EARLY VILLAGE-LIKE SITES IN IRAQ, NORTHERN SYRIA AND SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY
Asikli Hoyuk is site occupied between 10,700 and 9,300 years ago. There, archaeologists found one very large building surrounded by small modest buildings. An archaeologist that worked there told U.S. News and World Report, “Much more time and effort went into the big building, and this may be the earliest physical evidence of social divisions on the way to princes and peasants."
At the nearby 9000-year-old site of Nevali Cori, a site on the Euphrates in southeaster Turkey, the buildings are rectangular and have spaces between them, which archaeologists speculate may an attempt to create some privacy. There are also buildings with specialized functions. One was used from cooking. Another was a workshop to make flint tools. Another was filled with human figurines. Nevali Cori has yielded evidence of ritual buildings and 40 houses that have been dated to 10,800 and 9,600 years ago. Einkorn wheat, two-grained wheat, peas and lentils were cultivated here. Human and animal figurines were found in the dwellings.
Nemrik, Qermez Dere and M’lefaat are among the oldest villages in the world. Located in northern Iraq and dated to around 8000 B.C., they feature evidence of early agriculture and animal domestication.
Websites and Resources on Prehistory: Wikipedia article on Prehistory Wikipedia ; Early Humans elibrary.sd71.bc.ca/subject_resources ; Prehistoric Art witcombe.sbc.edu/ARTHprehistoric ; Evolution of Modern Humans anthro.palomar.edu ; Websites and Resources of Early Agriculture and Domesticated Animals: Britannica britannica.com/; Wikipedia article History of Agriculture Wikipedia ; History of Food and Agriculture museum.agropolis; Wikipedia article Animal Domestication Wikipedia ; Cattle Domestication geochembio.com; Food Timeline, History of Food foodtimeline.org ; Food and History teacheroz.com/food ;Iceman Photscan iceman.eurac.edu/ ; Otzi Official Site iceman.it
Archaeology News and Resources: Anthropology.net anthropology.net : serves the online community interested in anthropology and archaeology; archaeologica.org archaeologica.org is good source for archaeological news and information. Archaeology in Europe archeurope.com features educational resources, original material on many archaeological subjects and has information on archaeological events, study tours, field trips and archaeological courses, links to web sites and articles; Archaeology magazine archaeology.org has archaeology news and articles and is a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America; Archaeology News Network archaeologynewsnetwork is a non-profit, online open access, pro- community news website on archaeology; British Archaeology magazine british-archaeology-magazine is an excellent source published by the Council for British Archaeology; Current Archaeology magazine archaeology.co.uk is produced by the UK’s leading archaeology magazine; HeritageDaily heritagedaily.com is an online heritage and archaeology magazine, highlighting the latest news and new discoveries; Livescience livescience.com/ : general science website with plenty of archaeological content and news. Past Horizons : online magazine site covering archaeology and heritage news as well as news on other science fields; The Archaeology Channel archaeologychannel.org explores archaeology and cultural heritage through streaming media; Ancient History Encyclopedia ancient.eu : is put out by a non-profit organization and includes articles on pre-history; Best of History Websites besthistorysites.net is a good source for links to other sites; Essential Humanities essential-humanities.net: provides information on History and Art History, including sections Prehistory
Jericho — the Biblical city of Joshua, trumpets and falling walls — is regarded by some as the oldest city in the world. Established around 7,500 B.C. in an arid valley 600 feet below sea level in Palestine near the Dead Sea., ancient Jericho was home to 2000 to 3000 people that survived on plants that thrived in a fertile area around an oasis. Strains of wheat and barley and obsidian tools have been discovered that came from elsewhere. Ancient Jericho had an elaborate system of walls, towers and moats. The circular wall that surrounded the settlement had a circumference of about 200 meters and was four meters high. The wall in turn was surrounded by a 30-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep moat. The technology used to build them was virtually the same as those used in medieval castles. [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]
Located near a permanent spring a few miles west of the Jordan River and excavated by Kathleen Kenyon, Jericho is certainly one of the world’s oldest fortified settlement but whether it qualifies as a city is a matter of some debate. There are indications of settlement after 9000 B.C.. This settlement grew to city-like status by 7000 B.C. The archaeological site is situated in the plain of the Jordan Valley two kilometers northwest of modern Jericho city. It is a large artificial mound, rising 21 meters high and covering an area of about one acre.
