First Civilizations
How Art Made the World, "Episode 4: Once Upon a Time" (2006)













Dancing Hunger at Catal Huyuk
Volcano mural Catal Huyuk
Dancing Hunter at Çatalhöyük,
ca. 6000 - 5500 BCE.
View of Town and Volcano, Wall painting, Shrine VII.14, Çatalhöyük, ca. 6000 BCE.











Volcano Mural at Catal Huyuk

Landscape with volcanic eruption(?), recreation of a wall painting from level VII,
Çatalhöyük, c. 6150 BCE.











Map of Neolithic Sites











Gobekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe
(pronounced Guh-behk-LEE TEH-peh)
  • Göbekli Tepe has over turned many of our theories on the neolithic "revolution"
  • Original site was constructed without metal tools, wheels, or animal labor
  • Göbekli Tepe was built by hunter gatherers who did not make or use pottery
  • This site appears to have been used strictly for ceremonial rather than domestic purposes
Göbekli Tepe, c. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE.











Göbekli Tepe excavation site
Researchers once believed that climate change permitted the development of farming, and that argiculture was the spark that suddenly prompted humans to create settlements, then writing, civilization, and finally, religion.
Göbekli Tepe suggests that spiritual sustenance was what drove early humans to live in larger groups, develop agriculture, domesticate animals, establish permanent dwellings, and finally civilizations.
Göbekli Tepe, c. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE.











Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe limestone pillar, c. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE.
Göbekli Tepe limestone pillar, c. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE.











Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe limestone pillar,
c. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE.
Aerial view of Göbekli Tepe T-shaped pillars with cup marks on top,
c. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE.










Megalithic Monuments


French menhir
menhirs = simplest megalithic form, unpright slabs that served as grave markers
Kerloas Menhir, France, ca. 6500 BCE. Height 33 feet.











German dolmen
dolmens = tombs resembling "houses of the dead," the walls are upright stones and the roof is a single giant slab
Lancken-Granitz dolmen, Germany, neolithic period.











Welsh Cromlech
cromlechs = a circle of large upright stones, or Dolmens
Din Ligwy Cromlech, Anglessey, Wales, ca. 5000 BCE.











Skara Brae

Aerial view of Skara Brae site, Orkney Islands, Scotland, ca. 3100 - 2600 BCE.











Skara Brae

Skara Brae dwelling interior, Orkney Islands, Scotland, ca. 3100 - 2600 BCE.











Skara Brae

corbeling = rows or layers of stone laid with the end of each row projecting beyond the row beneath, progressing until layers almost meet and can be capped with a stone that rests on both layers










Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain (Wiltshire), England, ca. 2550 - 1600 BCE. Diameter of circle 97'.











post-and-lintel = architectural system of construcion with two or more vertical elements (posts) supporting a horizontal element (lintel)
Stonehenge, cromlech, ca. 2550 - 1600 BCE.












Stonehenge (aerial view), Salisbury Plain (Wiltshire), England, ca. 2550 - 1600 BCE.











Original arrangement of stones and buildign phases at Stonehenge
Building phases of Stonenenge
  • First phase = henge, nearly continuous circle dug into chalk ground ca. 3500 to 2900 BCE
  • Second phase = silted ditch and avenue to the Avon River
    • Ditch = 3300 to 2140 BCE
    • Avenue = 2580 to 1890 BCE
  • Third phase = sarsen (sandstone) circle
  • Evenly spaced trilithons = 2850 to 2200 BCE
    • Each consisting of two posts and a lintel
    • Stone slabs dragged from Marlborough Downs, 20 miles away
  • Fourth phase = altar stone, later stones, outer pit rings 2030 to 1520 BCE
  • Stonehenge abandoned around 110 BCE, probably due to a growing preference for cremation over burial
Original arrangement of stones and building phases at Stonehenge










Consider that:
  • By the time Stonehenge was in its final building stage, the Great Pyramids were over 500 years old
  • Multi-chambered temples had been built in Mesopotamia for at least a millennium
Mesopotamia = Greek for "land between the rivers"
cities of the ancient Near East
early Mesopotamian city-states
Cities of the Ancient Near East 7000 - 3000 BCE
Early Mesopotamian City-States