopean blocks, some up to 5 metres high and many in the range of 15 tonnes or more, set out in a series of expansive, graceful curves to enclose an irregular space that feels more organic than architectural. This inner space contains a series of altars, shrines and large apsidal rooms interconnected by axial passageways, all of which are also lined with huge megaliths of mixed coralline and globigerina limestone. The facade [of Gigantija] perhaps the earliest architecturally conceived exterior in the world, is memorably imposing. Large slabs of coralline limestone, set alternatively end-on and sideways on, rise to a height of eight metres; these slabs are up to four metres high for the first course, and above this six courses of megalithic blocks still survive. A small temple model of the period suggests that originally the facade may have been as high as 16 metres. (124)

Since all archaeologists accept that the construction of the labyrinth [in Malta] began significantly earlier than 3000 BC, perhaps as early as 3600 BC (and since it even contained pottery of the Zebbug phase prior to 4000 BC), its 'primary' purpose can hardly have been to receive human remains that were not deposited in it until around 2200 BC (whether or not one accepts that they were deposited there by flood). It must, therefore, have had some other quite distinct function at the time of its origin - a function that scholars may hitherto not have guessed, since no serious attempt has ever been made to investigate alternatives to the burial scenario. (124)

Mnajdra is not one temple but a complex of three. Of these the easternmost, with three delicate apses disposed as a clover leaf, is the smallest and is believed to be the oldest - about 3600 BC, the same period as Gigantija. Archaeologists think that the westernmost, 'lower' temple was built next, around 3400 BC. Finally, at around 3200 BC, the middle - or 'upper' - temple was squashed in between its elder predecessors. …the lower temple is particularly imposing, with several courses of cyclopean masonry still intact on top of enormous dressed boulders at ground level. (124)

The dates of the Skorba phase are 4500-41OO BC and there is no doubt that the architecture does get bigger and more impressive during these 400 years. The irregularity of the floors and the unleveled surface of the bedrock argue against domestic use, and the group of figurines...from the northern room also suggest that this building had a religious function, a true predecessor, then, of the temples which appeared some centuries later. The main difference in construction was that the upper walls had been built in mud-brick shaped from Maltese blue clay. The next phase of Maltese prehistory is named Zebbug - as usual after the type site - and is dated from 4100 to 3800 BC. Archaeologists classify this phase as being within the 'Temple period' since it occupied that last five centuries before the construction of the first megalithic temples - during which time, it is assumed, Maltese society must have been gearing itself up in various ways for the colossal effort that lay ahead. The evidence for this gearing-up process is, however, not overwhelming. The Zebbug phase produced no megalithic architecture and no rock-hewn temples, but is identified by stylistic changes in pottery and distinguished by what are thought to be the first rock-hewn tombs in Malta - a group of five rather unimpressive dish-shaped depressions…(124)

And then suddenly, around 3600 BC, the fireworks start to fly with the Gigantija phase (3600-3000 BC). Here, as we know, the type site is not a pottery heap, a mud-brick wall, or a few rock-cut tombs, but Gigantija herself - the 'tower of the giants' - literally the mother of all temples if the orthodox chronology is correct, built with megaliths that are consistently amongst the biggest ever used in Malta. How are we to explain such a sudden and dramatic leap forward as the appearance in the Gigantija phase not only of the 'blueprint' for the archetypal Maltese megalithic temple - to which, with adaptations and refinements, all later temples adhere - but also, at the same instant, the complete suite of organizational and technical abilities necessary to build such temples when, we are told, none had ever been built before? I am not an archaeologist, but after reviewing what archaeology has found out about the 1600 years between the supposed date of first settlement and the beginning of temple-building at Gigantija - 5200 BC down to 3600 BC - I personally see no convincing evidence of any build-up of skills 'slowly, over time' that would have been relevant to the construction of the megalithic temples. (124)

Carbon dating has been applied to the megalithic monuments in western Europe with the following results: Carnac, in Brittany, 3880 BC±300 years; the passage grave in the Sept-Iles archipelago has given carbon dates between 3500 and 3000 BC. The people who built them according to the same authors, came by sea from the east Mediterranean to Iberia and later spread out from there to England, Ireland, Scotland, the Orkneys and Scandinavia. It is suggested that they were prospectors and copper-miners. Clearly they were sea-people for their passage graves are everywhere close to the water. (135)

3600 BC House built at Knap of Howar (160)

South America

 On their state visit to Earth circa 4000 BC, Anu and Antu visited the post-Diluvial gold land on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The visit served as an opportunity to begin reducing the number of Nibiruans on Earth; it also approved peace arrangements between the rival half-brothers and their warring clans. But while Enki and Enlil accepted the territorial divisions, Enki's son Marduk never gave up the strife for supremacy that included control of the olden space-related sites. It was then that the Enlilites began to prepare alternative spaceport facilities in South America. When the post­Diluvial spaceport in the Sinai was wiped out with nuclear weapons in 2024 BC, the facilities in South America were the only ones left entirely in Enlilite hands. (137)