In 7000 B.C., Jericho encompassed of about eight to ten acres and was home to estimated two to three thousand people. It was inhabited by people who depended on collecting wild seeds for food. It is appears that they did not plant seeds, but harvested wild grains using scythes with flint edges and straight bone handles and used stone mortars with handles for grinding them. Some people lived in caves, while others occupied primitive villages with round huts made from sun-dried bricks. They buried their dead with jewelry in graves made out of rock.
The early inhabitants of Jericho dug out canals to bring water from nearby sources to where they lived and perhaps to irrigate land with wild plants they harvested for food. They constructed huge two-meter-thick walls around their villages. Inside the main fortified settlement was a circular stone tower, nine meters in diameter, and ten meters high, built for protection and requiring thousands of man hours to build. The people of ancient Jericho practiced the domestication of animals, and weaving mats, as well as animal hunting, and perhaps, agriculture. They used spears and flint-capped arrows. They also used hatchets to cut tree branches. Some inhabitants expanded from their settlements in search of new homes outside their boundaries.
Jericho’s first inhabitants, a people called the Natufians, practiced barley cultivation. Pre-Biblical Jericho had an elaborate system of walls, towers and moats by 7,500 B.C. . Thirty-foot-high stone observation tower required thousands of man hours to build. The original walls of Jericho appear to have been built for flood control rather defensive purposes. Another surprising thing about Jericho is that no pottery or baked clay bricks have been found. The excavations go quite deep. By 3000 B.C. the Jericho Valley was a major wine-producing area.
The Archeological Museum of Jordan has a stunning collection of 9,000-year-old sculptured heads from Jericho. Consisting of on an actual skull with plaster skin and sea shell eyes, each head is different. Some archeologists claim they were sealed "spirit" traps," designed to keep the soul from wandering around.
History of Tell es-Sultan (Ancient Jericho)
According to UNESCO: “Tell es-Sultan, the ancient city of Jericho, is the lowest (258 m below sea level) and the oldest town on earth. It grew up around a perennial spring, Ain es-Sultan, in an area of fertile alluvial soil which attracted hunter-gatherer groups to settle down, and to start a process of plant and animal domestication. Archaeological excavations carried out in the mid-20th century evidenced 23 layers of ancient civilizations at the site. The earliest remains date back to the Natufian period, 10th-8th millennia BC. By the 8th millennium B.C. Jericho became a big fortified town surrounded by a stone wall supported by a massive round tower. These are the earliest urban fortifications known in the world, later several times replaced. Their early date took the history of urbanity and domestication back several millennia at the time of their discovery in the 1950s. The Neolithic population of Jericho developed a complex society where house construction, crafts, such as weaving and matting, and mythological and social conception of burial and religion were practiced. The Neolithic houses were built with dried mud bricks: the initial round shape of their construction developed into the rectangular form. [Source: UNESCO ==]
“During the Early Bronze Age, Tell es-Sultan was a fortified town and one of the most flourishing Canaanite City-States in Palestine. It lasted more than a thousand years before being demolished by nomadic groups in the last centuries of the second millennium BC. Afterwards, the site was rebuilt again at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, and surrounded by a mud brick wall that lasted until 1580 BC, when it was violently destroyed by fire. However,Jerichowas probably scantily re-occupied in the late Bronze Age, since few remains of this period were found. Throughout the Iron Ages, Tell es-Sultan was re-occupied again, especially in the 7th century BC, a phase which lasted until the end of Iron Age II (586 BC). Thereafter, the tell was no longer occupied, although Byzantine remains were found on its eastern side close to the spring of Ain es-Sultan. The surrounding area, however, today’s Jerichoand environs, was continuously occupied in a fluctuating history over the last two and a half millennia. ==
“Numerous religious events and beliefs are associated with the site and area. For example, the spring of Ain es-Sultan is biblically called Elisha’s spring, in which the prophet (Elisha) made the water at Jericho healthy. Luke narrates that Jesus visited Jericho more than once; on one such occasion (19:1.4), “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. Now a man named Zacchaeus was trying to get a look at Jesus, but being a short man he could not see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him”. High above the site, perched on the cliff facing the west, is the monastery of the Mount of Temptation, traditionally built at or close to the place where Jesus, fasting for 40 days after his baptism, was offered by Satan the kingdom of the world in exchange for his homage. ==
“The archaeological methodology applied to make these discoveries is also regionally significant. It involved the use at Tell es-Sultan of techniques associated with the English archaeologist, Mortimer Wheeler, developed by him in the 1930s and passed on to his associates and students such as Kathleen Kenyon. She followed his precepts at Tell es-Sultan with large, deep, horizontal trenches designed to expose stratigraphy rather than merely find ‘remains’ or objects. Thus the wall and tower, and indeed the evidence of domestication, were found in a secure cultural and chronological context. The well-preserved trenches remain as witnesses to the development of archaeological research methods in Palestine. Visitors can still see some of the layers in which lies the history of the tell. ==
Jerf el Ahmar
Jerf el-Ahmar, an 11,600-year-old site on the Euphrates River in northern Syria, contains a structure with an enormous 30-foot-in-diameter room. In the room is a bench with friezes of triangles. Believed to have been a meeting place built with collective labor, it seems plausible that it once sat at the center of a town. The site has also yielded evidence of ritual beheading, and cultivation and milling of grains, crossbreeding of crops such peas and lentils and the domestication of aurochs (wild oxen).
