Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Obsidian assemblage of Mezraa Teleilat

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on April 10, 2015

Understanding the cultural and chronological transitions from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) to the Pottery Neolithic (PN), which date between 8,500 and 8,200 cal. BP, has been a problem in Near East archaeology.

Most Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites were either abandoned or were less intensely occupied towards end of the PPNB due to a number of reasons that archaeologists have puzzled over. Fortunately, recent archaeological discoveries in the Levant and northern Mesopotamia have provided invaluable data to help resolve some of these problems.

A few sites, such as Mezraa Teleilat, Akarçay Tepe, Tell Halula in Middle Euphrates Valley, Çayönüin Upper Tigris area, and ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan, among hundreds of Neolithic excavations in northern and southern Levant, provide convincing evidence for a continuous occupation from PPNB to PN.

Mezraa Teleilat in the Middle Euphrates Basin in southeastern Turkey is one of the most promising sites and has great potentialto illuminate the enigmatic PPNB-PN transition basedon its following attributes: chronologically continuousoccupation; large exposures with many buildings (ca. 5000 m2); careful excavation methods and recording carried out at the site; richness of flint and obsidian artifacts; proximity to raw material resources from the Euphrates and other varied ecological zones; and a gateway between the Levant, Mesopotamia, western Anatolia, Cyprus and, hence, access to the Neolithic groups that lived in these areas. All these qualities make Mezraa Teleilat’s flint and obsidian assemblages worthy of study.

This paper originates from a much broader perspective based on the author’s Ph.D. thesis, but it intends to describe a narrower artifact assemblage, namely the obsidian assemblage, found in LPPNB, Transitional, and Pottery Neolithic contexts.

The goal of this paper is to bring attention to the Neolithic obsidian assemblages of Mezraa Teleilat, which have only recently been investigated and, hence, are not well known in the broader scholarly community.

Obsidian assemblage of Mezraa Teleilat

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