Körtik Tepe

It would seem that this particular dig has been happening for about 17 years, yet surprisingly little exists about it in the anglosphere. It precedes Göbekli Tepe and is a village or “settlement” rather than a meeting place.

I ran into this video via the Roku YouTube, that seems to have a very different algorithm for what it offers as “recommended” so ranges more widely. Just a minor perturbation in what you watch or search for sends it off in whole new directions. This is a trait I value as I have “novelty seeking behavior” and the removal of it was largely what drove me away from Google.

So I was watching Star Trek Continues (a fairly good fan movie series on YouTube) and then popped out for a fresh mug of morning coffee and decided to see what else was being offered. It has figured out I like old archaeology things, and this video was in the mix. What is Körtik Tepe I wondered? It’s that curiosity tickle that I really like ;-)

Before getting into that, note that the presenter is largely reading an English translation of a site in some other language. My best guess is that the original language was Turkish based on a few language structure clues and what a search on the name of the place offers, but who knows.

Here’s the search, and most of it is in foreign languages:


The only wiki I found in a quick look at the top couple of pages was in Latin…


Körtik Tepe est locus archaeologicus in provincia Amida Turciae situs, mox sub aquis molis Ilısu inundaturus. Ibi anno 1990 reperta sunt vestigia habitationis hominum Neolithicorum aevi aceramici. Cum ossibus mortuorum repertae sunt paterae e lapide chlorite [en] factae, figuris animalium, avium, serpentium, scorpionum sculptis ornatae, fere omnes fractae.

Which given what little Latin I can decode seems to just say it is an archaeology site in the Amida province of Turkey. A Neolithic habitation and with things made in chlorite stone with various animal figures on them. Birds, snakes, scorpions ornately sculpted. Yes I skipped over the bits where the brain gave me null. Yes, I know there’s a Google Translate feature. No, I didn’t care that much…

The Video (and the web site it is reading) refer to Göbekli Tepe as a religious worship site, thus tickling my usual “Oh My God do these folks not know people gather for commerce and parties far more than for religion?” WHY must every single thing they can’t explain suddenly become religious worship? IMHO, far more likely would be that it was a place where various animals were bought and sold. Each round pen marked with a big billboard showing the animal. Folks could walk around at the higher level, point at what they wanted for dinner (or a pet?) and buy it. Or equally plausible, it was a zoo. Look at our zoos, and what do you see? LOTS of big signs with pictures of the animals. Enclosures for those animals with lots of walls and not so many steps in and out. Just like there.

Now if, say, you had a civilization spread over camel distance of 200 miles, think it could support an Auction Barn or a Zoo / University? Rather similar to what we do today?

Why a zoo? This was just after the Younger Dryas Impact event. That destroyed megafauna in North and South America and had some damage in Europe. These folks would be on the edge of the damage and then subject to the global cold plunge. Might this have been an “ark”? Where they saved what animals they could “2 by 2”? Makes more sense to me than folks milling about holes in the ground worshiping totems of animals 100 miles from home…

OK, that one gripe out of the way…

They also make some noises about “eating plants but not farming” due to not finding farm implements in this small town. Well Duh! You find farm implements on the FARM not in the TOWN. You don’t drag your plow a mile back home just to drag it back out again the next day. You park it at the edge of the field. We know ancient people were doing at a minimum crude farming far before there were cities. Encouraging the plants they liked the most. My belief is that farming was far older than expected. Now, would a hardened wood plough survive 12,000 years at the edge of a field? Just like boats, the answer is no.

Where you have real hunter / gatherers, they live in disbursed households. Look at hunting cats, a single large range to support one solitary cat. You just can’t have a small city living on hunting and gathering without folks needing to range incredibly far from home to find enough to hunt and gather. The town disperses into camps. That this is a small town tells me most of them were not hunting & gathering for a living. They were making stone tools, bowls, etc. and trading for things. Then, either they were surrounded by a dispersed hunter gatherer group to support them, or more likely IMHO, farmers who had excess food to trade for hammers, awls, sewing kits, etc. But a farmers wooden hut, wooden plough, and ox are not going to show up in the archaeological digs.

Well, with that other gripe out of the way, here’s the video:

This web site, in Turkish, has some of the same photos as the video but much better resolution:


This one, in translation – hey it offered me the translate box ;-), looks similar, in what little I’ve looked at, to the one being read in the video:


I’m really surprised that a 17+ year long dig, finding a town from the Younger Dryas is not showing up at all in the English internet…

Now Consider: The Younger Dryas Impact will have been a Global Reset after a Global Warming catastrophe, and then followed by a global flood catastrophe. What are the odds that advanced (relatively) civilization from before those events would survive them? Yeah, near zero.

We warmed suddenly and dramatically out of the Ice Age Glacial, just as folks were coping with that, a cluster of comet fragments destroyed North America, set off the equivalent of thousands of nuclear bombs in the sky, set off a huge firestorm making a “black mat” all over the place. THEN the world plunges back into a glacial, and 1000 years later has dramatic and catastrophic flooding of THE best places to live (like Doggerland) where there were fertile lands near the sea for fishing. Comet debris impacts into the oceans and seas would have swamped any boats and wiped out the fishing / sailing villages, then the floods would wipe out any survivors on land. Everyone would “head for the hills”.

