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Architecture                 9,000 BC
Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
Other

Africa

 

Southwest Asia

Kent Flannery has noted that many contemporary African peoples live in compounds of circular huts and that most such societies share several characteristics: (1) only one or two people are usually housed in each hut; (2) many of the huts are not residential, but are used for storage, kitchens, stables, and the like; (3) huts are often placed in a circle around a cleared space; (4) food space is usually open one shared by all occupants; and (5) perhaps most important, the social organization of the typical compound, like that of hunting-gathering groups, usually consists of six to eight males, each assoicated with from one to three women and their respective children, and includes strong sexual division of labor. Flannery argues that settlements of adjacent rectangular buildings--which he calls villages--have advantages over settlements of circular buildings--which he calls compounds. The former are more easily enlarged because rooms can be added on, whereas increasing the number of circular residences rapidly increases the diameter of the settlement to an unwieldy size.(26)

Villages are also more defensible than compounds for a number of reasons. But the primary difference is in their respective capacities for intensification of production. In compounds, storage facilities are open and shared, and the basic economic unit is the group; but in villages the basic unit is the family, which maintains its own storage of supplies and thus has greater incentives for intensification of production--the seeds, in other words of private enterprise and the first steps toward capitalist economies. If Flannery is correct, the transition that occurred between 9000 BC and 7000 BC from compounds of circular structures to villages of rectangular rooms is a reflection of the changes in the social organization of the Greater Mesopotamian peoples, with the nuclear family gradually replacing the hunting-and-gathering group as the unit of economic production. And although the circular building tradition continued for several thousand years in parts of Southwest Asia, it was eventually entirely supplanted by rectangular-unit villages.(26)

...the Catal Huyuk culture appeared suddenly on the Konya plain amid a backdrop of very unstable climatic conditions. For example, there is good evidence to suggest that Anatolia was plunged into a mini ice age, c. 8850-8300 BC, following a relatively mild period after the recession of the last Ice Age proper, c. 9500-9000 BC. This glacial relapse would have brought with it intensely long periods of snow, ice and freezing conditions, which would have forced indigenous populations to seek refuge in cave shelters in an attempt to survive on a day-to-day basis. This was significant, for the Catal Huyuk folk's construction of its mostly sub-surface shrines and houses, all huddled together without exterior doors or windows, was clear evidence that they had evolved from a race that had once experienced a subterranean lifestyle...(149)

c. 9,500 - 9000 BC Geological and climatic upheavals accompany the cessation of the Ice Age, including severe volcanic activity and mass flooding; diaspora of Egypt's elder culture to Asia Minor and Kurdistan. Construction of underground cities in Cappadocia to escape the final excesses of the Ice Age. (149)

...Jericho is now known to be the oldest living city in the world, having been almost continuously occupied for the last 11,000 years. The original, small settlement had been constructed next to a perennial spring but around 10,000 years ago it suddenly developed into a town covering ten acres. (160)

Egypt

 

Indus Valley

 With its descriptions of flooded cities and lost lands, the Kumari Kandam myth 'predicts' that prehistoric ruins more than 10,000 years old should lie underwater at various depths and locations off the Tamil Nadu coast. The NIO's discovery of a large and apparently man-made structure at a depth of 23 metres off Poompuhur seems to confirm the accuracy of this prediction. (124)

China

 

Europe

 It is somewhere on this north-eastern extension, however - the very last part of antediluvian Malta to go beneath the sea - that the rumoured underwater 'temple' sighted off Sliema by Commander Scicluna and by the Arrigo brothers must be located. The implication of the inundation maps, therefore, is that this structure was submerged between 13,500 years ago and 10,600 years ago - a date that can probably be pinned down more narrowly to around 11,000 years ago…(124)

At the foot of Hasan Dag lay the ruins of a Neolithic village recently excavated by Turkish archaeologists from the Department of Prehistory of the University of Istanbul. The fifty-foot-high mound of Asikli sat on the north bank of the meandering Melendiz River at the place where it flowed through a narrow alluvial valley. The mound contained at least ten building levels. The walls from the deepest and oldest level penetrated could be viewed only through the gurgling water of the river in which it was submerged. These foundations date back to the centuries following the end of the Younger Dryas aridity. They had been flooded by the rising water table. (131)

The layout of Asikli's houses, courtyards, and roadways pointed to advanced urban planning. Masonry consisted of both mud bricks and meticulously hewn blocks of Hasan Dag's volcanic tuffs. Beneath the plastered floors of rooms were burial pits - one containing the complete skeleton of a woman in her twenties with her infant. The mother had survived a "trepanation" in which a flap in her skull had been opened years before her death in a surgical procedure presumably to relieve pain or swelling. Necklaces of beads, semiprecious stones, and hot-worked native copper adorned her body, which was interred in a fetal position with knees drawn to the chest. (131)

...these Neolithic sites were meticulously looked after by their ancient custodians. Thus, it is a perfectly reasonable suggestion to say that the layers of silt at the bottom of the Stonehenge and Avebury ditches do not mark the henge's construction era, but instead they mark the era of the site's abandonment. If this is so, then the C14 dates that have been so meticulously derived for Stonehenge, mark not the site's beginnings, but instead its eventual demise. A review was therefore begun into the radiometric data, including the three lonely samples from inside the Sarsen ring. Without much fanfare, the results of these modern radiocarbon dating tests were released. They also included some wood samples, which were found in some massive post holes, that lie underneath what is now the Stonehenge car park. These post holes were dated from 7,730 to 8,820 BC (approaching 11,000 years ago). (147)

South America

 

Mesoamerica

 

North America

From about 11,000 to 8,000 years ago, many of the Desert West peoples apparently organized their economies around the resources of lakes and marshes, while groups in more arid areas probably adopted a more generalized hunting-and-gathering strategy. Remains of pole-and-thatch huts have been found in some areas, but the size, location, and contents of most sites of this period suggest that for most of the year Desert West peoples lived in small bands and followed complex seasonal rounds, exploiting different resources as they became available.(26)

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