...the place--now called Puma­Punku--is a short distance from a shrunken Lake Titicaca (shared by Peru and Bolivia), but was then situated on the lake's southern shore, with harbor facilities. Its main remains consist of a row of four collapsed structures, each made of a single hollowed-out giant boulder. Each such hollowed-out set of chambers was completely inlaid inside with gold plates, held in place by gold nails... The archaeological finds in the place included a large number of unusual stone blocks that were precisely cut, grooved, angled, and shaped; some of them are shown above. One does not need an engineering degree to realize that these stones were cut, drilled, and shaped by someone with incredible technological ability and sophisticated equipment; indeed, one would doubt whether stones could be so shaped nowadays. The puzzle is compounded by the mystery of what purpose did these technological miracles serve; obviously, for some unknown yet highly sophisticated purpose. If it was to serve as casting dies for complex instruments, what--and whose­-were those instruments? (137)


The Gate of the Sun is so positioned that it forms an astronomical observation unit with the third prominent structure at Tiwanaku, called the Kalasasaya. It is a large rectangular structure with a sunken central courtyard and is surrounded by standing stone pillars. ...the Kalasasaya's orientation unquestionably matched the Earth's obliquity either in 10,000 BC or 4000 BC. Archaeological, geological, and mineralogical research at the site and in the area confirmed that Tiwanaku also served as a metallurgical center Based on various finds and the images on the Gate of the Sun and their similarity to depictions in ancient Hittite sites in Turkey I have suggested that the gold (and tin!) obtainment operations there were supervised by Ishkur/Adad, Enlil's youngest son. His domain in the Old World was Anatolia, where he was worshipped by the Hittites as Teshub, the "weather god" whose symbol was the lightning rod; such a huge symbol, enigmatically carved on a steep mountainside (above), can be seen from the air or from out in the ocean in the Bay of Paracas, Peru, a natural harbor downhill from Tiwanaku. Nicknamed the Candelabra, the symbol is 420 feet long and 240 feet wide, and its lines, which are 5 to 15 feet wide, have been etched into the hard rocks to a depth of about 2 feet...(137)

To the north of the bay, inland in the desert between the Ingenio and Nazca rivers, explorers have found one of the most puzzling riddles of antiquity, the so-called Nazca Lines. Called by some "the world's largest artworks," a vast area (some 200 square miles!) that extends eastward from the pampa (flat desert) to the rugged mountains was used by "someone" as a canvas to draw on it scores of images; the drawings are so huge that they make no sense at ground level--but when viewed from the air, clearly represent known and imaginary animals and birds (above). The drawings were made by removing the topsoil to a depth of several inches, and were executed with a unicursal line--a continuous line that curves and twists without crossing over itself. (137)

Directly relevant to the subject of the Departure, however, is another even more puzzling feature of the Nazca Lines-- actual "lines" that look like wide runways. Straight without fault, these fiat stretches--sometimes narrow, sometimes wide, sometimes short, sometimes long­- run straight over hills and vales, no matter the shape of the terrain. There are some 740 straight "lines," sometimes combined with triangular "trapezoids." They frequently criss-cross each other without rhyme or reason, sometimes running over the animal drawings, revealing that the lines were made at different times. Though the wider lines look like airport runways, on which wheeled aircraft roll to take off (or to land), this is not the case here, if only because the "lines" are not horizontally level--they run straight over uneven terrain, ignoring hills, ravines, and gullies. Indeed, rather than being there to enable takeoff, they appear to be the result of takeoffs by craft taking off and leaving on the ground below "lines" created by their engine's exhaust. (137)

In the 1930s, Rolf Muller, professor of Astronomy at the University of Potsdam, found convincing evidence to suggest that the most important features of Machu Picchu possessed significant astronomical alignments. From these, through the use of detailed mathematical computations concerning star positions in the sky in previous millennia (which gradually alter down the epochs as the result of a phenomenon known as precession of the equinoxes), Muller concluded that the original layout of the site could only have been accomplished during 'the era of 4000 BC to 2000 BC. (152)

Mesoamerica

 

North America

 The Koster site, in the Illinois River Valley, was first occupied at about 7,500 BC, and people lived at this site many times, at least until about 2,500 BC. These people slowly improved their technologies, adding new varieties of stone tools, more permanent forms of housing made of clay, poles, and thatch, rare implements of copper for which they traded with neighboring groups, and various other tools.(26)

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