Which is where this village is found. At the head of a long valley on a hilltop plane. Away from the threat of ocean inundation.

Then these surviving folks would be trying just to get enough to eat and not really worried much about preserving a civilization. In short order they would be living a “stone age life style” as metals and advanced manufactures and such would no longer be available. In fact, this is exactly part of my “Post Apocalypse Plan”. Drop back to that level of history where the available materials support it. IF possible, to the 1800s and set up a smithy reworking scrap metal into desired stuff. If required, to the 1200s and having a patch of farm (with a very small forge set up). If all else fails, work stone into hammers, knives, axes, etc. and go for stone age hunter gatherer with a skin lined stick hut.

Then along comes “modern” archaeology and decides everything is a uniformitarian single line of advancement and nobody did anything interesting for 200,000 years until the Sumerians and Egyptians… Ah, no. Hieroglyphic writing shows up as a fully formed complex system that has evolved traits. Sumerian is already doing very complicated weights, measures, math, and more. These are recovering societies, not de novo. The Egyptians even said they had history going back about 30,000 years. The Indian records say something very similar.

It is my belief that we will, eventually, find the stuff in the mud to prove that, but not until we start excavations 300 feet down in the coastal planes where the shorelines were 20,000 years ago.

In that context, IMHO, the proper interpretation of a village from the middle of this catastrophic period and on the edge of the destruction, is as a remnant population starting the long slow process of recovery after a dramatic global climate and impact catastrophe. Doing “what you can with what you have” and that is stone, animals, fishing, and some plants / wood. Doing well enough to set up a regional “trading post” with animals in show pits / pens and likely a large collection of “tents” around that with various pottery, awls, needles, bowls, etc. etc. all being traded.

They still faced 2 major traumas. First, the Taurid stream returns every year, but has a couple of cyclical strengthening weakening cycles in it (mostly as we wobble into the center of the debris field or out to the edge). Some a few years, at least one up to 3000 years long. At first, this would be far more damaging than it is now, with 12,000 years of debris removed from the stream… Second, eventually the Younger Dryas ended and things dramatically warmed. The local climate and flora / fauna would shift dramatically and likely at a catastrophic pace. Water / precipitation changes dramatically and “water is life”. My guess would be that they had to pack up and move, from the whole region, to places with better opportunities. So they covered what they could with sand to preserve it for the return that never happened.

What isn’t known is just how unique they were. A “one off” local advanced surviving group? A “remote area” that moved only to find advanced peoples surviving in places like The Levant? Were they surrounded by lots of others, but the others didn’t leave masonry villages and stone tools? Did everyone just shift to migrating tribes to adjust to dramatic swings of weather, following the herds like American Natives? I doubt we will ever know.

But if you do not put yourself in the context of their times and ask what would a rational people do, you can not ever come close. Weather and Climate and Precipitation drive hunter gatherers and farmers alike. Drought and flood and crop failures are central concerns. Still to this day in small farm towns like the one where I grew up. The local animal auction was more important than church (at least to the farmers and ranchers). Yeah, everyone dressed up for Sunday, but it was more an obligation than central to success. The County Fair was at least 1/2 devoted to showing and trading animals and crafts. We had a huge building filled with folks showing off pies and canned / preserved foods, knitting and sewing crafts. The animal judging was a really big event. The “carnival” part of it pleased the kids, but the adults were interested in the other bits.

That’s what is missing when these “professional” archaeologists pontificate about “Ritual Site Of Worship”… the nitty gritty of real rural life. Don’t talk to me about the worshiping of the pig-stone-obelisk, point me toward the Pig-Showing-Ring and the BBQ Ribs stand outside!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Global Cooling, Global Warming General, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Körtik Tepe

  1. Larry Ledwick says:

    Lots of similar discoveries going on recently due to use of LIDAR to look through jungle foliage and see objects hidden in dense jungle.


    Do a search on LIDAR and hidden city.



    They need to do the same sort of work with high resolution sonar able to penetrate surface layers of continental shelf near a depth of 100 – 400 ft depth like ground penetrating radar only using side scanning sonar and time domain filtering. to eliminate the sea floor surface echo so they can see structures buried under a layer of ooze and sediment.

  2. Keith Macdonald says:

    Also being used to find “lost” Roman Roads in Britain.

    A lot of the UK LiDAR mapping/modelling images are now in the Public Domain and can be browsed online, like the National Library of Scotland website. For example, this side-by-side georeferenced maps viewer of the Avebury area:
    It’s a side-by-side combination of old UK Ordnance Survey maps (c.1900 to 1950), with a choice of map series, and with 1 metre resolution LIDR imaging of lots of the UK.

    Personally, I find using the LiDAR DSM (surface model) option first helps. It gives a better “spacial awareness” as it shows modern features like trees and buildings, and its easier to get your bearings. Then when you switch to the DTM (terrian model) option, the ground looks more barren, but older features like tracks and earthworks are easier to see without the camouflage of trees etc.

  3. Serioso says:

    My wife and I visited Catalhoyuk some years ago. The area around the site is very dry, nearly a desert, but we were told that the region had been a jungle during the era of human habitation. Climate change indeed!