Trevor Watkins of the University of Edinburgh wrote: “There are at least three other early aceramic Neolithic settlement sites in the Euphrates valley in north Syria, contemporary with Jerf el Ahmar, that possessed similar buildings. They are large, circular, subterranean structures within the settlement, though each has distinctive features. The most distinctive is the circular structure of massive mudbrick that is emerging at Dja’de el Mughara. The building has massive internal buttresses, or stub-walls, whose mud-plastered surfaces are revealing painted, polychrome, rectilinear designs. These communal buildings clearly involved great investment of labour and the coordination of the skills and efforts of many of the community. [Source: Trevor Watkins, University of Edinburgh,“Household, Community and Social Landscape: Maintaining Social Memory in the Early Neolithic of Southwest Asia”, proceedings of the International Workshop, Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes II (14th –18th March 2011)” in Kiel January 2012 /+]
“It appears that the structures (those where the investigations and analysis have progressed sufficiently to inform us) were in use for a long time, though we as yet have no information as to what took place within them. It is a reasonable inference that their construction, maintenance, modification and repeated use served to perpetuate collective memory, something that will be pursued later. Even more remarkable are two sites that have the superficial appearance of settlements, but were central places to which many people came from a number of communities for specific purposes. /+\
Ain Ghazal and Its Other Worldly Figures and Games
Ain Ghazal, an archeological site in Amman, Jordan was one of the largest population centers in the Middle East (three times larger than Jericho) from 7200 to 5000 B.C., a period in human history when semi-nomadic hunters and gathers were adapting to farming and animals herding and organizing themselves into cities.
Ain Ghazal covers about 30 acres. The people were farmers and hunters and gatherers. They used stone tools and weapons and made clay figures and vessels. They lived in multi-room houses with stone walls and timber roof beams and cooking hearths. Plaster with decorations covered the walls and floors. They are meat and milk products from goats, grew wheat barely, lentils, peas and chickpeas, hunted wild cattle, boar and gazelles and gathered wild plants, almonds, figs and pistachios.
Mysterious human figures unearthed at Ain Ghazal, are among the oldest human statues ever found. Made of lime plaster and dating back to 7000 B.C., the figures were about 3½ feet tall and have bitumen accented eyes and look like aliens from outer space. Scholars believe they played a ceremonial role and may have been images of gods or heroes.
The figures were discovered 1985 by the driver of a bulldozers clearing the way for a road. The statues were made of delicate materials’so delicate they whole site was unearthed and shipped to a Smithsonian laboratory where the figures it took ten years to assemble the figures.
The figures come in two types: full figures and busts. Both types were made by forming plaster over a skeleton made of bundles of reed wrapped in twine. Facial features were probably made by hand with simple tools made of bone, wood or stone. The plaster technology that was used was fairly advanced and required heating limestone to temperatures if 600̊ to 900̊C
Archeologists working in Ain Ghazal found what they say may be the world’s oldest known game. The game board, a limestone slab, has two sets of circular depressions and bears a striking resemblance to games played in the Middle East today with counting stones. The slab was found in a house, and because it seemed to serve no utilitarian or ceremonial function archeologists concluded it most likely was a game board. [National Geographic Geographica, February 1990].
