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Tell Kosak Shamali 9,000-6,000 year old farming community

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posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 03:03 PM
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I have done a series of threads on the sites around Gobelki Tepe. GT is the one that gets most of the attention from the mainstream, alternative and fringe but the other sites give us a better understanding of what was happening in this region, at this critical point when man went from gathering and hunting to agricultural and herding.

The earlier threads take you from prior to the agricultural 'revolution', at its cusp and its results

Djade

Nevali Cori

Cayonu

Jerf el Ahmar

This is the fifth site, to be followed by three more; Mureybet, Cafer Hoyuk and Qaramel

Tell Kosak Shamali is a prehistoric site situated on the east bank of the Euphrates. It is a small mound located in the area to be submerged by construction of the Tishreen dam on the Upper Euphrates, north of the Tabqa dam. Since the early 1980s, a series of salvage archaeological operations by both Syrian and international teams has taken place in this dam flood zone producing a rich realm of information on the past human activities and their developments in this particular region of Syria. The excavations at Tell Kosak Shamali were carried out in this context by the University of Tokyo team between 1994 and 1997 with an emphasis on investigating cultural deposits of the Chalcolithic period. I was fortunte to visit this site in the summer of 1996, where I used up the 100 or so words of Japanese I knew and looked thru the site. German run site have a reputation of being orderly but this Japanese one put them to shame!


Location of this site in relation to the others





A more detailed look at where it is and an over head map of the site







The excavation of two areas revealed stratified settlements of the Neolithic to the Middle Uruk periods, dating from the 7th to the 4th milennium BC. The most important discovery was a series of pottery workshops of the Ubaid and Post-Ubaid periods. The detailed analysis of the workshops demonstrated the increasing social and economic complexity in these periods, which eventually led to the emergence of urban society in North Syria.


A close up of the ruins themselves





The main economy of the Ubaid inhabtants was based on farming. Barley and two species of wheat (emmer and einkorn) were cultivated in the large flood plain as well as in the hilly hinterland. Stock breeding of sheep and goat also made up an important part of daily life. They were mainly killed for meat when young, but notably after the late Ubaid period some females were kept for secondary products, probably milk. A small number of pigs and cattle were also raised. These domesticated food resourses were occasionally supplemented by wild animals including gazelles, water birds and fish.


The people made pottery, a great deal of pottery




The tool kits of the Ubaid people consisted of a pottery with fine painted decoration, harvesting and processing tools of grain, wood working axes, spindle whorls, awls and spatulas, and stamp seals for goods control. these tools were mostly made of locally available raw materials. the use of exotic materials, like obsidian from Anatolia, was relatively rare.


Pottery was important to these people and they probably traded it


Potter's workshops were discovered from many levels of the Ubaid period. One of the common features is that they overlapped traces of domestic activities in the same building complexes, such as ovens, infant burials and grain storage. this undifferentiated use of similar structures for different purposes may characterize the use of space in the Ubaid period, which is in clear contrast with that in later periods.



Pottery of the post-Ubaid period no longer included many painted vessels as in the Ubaid period, but most of them were simple plain wares. Firing was made with a higher temperature using the developed kilns. Pottery production tools also showed changes from the Ubaid period. Ring-shaped scrapers joined in the tool inventory, and stone palettes for pigment preparation, very common in the Ubaid period, virtually disappeared.




If you are a bad archaeologist you are sent to the sherd sortin' shed (I always hated that)



The site was burned down and this image shows some of the carbon left behind




The charcoal samples derived from building materials consisted of taxa typically encountered in the gallery forest of the Euphrates. Poplar, willow and alder were used for roof beams while tamarisk was used to cover the spaces between the beams.



Main site link




posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:43 PM
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I like reading these threads.

I have a few somewhat off-topic questions if you have time to answer:

(1) I read a book by a geologist who believes that metallurgy was discovered when ores were used to decorate pottery and separated during firing. Is that the standard belief?

(2) What did people use pottery for primarily? It seems like a basket or a leather sack might be a cheaper and lighter container than a clay jar. Were they only used for storing liquids?

(3) How many pots would each person use in a year on average?



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by cloudyday


(1) I read a book by a geologist who believes that metallurgy was discovered when ores were used to decorate pottery and separated during firing. Is that the standard belief?


I'm unsure of what the consensus is, I suspect there is no consensus do to the lack of any hard evidence. Some of the contenders are:

As you stated above

That rocks used around fires melted

Minerals used in cosmetic were melted in a number of way

Rocks used for kilns melted

I would suspect that raw gold and copper were first - put in the fire- to see what would happen




(2) What did people use pottery for primarily? It seems like a basket or a leather sack might be a cheaper and lighter container than a clay jar. Were they only used for storing liquids?


Cooking and storage, somewhere someplace some has probably written a thesis, paper or book on this subject. pottery made grain and water storage safe against insects-it also led to fermentation


(3) How many pots would each person use in a year on average?


Sorry don't have a clue on that one.....where is our Phd student when you need her? Byrd?

Off the top of my head - a lot, based on the coating of sherds I've seen in the Middle-East



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 09:56 PM
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reply to post by Hanslune
 


Thanks, I hadn't even thought of the advantages of clay pots for cooking.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 10:27 PM
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reply to post by Hanslune
 

Hans, does anyone have an idea why so many of these pre-agriculture settlement sites show signs of what appears to be deliberate, effortful destruction?


The site was burned down and this image shows some of the carbon left behind

This one, at least, was razed – a relatively common fate among human communities. But Djade was, we are told, filled in with mud, while Gobelki Tepe was inundated by rubble. Why?

Were they pulled down and buried by conquerors who wished to extirpate all traces of them?

Could it have been done by the former inhabitants themselves, for some bizarre (probably religious or magical) reason?

Or – here's a thought – could such destruction have been the response to an outbreak of plague? Remember, these were the earliest large settled communities, and epidemics must have been rife, novel and terrrifying.

And on a not-unrelated note, what is the earliest archaeological evidence of human warfare? (I perceive there is a problem of definition here, but I'll let you decide what we mean by 'warfare'.)

By the way, your threads are one of the reasons I keep coming back to this site.


edit on 5/3/12 by Astyanax because: of novelty and terror.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 10:34 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Ah one of my favorite subjects; when did man turn to war, you can sometimes tell that by adaptations to their weapons, weapons for hunting are not specifically useful for hunting humans, especially those in a defensive situation where they cannot be shot with an arrow or speared like an animal.

Development of body armour, especially shields and helmets

You can also tell by damage to the skeletons, both by weapon hits and also the long term damage from using weapons. Stuff like

Swordsmen elbow and shoulder

Thousands of micro fractures in the left arm of a right hand man using a shield

AFAWK specialization for war began about 5,000 BC however it should be pointed out that you can use normal hunting weapons to fight men and people used those types of weapons up until the present day

Study of hunter-gathers show that about 40% of the men die in raiding situations; this may have been the fate of a number of the sites - which probably led to villages, then to walls



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 11:11 PM
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Don't forget forest or grass fires..a common occurance if there is ground cover to support it
I often work in a place where the whole grounds keeping routine is based on fire prevention

Even with modern fire fighting gear the place could be lost so fast there is nothing that could be done



posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 09:37 AM
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reply to post by Danbones
 


Very true, I saw a Danish site swept by such a grass fire. Fortunately the excavated area was clear of anything burnable and they sheltered there until the fire, having burned the tents and scorched the vehicles, past on



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