  4. H.R. says:

    Nice link, Serioso. I wandered around a bit of the website and will look at more of it as I have time.
    What is it about that area in Turkey that made it the nearest, best area of escape? Answer that and you can follow the unflooded geography backwards to where a more advanced got pushed against the wall of serious climate change and you’ll find a motherlode.

    I believe the same is true for places off of India and, given what we see at current sea levels Mayan ruins may be the resurgence of another more highly advanced civilization off South America.

    You’ve got to look to the ‘middle’. With the glaciations in full effect, technological and societal advances would be in a band on either side of the Equator. As the glaciers retreated, new lands opened up and the ‘motherlands’ would be inundated.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    We also find the same extensive greening during the post ice age climate shift in the Sahara at about the same time. I presume that Catalhoyuk also thrived about the same time the Sahara was a lush environment as the melting at the end of the glaciation caused huge changes in sea level, current paths and wind patterns.


  6. Larry Ledwick says:


    Cycle of climate change in the sahara every 20,000 years for the last quarter of a million years.

  7. DonM says:

    “WHY must every single thing they can’t explain suddenly become religious worship?”

    They think religion is a mark of the “unevolved”.

    It is simple and obvious to them that they must be much much more evolved than the historic peoples; they also think they are more evolved/smarter than their temporaries as well.

    They consciously and unconsciously reinforce their self perceived superiority over current contemporary society by linking religion with the unenlightened animal skin wearing low brows.

    They MUST think this way, because lacking true purpose or place, they need to feel superior to get out of bed every day..

  8. H.R. says:

    A further thought, based on E.M.’s discussion of current rural life and activities: What if these places were already “the ‘burbs?”

    It would mirror current times. The big cities, where all the tech and talent is concentrated, is dependent on the ‘countryside’ to sustain government, the arts, and technology. We already know that in the case of say, a Carrington event, our major metropolitan areas would be toast.

    A certain number of ‘techies’ would make it to the safety of the burbs, but it would likely be a survival of disjointed expertise that would carry some knowledge forward, but not enough of the interdependent pieces of knowledge to rebuild what was, for all practical purposes, nearly instantaneously lost.

    Think of today. The wonderous skyscrapers, subways, corporate headquarters, tech jobs, etc., are all concentrated in the big cities of New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo… you get the picture.

    Artistically, the gargantuan, ornate public works are in the big cities. The burbs might put up something nice and quite ornate and beautiful, but still on a smaller scale that pales in comparison to the ‘Big Apple’ of the times. And as you go further out into farm country, well there’s the bank (nice), the library (nice), the feed store owner’s house (nice)… you get the picture.

    I figure that all this very ancient stuff being found in Turkey, as sophisticated as it may seem, is just the burbs and farming centers to the really, really technologically and artistically sophisticated ‘good stuff’ which has been inundated.

    So Catalhoyuk, for example, may have been a rural getaway bed and breakfast resort in it’s time and an escape haven in catastrophic times. The archeologists are Discovering Vermont! if you got my drift.

  9. H.R. says:

    @DonM – You hit a hot button and you are over the target.

    Everyone has a tendency to think they are smarter than their parents and previous generations.
    (Especially teenagers [wink, wink].) It’s totally NOT true!

    The hot button issue with me is that you never should mistake education for intelligence. For example, if you dropped any one of us down in the jungles of Borneo or the remote Amazon or such places, we’d probably be dead within days or weeks without local knowledge or assistance.

    You have to be smart to learn what you need know to survive in your local environment. You have to know that a tiger is around because you smell urine that’s 10-15 minutes fresh and there are leave on bushes that have been disturbed within recent minutes and not broken. And you have to take in, analyze, and logically extrapolate what everything you are seeing, this instant, because your life depends on it.

    Smart people survive. The average or below average win Darwin awards.

    We are dullards compared to our great-grandfathers in our awareness and possession of useful knowledge. We don’t get culled like dumbasses did in the old days. Back then, you only got one stupid mistake. Now, you get a parking ticket or a Nobel Peace Prize.

    So to your point, the eggheads of today know a wonderous library of facts but very little that makes one smarter and able to pass on that intelligence to the next generation. Even our brightest are not being honed in the crucible of survival due to intelligence.

    Soft living makes for people who know more and more about less and less.

  10. H.R. says:

    E.M. writes: “In that context, IMHO, the proper interpretation of a village from the middle of this catastrophic period and on the edge of the destruction, is as a remnant population starting the long slow process of recovery after a dramatic global climate and impact catastrophe. “

    Above, I point out the possibility that your interpretation is off. These ruins may just be the ‘burbs and farm towns remaining from the peak of a technologically advanced society and not evidence of survivors attempting to rebuild, poorly, what was lost.

    I’m just arguing the possibility it wasn’t an attempt to start up what was lost, but evidence of the peak and subsequent decline of what was lost.

    So consider that these finds were the ‘County Seats’ where big city survivors of catastrophe presided over a decline rather than hamlets, where big city survivors did their best to restore what was lost.

    I’m proposing a slight difference, but counter to your interpretation.

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    There are also questions about how the collapse happens, suddenly as in over night or a few days like Pompeii or a long slow death spiral of cold or disease like the little ice age and the black plague.

    In the sudden no warning catastrophe there is little chance to “move the library” or make an effort to pass on knowledge to a guild of people entrusted to preserve history through story telling or making documents like the dead sea scrolls. That would lead to a rapid and total collapse.

