In the history boys Alan Bennett defines history as “one ******* thing after another”
I suppose that is one of the interesting differences between archaeology and history –archaeology reveals evidence of the past that changes and challenges the ‘assumed’ sequence of those ‘things’ that were thought to follow on from one another.
I was able to visit Göbekli Tepe in South East Turkey last week (with my site conservation hat on). Göbekli Tepe is one of those archaeological sites that challenges the assumed sequence of ‘things’. The archaeology at Göbekli Tepe reveals monumental architecture being built before the first permanent villages, and before the domestication of plants, about 11,600 years ago. Until Göbekli Tepe was discovered in the mid 1990s, archaeologists had assumed that these ‘things’ occurred the other way round (with the Neolithic revolution characterised by permanent settlement, domestication of plants and animals and then monumental architecture).
Göbekli Tepe is an amazing site with its famous t-shaped pillars (up to 5.5m in height) revealed through excavation, each of these is decorated with stylised animal motifs, these are enclosed with low supporting walls made of local limestone, and bonded with a thick mud mortar. The evidence of the building technologies currently being excavated at Göbekli Tepe shine a fascinating light on the sequence of ‘things’ and certainly challenge the current ‘known knowns.’ No doubt more is to follow …
More information and fantastic photography of Göbekli Tepe via this National Geographic article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/gobekli-tepe/mann-text