middle east: paleolithic, mesolithic, neolithic, chalcolithiccomparison with sites in india at the same time
THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZARTION
THE MIDDLE EAST
TIME PERIODSLOWER PALEOLITHIC 2,700,000- 200,000 BC
2,700,000- 1200 BC
CHALCOLITHIC 4500- 3300 BC
EARLY BRONZE 3300- 2200 BC
MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC 200,000- 30,000 BC POTTERY NEOLITHIC 4500- 3300 BC UPPER PALEOLITHIC 40,000- 12,000 BC MIDDLE BRONZE 2200- 1550 BC
MESOLITHIC12,000- 5000 BC
PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC 9500- 4500 BC
LATE BRONZE 1550-1200 BC
PALEOLITHIC : SUSTENANCE
2,700,000- 200,000 BC
Throughout the Palaeolithic, humans were hunters, fishers, and gatherers; in fact for the greater part of the Lower Palaeolithic, early humans (Australopithecus, Homo habilis, and Homo erectus) were probably scavengers rather than hunters.It was during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic that hunting really came into its own, and became more efficient, with more specialized tools and communal drives. Hunters concentrated on herbivores such as the horse, bison, deer, goats, and antelopes, depending on the climate which fluctuated through the Ice Ages.
Artists rendition of hunting scene.
PALEOLITHIC : SHELTERPalaeolithic peoples appear to have been highly mobile, or nomadic, moving with the animals that they hunted or with the seasons.Throughout the Lower Palaeolithic, they must have lived mostly in flimsy camps, traces of which are found primarily in open-air sites and river terraces, though some caves were also occupied. In the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave-mouths and rock-shelters were far more intensively and extensively used, but people also continued to live in open-air settlements. In the Lower Palaeolithic, simple windbreaks or crude huts were erected, but by the Upper Palaeolithic there is evidence for light tents sophisticated huts made of hundreds of mammoth bones.
2,700,000- 200,000 BC
An assortment of prehistoric tools provides evidence of the hunting and gathering methods of early peoples. Slabs of bark were often used to gather nuts and berries and functioned as crude dishes or bowls (top left). Reproductions of fishing tackle and arrows believed to have been used around 8000 BC are displayed on the lower left. Recovered tools for digging and cutting (right) are shown with recreated wooden handles. The heads of the adzes are made from flint, as is the fire-starter shown below them.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia
PALEOLITHIC : FIRE
2,700,000- 200,000 BC
Fire appears to have been mastered by 1.5 million years ago, and hearths are commonplace in living-sites of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. Fire was probably used originally for light, warmth, and protection from wild animals, but eventually also for cooking food. By the Upper Palaeolithic it was also being used for heating flint to make it more workable; for changing the colours of mineral pigments; and in some areas for firing clay figurines and vessels.
PALEOLITHIC : BURIALThe first clear evidence of burial practices occur during the Middle Palaeolithic. One Neanderthal burialat Shndr Cave, Iraq appears to have been accompanied by flowers. It is in the Upper Palaeolithic that burial becomes more elaborate, with red ochre, grave goods, and beads, as well as other forms of ornamentation, and tools.
2,700,000- 200,000 BC
The Red Lady of Paviland is a fairly complete Upper Paleolithic-era human male skeleton dyed in red ochre.
PALEOLITHIC : ARTSimilarly, while some rudimentary examples of art are known from the Middle and even the Lower Palaeolithic, it is in the Upper Palaeolithic on every continent that figurative art appears, as rock or cave art or as portable engravings and carvings.
2,700,000- 200,000 BCHorse (c. 15,000-10,000 BC), Lascaux, France
2,580,000- 1,500,000 BC
The Oldowan era is the earliest formally recognized cultural tradition of the Lower Paleolithic and Oldowan tools are the oldest known, appearing first in the Gona and Omo Basins in Ethiopia. They are named after the Olduvai Gorge site in northern Tanzania, and are associated with Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis. Oldowan hominids primarily gathered fruits and vegetables and scavenged medium and large size game. Possibly, like chimpanzees, Oldowan hominids occasionally killed small game to supplement their diet.
OLDOWAN TOOLSThe tools likely came at the end of a long period of opportunistic tool usage: chimpanzees today use rocks, branches, leaves and twigs as tools. The key innovation is the technique of chipping stones to create a chopping or cutting edge. Most Oldowan tools were made by a single blow of one rock against another to create a sharp-edged flake. Flakes were used primarily as cutters, probably to dismember game carcasses or to strip tough plants. Fossils of crushed animal bones indicate that stones were also used to break open marrow cavities. And Oldowan deposits include pieces of bone or horn showing scratch marks that indicate they were used as diggers to unearth tubers or insects.