    If everyone is struggling to find food, and killing all their live stock to prevent starvation, the stained glass artisan will not be very useful other than as another pair of hands to cultivate the fields.

    In the long slow death spiral you have a slow terminal wasting process that gradually culls out the holders of skills and knowledge faster than new specialists can be trained.

    That may have been what happened following the collapse of Rome, all the artisans and skills and knowledge did not die all at once but gradually became harder and harder to find.

    Look at our own technology, how do you repair a broken CB radio to maintain an information net if no one makes or sells transistors or capacitors or other critical components.

    In that case useful technology that has only minor problems is lost to the society (for want of a nail the shoe was lost sort of a problem). The result is the community falls back gradually or suddenly to a technology level that it can sustain with its own resources or relatively low risk trade with others who have the ability to replace critical components.

    For example my car is capable of going 200,000 plus miles but it has a few wear parts that must be replaced at a more frequent interval (cam belts for example at 105 K miles) that means if the source for those key components is lost all the modern cars will cease to function long before they wear out due to critical component failure.

    We might still have computer hard drives full of data, but does anyone have the means to retrieve the data?

    The same thing probably happened in the old world as the big melt started and coastal populations were forced to evacuate ahead of the advancing water. As they moved inland there would be friction and stress on the established communities at higher elevations, getting over whelmed with hungry mouths that they could not feed or provide living space for.

    The refugees would over time gradually be force to move to more and more marginal locations because all the good spots were long ago taken. Those who could not adapt to those conditions would either die or make others die to give up their better plots of land.

    In that circumstance there would be a slow tidal wave of dislocation that would move ahead of the advancing waters and at the same time the access to critial supplies would dry up.

    You might have a kerosene lamp but do you know how to make a replacement fuel that will work in one?
    How about car tires. after 2 -3 years with no replacement tires all the cars would be sitting abandon or age checked and worn out tires too thin to drive on or limping along on some low tech substitute like rope wound around the wheel rims.

    Our advanced society is actually pretty fragile if you look at it from the point of view of critical path/component failure. That fancy office building with windows that won’t open would become a sauna in the summer without AC so you either do not use it in the summer or you break out enough windows to provide ventilation.

    That TV series world without people is a good primmer on some of those issues although the premise is a bit contrived to compress the rate at which a modern city collapses.

    (see inner city Detroit or similar locations, even with easy physical availability of repair parts and man power economic pressures alone have led to the functional destruction of miles and miles of modern city in a single life time.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m not seeing it so much as you calling my wrong as you making a finer point.

    I just said “remnant population”, not their origin. I did visualize folks moving away from the flood, but didn’t think folks away from the shore would need to move. So IMHO, you are exploring the specifics.

    I really like the image of “Discovering Vermont” :-) or maybe Weed California 8-)

    Weed is a small gas stop on I-5 1/2 way from Sacramento to Oregon. IF sea level rose 400 feet, San Francisco, Sacramento, and everthing else in The Big Valley would be gone… But Weed would survive…. got coffee at the only cafe for 100 miles during a blizard once… long story… It starts “A cold guy in a wet suit and a parka walks into a cafe…”

    Given the transportation of the BC era, the notion folks in San Francisco could escape to Weed is not as attractive as Weed surviving and becoming the new center of life… A 30 foot water rise would require they walk 300 miles to get there. More likely they would climb the local hills and find themselves in a big mob surrounded by water with no food…

    Oh, and the “recovery” in my vision was more about getting over the trauma and avoiding death than rebuilding the former cultural centers. Think post Black Death Europe decending into the dark ages, but locals “recovering” more than The Renaissance.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Don M.:

    Ooohhh… I like that! Seems to fit…


    Sounds like a great trip. You have my envy ;-)

    @Larry L.:

    We have a good example of collapse. Early Kingdom Egypt suffered a bad drought and collapsed. Then a Dark Age where we know little, then The New Kindom forms, but can’t make as good pyramids or bowls. The best stuff comes from the older society.

    Similarly, the Bronze Age collapse about 1170 BC. They were highly dependant on Bronze and wide trade between several large empires. The collapse seems to be related to a shift of the rain bands. Once trade collapsed the whole system failed and could not recover until iron working started.

    There are these periodic collapses that land on cold excursions. In each one, their is a following Dark Age and recovery, but the recovery starts way below the technical level of the prior empire.

  14. Power Grab says:

    When I have read of the mysterious gathering places with the animal signs on dividers, I have thought they might be areas where the surviving clans gathered to do any number of things. Perhaps trade – yes. Perhaps swap stories/news – yes. Perhaps hold their version of the olympic games? What if they had periodic meetings to see who was the strongest, most skilled at some craft or weapon inventing, had the most children (that would be a symbol of success to many societies–unlike today), had the best crops (like a county fair)?

    Maybe it was like electing a leader whose advice would be given the most sway. Perhaps annihilating each other was not the prime goal. Perhaps a competition was a substitute for all-out war.

    I can see where there might be a clan that would use as their public image a scorpion or snake. I can’t really see where they would set up a restaurant for serving scorpions or snakes as entrees.

    Their languages were probably getting less and less similar, the more time they spent apart. So like we went from computers that used DOS (or some other command line interface) to an icon-based interface, they would have to resort to images of animals to convey to others what they wanted them to think of the clan.