Jordan’s Earliest Buildings
Some of the earliest evidence of prehistoric architecture has been found in the Jordanian desert.In 2012, archaeologists said they had found Jordan’s earliest buildings, dated to approximately 20,000 years ago. Cambridge University reported: “Archaeologists working in eastern Jordan have announced the discovery of 20,000-year-old hut structures, the earliest yet found in the Kingdom. The finding suggests that the area was once intensively occupied and that the origins of architecture in the region date back twenty millennia, before the emergence of agriculture. The research, published 15 February, 2012 in PLoS One by a joint British, Danish, American and Jordanian team, describes huts that hunter-gatherers used as long-term residences and suggests that many behaviours that have been associated with later cultures and communities, such as a growing attachment to a location and a far-reaching social network, existed up to 10,000 years earlier. [Source:Cambridge University, February 18, 2012]
“Excavations at the site of Kharaneh IV are providing archaeologists with a new perspective on how humans lived 20,000 years ago. Although the area is starkly dry and barren today, during the last Ice Age the deserts of Jordan were in bloom, with rivers, streams, and seasonal lakes and ponds providing a rich environment for hunter-gatherers to settle in. “What we witness at the site of Kharaneh IV in the Jordanian desert is an enormous concentration of people in one place,” explained Dr Jay Stock from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the article. “People lived here for considerable periods of time when these huts were built. They exchanged objects with other groups in the region and even buried their dead at the site. These activities precede the settlements associated with the emergence of agriculture, which replaced hunting and gathering later on. At Kharaneh IV we have been able to document similar behaviour a full 10,000 years before agriculture appears on the scene.”
The archaeologists spent three seasons excavating at the large open-air site covering two hectares. They recovered hundreds of thousands of stone tools, animal bones and other finds from Kharaneh IV, which today appears as little more than a mound 3 meters high rising above the desert landscape. Based on the size and density of the site, the researchers had long suspected that Kharaneh IV was frequented by large numbers of people for long periods of time; these latest findings now confirm their theory. “It may not look very impressive to the untrained eye, but it is one of the densest and largest Palaeolithic open-air sites in the region,” said Dr Lisa Maher, from the University of California, Berkeley, who spearheads the excavations. “The stone tools and animal bone vastly exceed the amounts recovered from most other sites of this time period in southwest Asia.” In addition, the team also recovered rarer items, such as shell beads, bones with regularly incised lines and a fragment of limestone with geometric carved patterns.
“So far, the team has fully excavated two huts; but there may be several more hidden beneath the desert’s sands. “They’re not large by any means. They measure about 2–3 meters in maximum length and were dug into the ground. The walls and roof were made of brush wood, which then burnt and collapsed leaving dark coloured marks,” described Dr Tobias Richter from the University of Copenhagen and one of the project’s co-directors. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the hut is between 19,300 and 18,600 years old. Although a team of archaeologists working at Ohalo II on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Israel) in 1989 found the region’s oldest hut structures, which date from 23,000 years ago, the team working at the Kharaneh IV site believe their discovery is no less significant, as Dr Maher explained: “Inside the huts, we found intentionally burnt piles of gazelle horn cores, clumps of red ochre pigment and a cache of hundreds of pierced marine shells. These shell beads were brought to the site from the Mediterranean and Red Sea over 250 kilometers away, showing that people were very well linked to regional social networks and exchanged items across considerable distances.”
Arslantepe, a remote site near the town of Malatya and the source of the Euphrates River in southeastern Turkey, is regarded as one of the world’s oldest large towns. It was first settled around 4,250 B.C.. Among the firsts found found there the first known palace, the first known sword (cast from an alloy of copper and arsenic) and the first toothed locks opened with a key (similar to locks still used in parts of Africa and the Middle East). There are also tombs with evidence of what seems to be human sacrifice.
The palace at Arslantepe contains some of the world’s oldest and best preserved ancient wall paintings. They were made on plastered walls and consist of stylized representations of humans and animals. An ancient painters palette consisting of a flat stone with hollowed-out depressions for paint was found here. The evidence for human sacrifice is grave for a man in his 30s of 40s who was buried with three girls and boy in their teens who showed signs of being treated violently.
