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Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five rooms, write archaeologists Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko in a copy of a presentation they gave recently at the European Association of Archaeologists' annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
Inside the temple, archaeologists found the remains of eight clay platforms, which may have been used as altars, the finds suggested. A platform on the upper floor contains "numerous burnt bones of lamb, associated with sacrifice," write Burdo and Videiko, of the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The floors and walls of all five rooms on the upper floor were "decorated by red paint, which created [a] ceremonial atmosphere.
The ground floor contains seven additional platforms and a courtyard riddled with animal bones and pottery fragments, the researchers found.
At the time the prehistoric settlement near Nebelivka flourished other early urban centers were being developed in the Middle East. And the newly discovered prehistoric temple is similar, in some ways, to temples from the fifth to fourth millennia B.C. that were built in ancient Middle East cities, such as those in Anatolia and Mesopotamia, Burdo and Videiko note.
For example a 6,000-year-old temple at the ancient city of Eridu, in modern-day Iraq, also had a floor partitioned into smaller rooms, they note.
Most archeologists think that Gimbutas' interpretation goes far beyond the tentative conclusions that can be drawn from her data. Ian Hodder, a Cambridge University archeologist whose field of expertise overlaps Gimbutas', calls her work "extremely important" because it provides a "coherent and wide-ranging review of the evidence," but he rejects her interpretations of symbols. "She looks at a squiggle on a pot and says it's a primeval egg or a snake, or she looks at female figurines and says they're mother goddesses. I don't really think there's an awful lot of evidence to support that level of interpretation." Alan McPherron, an anthropology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, buttresses Hodder's view. McPherron says that after he published a book describing a dig he led in Yugoslavia, Gimbutas designated one of the excavated structures a temple, even though it was distinguished from surrounding houses only by its slightly greater size. "In my opinion, it's no more a temple than I am a monkey," McPherron says. Many archeologists believe that one reason Gimbutas has caught laymen's attention is that she habitually presents debatable assertions as fact. Ruth Tringham, an archeologist at UC Berkeley, says the evidence from early societies is far too murky to allow such definitive statements. "I would never write, 'This is the obvious conclusion'--there is nothing obvious about what we write. Whatever we write is always, 'It could be this, it could be that.' Our problem is that the public isn't attracted by that kind of ambiguous thinking. Since Gimbutas often omits the logical steps by which she arrives at her conclusions, Tringham says she has no way to judge the validity of the conclusions, and therefore can't accept them. Tringham is unconvinced, for example, that Gimbutas' figurines represent goddesses, or that neolithic cultures were dominated by women.
originally posted by: rickymouse
They don't actually have to be sacrifice tables, they could be places where they processed meat. Some could be for the buffet too. People lined up to go through the church feast with plates and a mug for the wine.
It seems like people always want to stick the word sacrifice on everything without questioning what could have been happening. This is consensus but there were some instances of sacrifice. A thousand years from now are they going to call our slaughterhouses Sacrificial holy sites? Some have smokehouses built with them to smoke hams. The bones go into a big semi though. Two thousand years ago, the bones were hammered into powder and used for various reasons.
I agree - it sounds more like a prehistoric outdoor restaurant. Since they didn't have air conditioning or extractor fans, the only place the chefs could work would be upstairs. There would have been a ramp for the waiters to bring food down and dirty plates could be washed at the back of lower level where they would be taken upstairs to dry in the sun.
Archaeologists always use "ritual purposes" or "religious purposes" as a marker for "we don't really know". Buildings are either constructed for housing, religion, government or trade.