    I figure it might not be much different from today’s sports cultures/mascots. I rather think they wanted others to be scared of them, so they would choose a scary animal as their mascot.

  15. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:
    I was looking at the Weston A. Price site for an article that discussed what Dr. Price found the Gaelics on the Outer Hebrides surviving on (oats and sea foods), when I found this article:


    These paragraphs were new to me, but I found them very interesting:


    “Weston Andrew Valleau Price, the ninth child in a family of 12, grew up on a farm in Newburg, Canada. This backwoods Canadian family produced an inventor, a medical doctor, two dentists, a Methodist minister and a resourceful farmer son.5

    “The Price family lineage goes back through a long line of Celtic princes, traced as far as 230 AD. The name derives from ap Rees or ap Rice, a family centered around the town of Brecon in Wales.
    Price’s nephew, Willard DeMille Price (son of Albert, his inventor brother), was a famous writer, explorer and traveler whose reports were often featured in the National Geographic magazine.
    Price became interested in diet as a prime factor in dental decay after he was stricken with typhoid fever in 1893. At the time he was practicing dentistry in Grand Forks, North Dakota. His older brother Albert nursed him back to health, but during his illness Weston’s teeth had decayed alarmingly. He went back to the family farm to convalesce where not only his health improved, but his dental deterioration was arrested. The following spring, he and his uncle William Delmage camped for an extended period in the back country of Canada, living on salmon, small game and berries. Delmage was a man of great intuitive wisdom who understood the role of natural food sources for refurbishing and sustaining the body. The backwoods diet worked wonders for Weston Price.

    “Weston shared an interest in electricity with his brother Albert. He taught “applied electricity and electro-therapeutics” at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) from 1897 to 1904. After he left the faculty in 1904, his subject matter was dropped from the curriculum.6
    In 1899, Weston Price and his wife Florence built the Bon Echo Inn on the shores of Mazinaw Lake in southeast Ontario. Florence suggested the name Bon Echo because of the marvelous echo that rebounded from the face of the granite cliff on the opposite shore. The remote site presented an incredible challenge and building the 28-room inn was “a feat which never could have been accomplished without the indomitable persistence of Dr. Price and his sublime indifference to the almost incredible difficulties that beset him at every turn,” according to Merrill Denison, a later owner of the Inn. Dr. Price and his wife operated the Inn during the summers until they sold it in 1910. The site later became Bon Echo Provincial Park.7

    “Dr. Price and his wife lost their only son Donald to complications from an infected root canal, which Price himself had put in. Price went on to write a 1000-page tome on the problems of systemic dental infections from root canals.

    “After selling the Inn, Price established a dental practice in a house at 8926 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. (He lived several blocks away on Lamont Street.) At the height of his career, the practice included several dentists on the first floor and a laboratory on the second floor where Mr. Howdy, a chemist of German origin, performed analyses for fat-soluble activators in hundreds of samples of butter and other foods sent to Dr. Price from all over the world.

    “Dr. Price was a devout Methodist who taught Sunday school at his neighborhood church. However, later in life he expressed dismay over the fact that Christian missionaries were so often the vector for the introduction of modernized foods into native populations.8”

    When I read that today, I was struck at how inventive his family was. But then, living in the boonies, you had to be clever and inventive, or you didn’t amount to much.

    Today most of us live in town, and too many of us rely on Google when we have a question.

    I wonder if the Californians whose power has been cut have been re-discovering alternatives to modern past-times?

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    There’s a related point:

    Technical ability often gets worse over time, even in good times. Forget where I saw it… but one story was about early Intel chips being fine, then later having issues. One was traced to some stray inductance in the case and mounting. The guy who found it went to ask Intel.. The guy at Inel said “The old stuff was designed by the grey beards who really understood this stuff, but they all retired”.

    How many engineers today can design without a CAD package? Even knows how to use a drafting table and slide rule? We are more brittle to failure than ever. Most folks today can’t even cook, forget salt preserving, cheese making, corning, baking bread from solid whole grains… my Dad made sure I could skin and clean an animal and prep the meat, and IN THEORY I can tan hides, but I’ve never tanned leather and my kids can’t do any of it.

    One of my “likely Aw Shit Scenarios” is a big rock fall into the ocean making 200 foot waves that take out global shipping… what happens to our global supply chain when China decends into chaos and war as no food arrives by sea? No oil? No ores? It takes many years to rebuild the shipyards then the ships IF you can.

    And we know rocks WILL fall and some will hit oceans (70% actually).

    Heck just look at how both Windows and Linux have gotten worse, not better, in the last years (cough, SystemD, cough, Windows 10). There’s maybe a dozen folks who understand the systemD code and could maintain it. (I’d assert nobody can really make it work right.. even now.)

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    The other thing you need to include in the calculation is the rate of the sea level rise during the great ice sheet melting episodes.

