Sunday, May 23, 2021

"Why Civilization Is Older Than We Thought"

It was either this or "I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels" and I realized that after the news that some of our mammalian relatives can breathe through their butts, thought that may be enough news from the nether regions stuff for this weekend.

Plus, I had just been reading about Göbekli Tepe in reference to Jericho and other places where people have been hanging out for millennia. 

From Palladium, May 17: 

The dry hills, brilliant sea, and neat rows of gated suburban communities made me wonder whether I had left San Francisco at all. Looking down on the suburbs of Istanbul that hug the Bosporus during my flight’s approach was unreal—not just because months of quarantine had put an end to the usual rhythm of work travel, but because the city’s rich history was invisible under the recent real estate developments.

Even Istanbul’s impressive new airport, with its tulip-shaped tower, felt more similar to SFO than the old Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Tulips might be the national flower of Turkey, but the sleek tower had been clearly designed in an international style, a style meant to impress international visitors and win Berlin architecture prizes in an era of global tourism. A style that, though it uses local motifs and materials, nevertheless makes you feel the same no matter where you are.

Still, as I disembarked my flight, I saw the whites and flowing curves as a show of a new kind of opulence. The new airport cost $12 billion to build, one of the many huge construction projects of Turkish strongman Erdogan’s new, powerful Turkey. Passing closed store after closed store, I spotted advertisements depicting another distinct shape: the T-shaped pillars of a site I had read so much about over the years, one that was unlike any other—Göbekli Tepe. Only a few years ago, this neolithic site, with the world’s oldest discovered buildings, was of obscure interest. Today, it is part of Turkey’s national tourism branding strategy. Modern development was hiding Istanbul’s rich history while highlighting deep Anatolia’s. The past becomes what we make of it.

Remaking the Past

Göbekli Tepe translates into English as “Potbelly Hill,” an apt description of the flat plateau where these ancient ruins were rediscovered in 1995. Observing the hills of Şanlıurfa Province in southeastern Turkey, they seemed arid and rugged, but not quite desert. The sunshine is interrupted by occasional storms, and the heat and nighttime cold so far inland are untempered by the distant Mediterranean Sea. Kurdish shepherds have long found the land hospitable enough for their flocks. After the ruins were discovered, some news outlets ran interviews with shepherds who claimed the site was traditionally considered a sacred or cursed site. But such stories are often confabulated in the aftermath of ancient discoveries.....

Sue Fleckney/Göbekli Tepe vulture stone, the world's first-known pictograph


Are those Gucci handbags in the pictograph?