When Arslantepe was first settled in 4250 B.C., the social system seemed to be fairly egalitarian in that all the dwellings dated to this period seemed pretty much the same. In 4000 B.C. a fairly large temple was built. It also seemed to play a role in storing grain and distributing food. Thousand of storage jar and some measuring tools have been found inside. Later the first locks were used to lock storage rooms containing grain. As society developed, labor became more specialized and stratified with an elite class that ruled over the others. The first palace was built around 2500 B.C.
Tell Hamoukar is an interesting site, dated to 3500 B.C., in eastern Syria near the border of Iraq and Turkey. With a central city covering 16 hectares, it is as highly developed as sites in southern Iraq such as Uruk and Nippur and seems to debunk the theories that ancient civilization developed in southern Iraq and spread northward and westward. Instead Tell Hamoukar is offered as proof that several advanced ancient civilizations developed simultaneously in different parts of the Middle East. [Source: Natural History magazine, Clemens Reichel of the Oriental Institute of Chicago]
Excavations indicate that Tell Hamoukar was first inhabited around 4000 B.C. perhaps as early as 4500 B.C. By around 3700 B.C. is covered at least 13 hectares and displayed signs of an advanced civilization: a 2.5-meter-high, 3.4 -meter-wide defensive wall, large scale bread making and meat cooking, a wide array of cylinder seals, presumably used to mark goods. Many seals were used to secure baskets and other containers of commodities.
The simplest seals had only simple markings. More elaborate ones had kissing bears, ducks and a leopard with 13 spots. Scholars believed that more elaborate seals were used by people of high status and indicate a hierarchically-ordered society. But as advanced as Tell Hamoukar and other places in the area were they are not regarded as advanced as those in southern Iraq, where writing developed.
Tell Hamoukar contains a 500-acre site with buildings with huge ovens, which offer evidence that people were making food for other people. The city seems to have been a manufacturing center for tools and blades that utilized obsidian supplies further north and supplied the tools throughout Mesopotamia to the south. Other sites being excavated in northern Syria include Tell Brak and Habuba Kabira, both of which appear to be much larger than previously thought.
A team led by Clemens Reichel of the Oriental Institute of Chicago and Syrian Department of Antiquities have been excavating Tell Hamoukar since 1999.. Guillermo Algaze of the University of California, San Diego is an archaeologist that specialize in north-south relations in Mesopotamia.
Early Village-Like Sites in Israel, the Persian Gulf and Cyprus
Arrowheads found in Qatar in 1960 and ash from ancient campfires in Muscat found in 1983, both dated to around 6000 B.C., are the oldest examples of nomadic pastoralists living on the Arabian peninsula. Remains from Neolithic camps seems to indicate that the climate was wetter at that time and there was more food for grazing animals than today. Nomads are thought to have ranged between Iraq and Syria in the north a the Dhofar region of Oman in the south.
Shells and fishbone middens, dated to around 5000 B.C., found near Muscat is the earliest evidence of fishing communities along the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Artifacts found at one of the middens (heaps of shells of marine life remains) included stone net sinkers, a necklace of shell, soapstone and limestone beads, finely-carved shell pendants. Graves contained human skeletons buried on beds of oyster shells or with sea turtle skulls. Analysis of the human remains turned up evidence of malaria and inbreeding. There was little evidence that they ate anything other than what they could take from the sea.
Trevor Watkins of the University of Edinburgh wrote: ““In Israel the site of Kfar HaHoresh dates to the later aceramic Neolithic, and it shares with southern Levantine settlement sites the burial of bodies, the retrieval of skulls, and, from the typical houses, the elaborate use of lime-plaster for making floor surfaces. However, there is no sign of everyday living at the site, though there is evidence of feasting episodes; and the rectangles of lime-plaster floor are not part of roofed buildings. The site appears to have been devoted to rituals that are evidenced on settlements of the period in the region, but it is difficult to imagine why a “central place” site was needed for the exclusive performance of practices that were also practised within settlements.” [Source: Trevor Watkins, University of Edinburgh,“Household, Community and Social Landscape: Maintaining Social Memory in the Early Neolithic of Southwest Asia”, proceedings of the International Workshop, Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes II (14th –18th March 2011)” in Kiel January 2012 /+]
In 2016, the Cyprus' Antiquities Department, announced that archaeological digs have uncovered more than 20 round buildings in what is believed to be the east Mediterranean island's earliest known village that dates as far back as the 9th century B.C. The department said in a statement that excavationsin the Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas area near Cyprus' southern coast, also found domestic dogs and cats had already been introduced to Cyprus when the village was active 11,200 to 10,600 years ago. It said villagers hunted small wild boar and birds, but didn't produce pottery. Excavations directed by Francois Briois from France's School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and Jean-Denis Vigne from France's National Center for Scientific Research-National Museum of Natural History found most buildings had built-in fire places. [Source: Associated Press, Jul 12, 2016]
Dolni Vestonice in Czech Republic, a site been dated to 27,000 B.C., has been called the world’s oldest village but most scholars argue is too small and too rudimentary to qualify as a village or town. In any case a number of important discoveries related to early man have been found there.