    It actually happened in several episodes (almost like the climate varies in cycles don’t you know)


    [estimated from the graphic]
    MWP-1A0, c.22,000 to 19,000 years ago – – – – – sea level change from -120 m to -108 m
    3000 years for 12 meter rise
    Then slow rise to about -100 m from 19,000 to 15,000 years ago
    8 meter rise in approx 4000 years
    MWP-1A, 14,600 to 13,500 years ago
    -98 m to -50 m at from 14,600 to about 10,000 years ago
    net change in sea level 48 m in 4,600 years (about 11 mm a year)
    Very fast in geological time scales but irrelevant on human time scales.
    You would have to move up hill a bit over one meter every 10 years to stay ahead of the advancing water.

    MWP-1B, 11,500-11,000 years ago
    From about -60 m to -40 meters
    (net change 20 meters in 500 years or about 40 mm / year or 1.60 inches / year)

    MWP-1C, ~8,200-7,600 years ago.
    From about -20 m to -10 m or net change of about 10 meters in 600 years or about 17 mm per year.

    So how far would you have to move horizontally to increase elevation by 40 mm ?
    Let’s look at one of the flattest places in the US, the bonneville salt flats near the international race course. These two points are along the approach road that takes you onto the salt flats

    starting point
    Lat …………….Long………..Elev Ft…….elev Meters
    40.76231 -113.96835 4223.31 1287.27
    40.76270 -113.88853 4215.11 1284.77
    net altitude change 2.5 meters with a distance of approximately 6754.4 meters between them, giving a slope of approx 0.37 mm per meter.

    On the Bonneville salt flats to gain 40 mm of elevation you would have to walk about 110 meters up slope.

    That means that at the height of the ice age melt, you could stay ahead of the advancing water on the flattest place in the US by walking 110 meters a year away from the water. Or for the boat man he would beach his boat about 1 foot farther inland every day as the water advanced if the shore was as flat as the bonneville salt flats.

  18. Keith MacDonald says:

    The Black Sea Deluge might be a good example.

    Regardless of whether the deluge came from a “catastrophic inflow of Mediterranean seawater into the Black Sea freshwater lake around 7,200 BP”. Or from the Caspian Sea.

    Either way, if you were among the the population that lived in a town or city on the edge of the Black Sea (which means most of the population) it was enough to spoil your day. Unless you were Noah.

  19. H.R. says:

    Power Grab [my emphasis]: “Their languages were probably getting less and less similar, the more time they spent apart. So like we went from computers that used DOS (or some other command line interface) to an icon-based interface, they would have to resort to images of animals to convey to others what they wanted them to think of the clan.”

    That there is one astute observation. I have all sorts of thoughts racing around in my head about ancient writing and communications, particularly nagging is the fact that some elements of sign language are pretty much understood globally.

    Some of those symbols and animal ‘decorations’ on everyday and ceremonial objects are probably saying a lot more than we can imagine. To an icon-using world, a single image might contain several paragraphs of information. For example, think about what the printer icon on your computer represents when you decide to click on it.

    I’m also thinking about the prevalence of snake symbols and pondering say, a turtle symbol. Think about turtles; slow, armored, not particularly aggressive, depending on type, strong beak and bite, plodding but determined, and other characteristics.

    We know of turtles used in various mythologies, IIRC as creation symbols in a couple of cultures. Just how much common information could a turtle symbol convey to the various cultures around the world 30,000 years ago?

    You and E.M. discussed above that maybe those carved images were for common use by diverse traders who came to town and wanted to know where to sell or trade that extra ram they had.

    Hey, we have and use international symbols today. Almost everybody knows that some symbol overlaid with a circle with a line through it means that activity or object is not allowed.

    You are on to something by pointing out that the ‘decorations’ we find on objects were probably universally recognized icons used for more mundane communication. And E.M. pointed out w-a-a-y earlier in this thread that archeologists may be stuck on stupid by assuming any and all symbols they find have some sort of religious meaning. More likely they do not. It’s more likely they are just advertising ;o)
    The Lascaux cave paintings come to mind. We consider them the beginnings of representative art, but perhaps they are the poor efforts of remnants of a much more advanced society that is now under water. Where did they get the idea for their paints? Where are the experiments with various substances to see what works as a paint?

    Lascaux could just as likely be a nadir of earlier peoples rather than the genesis of what we assume are the earliest of people.

  20. tom0mason says:

    The Aurignacians, who lived in the Levant 40,000 years ago, apparently they may have migrated from Europe to the Levant at that time.

    The Aurignacian culture first appeared in Europe some 43,000 years ago and is known for having produced bone tools, artifacts, jewelry, musical instruments, and cave paintings. For years, researchers believed that modern man’s entry into Europe led to the rapid decline of the Neanderthals, either through violent confrontation or wresting control of food sources. But recent genetic studies have shown that Neanderthals did not vanish. Instead, they assimilated into modern human immigrant populations. The new study adds further evidence to substantiate this theory.


  21. tom0mason says:

    Also from https://www.sott.net/article/390278-The-strange-175000-year-old-circle-structures-built-by-Neanderthals-in-French-cave
    The strange 175,000-year-old circle structures built by Neanderthals in French cave.

    They worked by torchlight, following the same procedure hour after hour: wrench a stalagmite off the cave floor, remove the tip and base, and carefully lay it with the others.
    Today we can only guess as to why a group of Neanderthals built a series of large stalagmite structures in a French cave – but the fact they did provides a rare glimpse into our extinct cousin’s potential for social organisation in a challenging environment.

    Gone are the days when we thought of Neanderthals as crude and unintelligent.

