Researchers who dare to propose that the development of human civilization started well before the established timeline of approximately 4,000 BC are used to the scorn of mainstream academics. However, as historical anomalies too big to ignore or cover up continue to surface some academics are learning that they don’t like the taste of their own medicine.
Mainstream academia teaches that proper civilizations and its associated sciences, like architecture, began with the birth of agriculture. Crops offered a sustainable source of food, hence ending the need to wander in search for sustenance. Population growth followed, and along with it specialized social strata and trades: artisans, farmers, soldiers and priests. Walls, temples and towers grew to dominate the landscape. Or at least, that’s what generations of students have been taught.
The so-called “Neolithic Revolution” – one part of which was the birth of agriculture – began sometime between 10 and 5,000 years ago. Population growth and subsequent global colonization was thought to have followed. However, a team of researchers from China’s Fudan University have concluded that the great human population boom, and with it the colonization of Asia, Europe and beyond, began well before the birth of agriculture; perhaps 5,000 years earlier.
Could what we deem “civilization” started thousands of years earlier than we are taught to believe? Historical anomalies like Gobekli Tepe challenge the established timeline, leaving some scientists delighted and others feeling threatened. thousands of years before the Neolithic Revolution and the birth of Sumer, Gobekli Tepe was supposedly built by pre-literate, wandering hunter gatherers without access to the tools and complex maths that would aid their descendents to build equally (and sometimes even less) complex structures of their own. It seems unlikely, at least to this writer. Even more controversial is the fact that later additions to Gobekli Tepe were less sophisticated than the original structure, suggesting a regression over time that could pose additional – perhaps uncomfortable to some – challenges to the way we view human history.
Ideally, science should be open-minded to possibility, welcoming challenges to theories as opportunities to add to the corpus of human knowledge. Practically, science isn’t pure: Egos, tenures and research grants hang in the balance, and controversy of any sort can lead to the derision of peers and loss of livelihood. The days of the “gentleman scientist” are over, and the pressures of capitalism exert more influence on the decisions of researchers than the pursuit of pure knowledge ever did.
Interested in alternative archaeology? Check these out:
The Egypt Code, Robert Bauval
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