2,580,000- 1,500,000 BC
Oldowan stone tools were simply broken to give a sharp edge
OLDOWAN SITESYIRON, ISRAEL : 2,400,000 BC
2,580,000- 1,500,000 BC
The oldest occurrence of Oldawan art is in Yiron, in the north of the Israeli Rift where flint artefacts were found.
RIWAT, PAKISTAN :>1,900,000 or 2,500,000 BCThe early human colonization of south Asia is represented by stone tool assemblages in the Siwalik hills at Riwat, near Rawalpindi in Pakistan. Pebble core, flake and chopping tools have been found. ERQ-EL-AHMAR, ISRAEL :1,96,000- 1,78,000 BC Erq-el-Ahmar is a rock-shelter located in the Wadi Khareitoun southeast of Bethlehem. The site had pebble tools belonging to the Oldowan era. UBEIDIYA, ISRAEL :1,400,000- 1,100,000 BC El-`Ubeidiya in the Jordan Rift Valley preserves traces of the earliest migration of Homo erectus out of Africa. The site yielded core-flake (developed Oldowan) tools. KASHAFRUD, IRAN : 800,000 BC Kashafrud Basin provides evidence of the oldest-known human occupation of Iran. There are some collections of simple core and flake stone artifacts made of quartz, indicating skill and good knowledge, since quartzs friable nature requires experience and control.
1,400,000-100,000 BC 100,000 BC
The Acheulean Tradition gets its name from the site of St. Acheul, France. The Acheulean tradition originated in Sub-saharan Africa, and early forms of Homo spread the culture out of Africa into the near east, southern and western Europe. They continued with large, medium and small game hunting, scavenging and gathering. By 500,000 years ago the Acheulean methods had penetrated into Europe, primarily associated with Homo heidelbergensis, where they continued until about 200,000 years ago. The industry spread as far as the Near East and India, but apparently never reached Asia, where Homo erectus continued to use Oldowan tools right up to the time that species went extinct.Bhimbetka, Auditorium Cave, Madhya Pradesh: Acheulian Petroglyph Site, c. 200,000 - 500,000 BC. Acheulian artisans who placed the cupules on Chief's Rock may have seen the rock as a figuration of one or even two elephants. The larger 'elephant' appears to have a flake removed to create the eye. The possible smaller 'elephant' which appears to have two eye chips (noted in highlight) has a very steeply sloping back, which suggests a very young elephant.
ACHEULEAN TOOLSThe tradition is characterized by bifaces i.e. large bifacially flaked stone tools, such as hand axes, cleavers and picks. The most common tool materials were quartzite, glassy lava, chert and flint. Making an Acheulean tool required both strength and skill.
1,400,000-100,000 BC 100,000 BC
The key innovations were chipping the stone from both sides to produce a symmetrical (bifacial) cutting edge the shaping of an entire stone into a recognizable and repeated tool form variation in the tool forms for different tool uses.Acheulean tools show a regularity of design and manufacture that is maintained for over a million years. This is clear evidence of specialized skills and design criteria that were handed down by explicit socialization within a geographically dispersed human culture. 11: http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/stones.html
Phases in the experimental reduction of a hand axe.
ACHEULEAN SITES :INDIALarge cutting tools have been known for a long time in South Asia and have always been considered to be related to the Acheulian. The character of the Indian Acheulian, however, has not been well described and its evolution is poorly known, as there are few sites which are dated. The large cutting tools (especially cleavers but also hand axes) are mostly based on the production of large flakes. They compare well with the early Acheulian from other parts of the world.
1,200,000-100,000BC 69,000 BC1
3 5 6
1 Dina and Jalalpur, Pakistan 3 Adi Chadi Wao & Umrethi, Guj. 5 Navasa, Maharashtra 7 Yudurwadi, Maharashtra 9 Attaripakkam, Tamil Nadu
2 Didwana, Rajasthan 4 Pilkasaur, MP 6 Bori, Maharashtra 8 Isampur, Karnataka
ACHEULEAN SITES :INDIASITE Adi Chadi Wao, Gujarat AGE 69,000 BC
1,200,000-100,000BC 69,000 BCCHARACTERISTICS Final Acheulian
KaldevanhalliUmrethi, Gujarat Didwana, Rajasthan Teggihalli, Karnataka Sadab, Karnataka Nevasa, Maharashtra Yudurwadi, Maharashtra Dina and Jalalpur, Pakistan
174,000- 166,000 BC190,000 BC > 390,000 BC > 350,000- 287,333 BC 290,405 BC > 350,000 BC > 350,000 BC 700,000- 500,000 BC Levallois technique Late Acheulian Late Acheulian tools, red ochre Late Acheulian, Levallois technique Late Acheulian
Bori, MaharashtraIsampur, Karnataka
670,000- 537,000 BC> 1,200,000 BC
Acheulian with trihedrals
UBEIDIYA, ISRAELUbeidiya is an early paleolithic archaeological site located on a low rise in the Jordan Valley of Israel, and is one of the oldest hominid sites outside of Africa. Bone found at the site include extinct species of hippopotamus and deer, and molluscs; hominid teeth were found at the site, unidentifiable to species.The site consists of several identified 'living floors' of concentrations of Acheulean tools such as handaxes, picks, and bifaces, and pebble-core tools and flake-tools.