  22. tom0mason says:

    And here are a few other reports about Neolithic times and people …
    Searching at sott.net for Neolithic has 261 articles found.

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    A similar example of “universal communication” methods is the hand sign language used by the American Indian cultures. Although their spoken languages had morphed enough that they were distant cousins of each other or even unintelligible to each other, they could still communicate basic needs and information by using the hand signing language that the developed. Similarly there are other manual signing languages which may be very old.


    We see the same thing today in tactical sign languages used by various military organizations and similar but different tactical sign languages used by law enforcement swat teams.

    Our brain is hard wired to interpret facial expressions, that programming even extends across species, we can tell when our dog or cat is angry or happy or irritated by facial expressions and clues like laid back ears or raised hair on the neck. Given those deeply embedded symbolic translation methods it is almost certain primitive cultures also developed universal communication methods of some sort and cave paintings would certainly be high on the list, perhaps as a teaching tool – “hunting mammoth 101” or to teach seasonal game movements or similar essential survival skills.

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    We know some very large very fast pulses happened (Scablands Washington) so there is the question of precision in those rise numbers. Are they just a series of fast pulses averaged over a longer sample size / time… We have some evidence for places being suddenly inundated (Dogger land fishing trawlers bring up artifacts… though that may be from an aprox 8000 BP tsunami)

    Then the melt at 12,800 BC was very rapid and catastrophic as “thousands of nukes worth” of cometary debris explosions happened and impacts into the ice sheet too followed by a carbon mat layer as all sorts of stuff burned. Ice and burned don’t go together that well and we know fire won.

    So I’d not completely rule out rapid pulses and an average slow rate…


    There is an international deaf culture effort to approximate the sign languages and they have developed an international version (not yet fully used). Among other bits, the sign for F is an insult in some cultures (like the OK sign but if you move it…) and the V can be Victory or “something else” to the British depending on orientation and rotation… (Salad is a V on each hand making tossing salad motions, “Lady of the evening” is the same hand shape making, er, ‘less circular’ approach and separate movements… so be careful when asking for a salad… Every language has it’s issues ;-)

    FWIW, I’ve learned SEE (Signed Exact English) and ASL (American Sign Language) though very rusty now. ASL is based on the French system, so the main signs are mutually understood (though finger spelled words don’t work) while the British system is different. So a deaf American can talk with a Frenchman easier that with a Brit… There are other national sign languages around the world but most are based on one of those roots. Local mods and fingerspelled words in the dominant national language are the major barriers / differences.

    FWIW, like most deaf folks, I like ASL far more than SEE. SEE is great for things like transcribing a court proceeding as it IS exactly what was said. ASL is far more expressive and poetic and efficient. One example: In SEE to say “It was a heavy snow” you must sign or finger spell all those words. In ASL you make a claw hand shape and starting high going low move fast and heavy with jerks, or slow and gentile with swaying or anything in between to show the strength and violence of the snow storm, or the gentile fluff… Facial expression also carries your reaction to it in ASL… In ASL you paint a picture in space. In SEE to are just as limited as English…

    The standard international sign is more like an agreed pidgin of only the visual signs, no finger spelled words in any verbal language, though it does have an alphabet and you can fingerspell words if needed, but then all must agree what root language is being spelled.

    Also FWIW, I was interested in learning Hieroglyphics as one point. Figured “Great, a pictograph language, that would be inherently clear”. Wrong. The problem is the way the pictures are used. They can be a sound in some other word (think REBUS so picture of a Bee and numeral 4 is before…) or they can be the general idea of what is pictured (water) or they can be a ‘determinant” so if a sentence was ambiguous as to King or just your boss, you put a pharaoh picture at the end to clarify… There’s even more complicated bits than that (like it’s a Semitic system so only consonants given for sounds you get to guess the vowels, that do matter, thus the determinant… which is fine unless they left that off… and, oh, it changes a lot over time like all languages…)

    So I decided it wasn’t worth it. Especially when I found out that 99% of the stuff written was not interesting. (Which king was slain by what self-pufferied who-ha and who bought grain from whom and what to chant over the dead and similar… Not much high tech advice. The one that does tell how to make geopolymer stone, we don’t know just what the symbols for the minerals actually mean in terms of rocks and chemicals as they only show up in one place, it…)

    Languages look really really fun until you explore enough of them to find out they ALL have the same basic crap problem in them ’cause folks can’t make an efficient language that is clean and then not screw around with it. Talked to a native Greek in a hotel. Said how great it was that their language had a 3000 year history… He ‘splained to me that he hated his Classical Greek and Ancient Greek classes and never could understand it right… So really it is one Greek in name only. Really a trajectory just like all the rest. Same crap showing up now at a faster rate in computer languages. We have several hundred of them and not one is stable over the long haul. Yes, FORTRAN is still in use, but it isn’t the same as FORTRAN IV that I learned…

    IMHO, our biggest problem with remembering our history and our technology is just that we do not (and seemingly can not) have a language that is consistent and transmitted from generation to generation for more than a few lifetimes. About 1000 years, max, and that only in special cases.

    BTW, I have it on good authority that snake is tasty…


    Food and Drink

    Lots of choices at the Roundup. You might try deep-fried rattlesnake or head over to the Chili and Brisket Cook-Off.

