How Did Civilization Start?

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Gobekli Tepe, “Potbelly Hill”

We’ve been talking a lot, lately, about how our civilization might suddenly and shockingly collapse–like, if the people don’t obey all the commands of the government–but I think a more interesting question is how civilization ever came to be.

Supposedly we were mere hunter-gatherers for untold thousands of years. Okay. Then how did we come to invent civilization? If it’s “wired in,” why did it take so long? And if it’s not, why did it ever get started at all?

“Potbelly Hill,” in Turkey, shocked scientists with its great age, apparently some ten thousand years old, if not more. Monumental sculpture, well-constructed stone walls–all before the appropriate tools, supposedly, were invented. And then the people who used it… buried it, which preserved it from the elements and allowed us to dig it up again. We don’t know who they were, why they built it, how they built it, or why they buried it.

There are other sites almost as old–Jericho, Catal Huyuk, just to name two–where it seems civilization was well on its way to emerging from a primitive culture. We are badly hampered by a lack of inscriptions at those sites. Not that we could read them, if we had them.

The Bible teaches us that God twice overthrew civilization in our world: once by Noah’s Flood, and again by confounding their language when men tried to build a great tower reaching up to heaven. Reputable Bible Scholars Inc. tell us these are only fables, none of it ever really happened. Like they know.

But what if sites like Potbelly Hill, Jericho, and Catal Huyuk, and baffling remnants like the Dispilio Tablet and the Vinca Alphabet–both of them way too old to be writing, but there they are–what if these are not evidence of civilization emerging, but of civilization re-emerging from first destruction, then confusion? What if these are evidence of people trying to claw their way back to a way of life known to their ancestors but imperfectly remembered?

If our own civilization were utterly destroyed, how long would it take the survivors and their descendants to rebuild? How much knowledge and know-how, in the meantime, would be lost to them? And very much would depend on who survived: it isn’t everybody who knows how things work, or can explain it to others. And as the centuries roll on, so much of what people used to know gets lost. How much got lost without leaving a trace of it for us to study?

The earth is the Lord’s, and we are made in His image. We have the capacity to create a civilization. Scripture tells us we abused it and were punished for that.

As we discover older and older evidence of nameless, forgotten, extinct civilizations, is it wise to write off the Bible? Because it stores information that we, with our limited knowledge of the past, refuse to recognize as information?

Someday God will say to us, “I told you, but you wouldn’t listen.”

‘An Archaeological Enigma: Potbelly Hill’ (2013)

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I like to re-post this item now and then because it’s so interesting–and so challenging to the Stupid Caveman model espoused by evolution-sellers.

Let’s see a bunch of Gender Studies majors build something.

‘7,000-Year-Old Lost City’ Found

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Abydos in Egypt–does this look “lost” to you?

I love archaeology. I’m fascinated by the distant past. So when I saw a headline that proclaimed “7,000-year-old Lost City Found” by Egyptian archaeologists, naturally I hastened to read the story ( ).

Hmm… Egyptian history has long been written up as starting sometime around 5,000 years ago, so 7,000 is quite a long extension of it. Also, “Abydos” is a well-known ancient site nearby–as well as a town by the same name in Asia Minor. So “Abydos,” the name given to the lost city in the headline, was never actually “lost.” Maybe just misplaced.

We are also told that Egypt’s tourist industry, since the fall of Hosni Mubarak and all that business with the Muslim Brotherhood, has taken a terrible hit. This discovery is expected to give it a much-needed boost. Hmmm… again.

In all periods of history, there have always been groups of people who did not partake of civilization, even as there are today. I’ve been coming around to the opinion that the “cave men” that we think we know so much about were really just people who weren’t part of any civilization–and that whatever civilization might have coexisted with them has been largely erased by the passage of thousands of years.

I’ve always wondered how what we call “civilization”–with buildings, writing, government, etc.–got started in the first place. If it’s “wired in” for us, why did it take so long to appear? And if it’s not, why did it ever appear at all?

The Bible tells us that the descendants of Adam, once they were expelled from Eden, lost little time in getting cities built, creating a civilization that was wiped out in the catastrophe of the Great Flood. Another civilization arose after the flood, only to be knocked down when God confused human language when they built the Tower of Babel.

So civilization comes and goes, and the ages roll on over its remains. Stuff only lasts so long. And then we’re puzzled when we discover something like Potbelly Hill in Turkey, or that wooden tablet full of indecipherable writing dredged up from a pond in northern Greece after 7,000 years at the bottom–discoveries that upset our preconceptions of the ancient world. Maybe this discovery in Egypt is on the level, and our preconceptions will take another hard knock.

World’s Oldest Writing–and We Can’t Read It

Here it is–the world’s oldest writing… that we know about, so far. See if you can decode the secret message.

I hope you don’t mind taking a little break from watching our secular pin-head civilization destroy itself.

When was writing invented? Back when they used to teach such things in school, we were told that the ancient Sumerians invented writing, possibly as long ago as 4,000 B.C. Egyptian hieroglyphics came along shortly afterward.

In 1993, archaeologists in northern Greece dredged up a piece of wood from the bottom of a lake. The wood was carved all over with writing. Preserved in the oxygen-free environment under a layer of mud, the artifact was carbon-dated to circa 5,200 B.C. ( )

Did you know that? I didn’t, and I try to keep close track of such things. This piece of wood, now called the Dispilio Tablet, is far and away the oldest known sample of writing. But of course we have no idea what it says. An unknown language written in an unknown script cannot be deciphered, as the saying goes. But we might have a slim chance of someday cracking the code, if the unknown language of the Dispilio Tablet is related to ancient Greek. For the time being, though, we have no way of reading it.

Funny things are going on in prehistory, these days. There’s the Potbelly Hill site in Turkey, where a vast, sophisticated temple complex, complete with nicely-executed sculpture in the round, was apparently in operation around 10,000 B.C (see ). And now the advent of writing has been pushed back over a thousand years.

If this keeps up, we’re going to run out of room in history for primitive, know-nothing cavemen.

Although we can always find their like in some of our more expensive public schools.