Dolni Vestonice is the site of the earliest known potter’s kiln. Carved and molded images of animals, women, strange engravings, personal ornaments, and decorated graves have been found scattered over several acres at the site. In the main hut, where the people ate and slept, two items were found: a goddess figurine made of fired clay and a small and cautiously carved portrait made from mammoth ivory of a woman whose face was drooped on one side. The goddess figurine is the oldest known baked clay figurine. On top of its head are holes which may have held grasses or herbs. The potter scratched two slits that stretched from the eyes to the chest which were thought to be the life-giving tears of the mother goddess. [Source: mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/sites/europe/dolni_vestonice]
Some of the sculpture may represent the first example of portraiture (representation of an actual person). One such figure, carved in mammoth ivory, is roughly three inches high. The subject appears to be a young man with heavy bone structure, thick, long hair reaching past his shoulders, and possibly the traces of a beard. Particle spectrometry analysis dated it to be around 29,000 years old. [Source: Wikipedia]
The remains of a kiln was found on an encampment in a small, dry-hut, whose door faced towards the east. Scattered around the oven were many fragments of fired clay. Remains of clay animals, some stabbed as if hunted, and other pieces of blackened pottery still bear the fingerprints of the potter.
The archeological site of Dolni Vestonice was located on a swamp at the confluence of two rivers near the Moravian mountains near present-day the village of Dolni Vestonice. In 1986, the remains of three teenagers were discovered in a common grave dated to be around 27,650 years old. Two of the skeletons belonged to heavily built males while the third was judged to be a female based on its slender proportions. Archaeologists who examined her skeletal remains found evidence of a stroke or other illness which left her painfully crippled and her face deformed. The two males had died healthy, but remains of a thick wooden pole thrust through the hip of one of them suggests a violent death.
The female skeleton was ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. The bones and the earth surrounding it contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence indicates that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is regarded as the oldest evidence of female shamans.
Early African and American Villages
The remains of ancient settlements is particularly abundant in the Near East in part because the materials used to make them — stones and mud-bricks — preserve well while materials such as wood used in other areas deteriorates and doesn't leave behind lasting evidence.
"Generally the West African forest area was one of small groupings with strong ethnic ties," writes historian Henry Wilson. "The village integrated society, and all other large groupings, whether political or social, reflected this...The residential unit was the compound, consisting of a cluster of dwellings and storage huts, generally enclosed by a wall, where a man would live with his wife or wives, his children, and his younger brothers and their wives and children. [Source: "The Imperial Experience in Sub-Sahara Africa Since 1870" by Henry S. Wilson, University of Minnesota Press]
“A village was made up of an aggregate of compounds. Several such village conglomerates constituted a ward, which in turn formed part of a township. The township was headed by men who were related and thus formed a distinctive kin grouping. Political, social, and religious power was diffused among elders, the age-grade associations, and in certain cases, the secret societies." [Ibid]
The first known permanent Americans houses (in the Tehuacán Valley in Mexico) date back to around 3,400 B.C. In contrast, villages developed in Turkey and Jordan around 7,500 B.C. By 1500 B.C. villages were widely scattered throughout the Americas. At this time pottery was widely used and villagers possessed small clay idols, which suggested organized religious beliefs. The New World’s earliest civilizations developed when early farming communities became established and socially organized.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Nature, Scientific American. Live Science, Discover magazine, Discovery News, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, "World Religions" edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); "History of Warfare" by John Keegan (Vintage Books); "History of Art" by H.W. Janson (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018