    Then there’s this:

    Don’t let your cultural biases get in the way of a tasty treat ;-)

  25. E.M.Smith says:


    On my long list of “postings I ought to do but haven’t” …

    About 40,000 years ago in Europe a very large volcano blew up. It spread a THICK layer of ash over almost ALL the Neanderthal range. There’s a cave in (Italy?) that has lots of Neanderthal remains below the ash layer, then nothing…

    What, IMHO, took out the Neanderthal was just that volcano. Remnants were left in southern Spain / France and a bit of the Levant (likely those folks you cited) who then underwent hybridization and genetic swamping with the other humans around as they moved back into Europe some very long time later (it takes decades to centuries for the place to become nice hunting grounds / forest with game again).

    Neanderthals were the FIRST in several technologies. The original nerds. First to use a chemical process to make a glue for their arrow heads. First to develop a very advance flint napping method. And more. Neanderthals were not dumb, nor brutish. Just very very durable and relatively peaceful (no evidence of organized war). They were not wiped out by the Cro Magnon, but by a volcano, and the survivors just welcomed in The Others. Or moved into the Levant with them.

  26. Power Grab says:

    I always seem to come at things from a weird angle, right?

    As for the hieroglyphs in Egypt and the paintings in caves, I have thought they might have served as classrooms.The knowledge could have remained secret if you only allowed “acceptable” people to go in and be taught. Since they used pictures to record and standardize the knowledge, then if you wanted to share it with foreigners, just train a teacher whose native language matches that of the students and bring them in and hold classes.

    Since paper was scarce, I have also imagined that they might have learned songs or chants to help them remember what they were taught.

    That could help explain why mundane, boring things were represented on the walls. You have to train your clerks and worker bees somehow.

    I think secrecy and preservation of the knowledge was foremost. So if you put your “cheat sheets” on the walls of natural or manmade “caves”, you could accomplish both.

    Here’s another thing I’ve pondered: Perhaps technical subjects were taught using personification. In other words, cosmic phenomena are talked about in terms of gods and goddesses. Maybe they did that so the knowledge stayed veiled even if the uninitiated overheard conversations about such things. Also, I’m guessing a majority of the people find it easier to remember things that are presented as if they’re gossip, not just cut-and-dried technical stuff.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    Languages and their related cultures are interesting for sure. One of the things I find interesting about languages is that a person and their logic and thought processes are somewhat tied to their primary language and the culture associated with it.

    The ability to express new concepts is tied to some extent to the flexibility of the underlying language and how the brain understands concepts and relationships.

    I sometimes wonder if the flexibility of the English language and ease with which it absorbs words from other languages in any way contributed to the development of advanced technology?

    There is a small subset of words that are durable over thousands of years, they tend to be the most essential words and language drift tends to push them toward shorter words. So words in many languages for things like water, food, mother, father etc. are often very similar across related languages.

    In fact this is one of the tools used by linguists to map the branching and relations between language families.

    If two languages have a very similar word for something like water, they are probably in the same language family and one is a fork of the other or share a similar parent language.

    Symbolic languages make it easy to share broad concepts with only a single character or two, but alphabetic languages are a bit more precise and can adapt to rapid change better in my view.

    Chinese would not need 4000+ ideograms if it was an alphabetic language of a core set of symbols for key sounds in the language, but rather its ideograms represent concepts like Man or yin and yang, rather than being tokens for a certain sound in the language.
    (at least that is my understanding)

    I sometimes wonder about things like how many times flint knapping was independently discovered and lost went the skilled artisan who could do it died while hunting a lion and he had held the technology close and never taught another how to do it.

    Great job security in your tribe but bad antifragile behavior as all those technological eggs were in one basket.

  28. Power Grab says:

    @ HR re:
    “That there is one astute observation. ”

    Thanks! :-)

    Some of the things I’ve read about archaeological subjects make the point that similarity in language is one of the surest ways of documenting a connection between disparate peoples.

    On the other hand, if your records are represented by icons, then similarity in language is harder to find.

  29. Another Ian says:


    Re “Yes, FORTRAN is still in use, but it isn’t the same as FORTRAN IV that I learned…”

    As a friend said in the late 1980’s

    “What language will we be programing with in 2000? We’ll be calling it Fortran but I’m not sure what language”

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    A very good 34 minutes on how the Mesozoic ended (K-T Boundary).

    What makes this different is the way it traces the start of the discovery, not from the Dinosaurs, but from Foraminifera in sediments. I’d not realized it started with a great catastrophic dying of forams. Below the K-T boundary, a rich diversity. Above it, few and very small.

    Also 60% of pollen ends along with their species. First to recover are the ferns, then everything else (the other part of the 40%).

    Has implications for the Younger Dryas impact as well. Has anyone looked at the microscopic bits (forams, pollen, etc.) at the YD Boundary?

    As we are still in the shooting gallery, it also illustrates some of the same issues with rampant fires post impact along with a dark cold period and little photosynthesis. Big single impact (K-T) or many diverse impacts (YD) you still get multiple megatons of explosives worth of explosions and ejecta along with fire-starting and global winter.

    It WILL happen again, and we’re fixated on how Socialism can take over via the Global Warming fraud. People are remarkably stupid some times, especially politicians and greedy sociopaths… but I repeat myself…

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