(I)Core tools of the Oldowan type were found in 'Ubeidiya, Israel (I), as were Acheulian bifaces (II)
Homo erectus populations effortlessly shifted
their stone tool technology between the production of large cutting tools (picks, handaxes, cleavers, etc.) and pebble-core reduction.
201,000-198,000 BCExcavations at the open-air site of Holon, Israel, have provided a unique perspective on hominin behavior, technology, and subsistence strategies in the Middle East.Late Acheulian tools found use trifacial reduction method. The flakes were not derived from hand axes but rather from core reductions.
Tools from the Paleolithic site of Holon, Israel. A: Handaxe. B: Chopper. C: Retouched Flake.
600,000 10,000 BC
Traces of human existence found in Anatolia date back to approximately 2 million years ago. Many sites have remains of the Homo Neanderthal species along with tools and implements.
Karain and Belba cavesDlk MaarackTurkey
ANATOLIA Earth was covered with ice during this age. Human beings were hunters and gatherers,and survived in small groups.
600,000 10,000 BCA totem is any supposed entity that watches over or assists a group of people, such as a family, clan, or tribe.
Their style of living was nomadic.
Totems support larger groups than the individual person. In kinship and Control over fire was gained through the end of the age. descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem. Primitive religious believes called totemism were also Normally this belief is accompanied seen in this age.  by a totemic myth. 
1. Birth Of Civilizations, Microsoft Word Document, www. turkishdaysinny.org
600,000 10,000 BC
Yarimburgaz (The city of Bathonea, near Istanbul) humans (homo-erectus) occupied the area from 800,000 BC. Pre-pottery neolithic naviform tools and cores, made in neolithic potteries. homo-sapiens have occupied the area for the past 15 millennia. Karain and Belbai caves (Antalya) Among the finds are many carved stone and bone tools, moveable art objects, remains of the bones and teeth of Homo Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens, burnt and unburned animal and bread fossils.
Excavation site at Yarimburgaz
Dlk (Gaziantep) Maarack (Antakya)
A Lower Paleolithic chopper from Balitepe, NW Turkey
TABUN CAVE, ISRAELThe Tabun Cave, located at Mount Carmel was occupied intermittently during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic ages. It features one of the longest sequences of human occupation in the Levant. Large amounts of sea sand and pollen traces found suggest a relatively warm climate at the time. The Coastal Plain was narrower than it is now, and was covered with savannah vegetation.B: 40,000 years D: 250,000 years F: 500,000 years
387,000-100,000BC 40,000 BCC: 150,000 years E: 400,000 years G: 1,000,000 years
The cave dwellers of that time used handaxes of flint or limestone for killing animals (gazelle, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and wild cattle) and for digging out plant roots. Over time, the handaxes became smaller and better shaped, and scrapers made of flint were probably used for scraping meat off bones and for processing animal skins.
TABUN CAVE, ISRAELThe upper levels in the Tabun Cave consist mainly of clay and silt, indicating that a colder, more humid climate prevailed; this change yielded a wider coastal strip, covered by dense forests and swamps. The material remains from the upper strata of the cave are of the Mousterian culture (about 200,000 - 45,000 years ago). The large number of fallow deer bones found in the upper layers of the Tabun Cave may be due to the chimney-like opening in the back of the cave which functioned as a natural trap. The animals may have been herded towards it, and fell into the cave where they were butchered. The Tabun Cave contains a Neanderthaltype female, dated to about 120,000 years ago. It is one of the most ancient human skeletal remains found in Israel.
387,000-100,000BC 40,000 BC
Neanderthal woman found at Tabun in Israel
Named after the site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in France, Mousterian describes a style of predominantly flint tools (or industry). The Mousterian industry appeared in much the same areas of unglaciated Europe, the Near East and Africa where Acheulean tools appear. In Europe these tools are most closely associated with Homo neanderthalensis, but elsewhere were made by both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens.
Artists rendition of a neanderthal
MOUSTERIAN TOOLSMousterian toolmakers either shaped a rock into a rounded surface before striking off the raised area to get a wedge shaped flake, or they shaped the core as a long prism of stone before striking off triangular flakes from its length.
Tools included small hand axes, flake tools probably used as knives and toothed instruments produced by making notches in a flake, perhaps used as saws or shaft straighteners. Wooden spears were used to hunt large game such as mammoth and wooly rhinoceros. Scrapers appear for the dressing of animal hides, which were probably used for shoes, clothing, bedding, shelter, and carrying sacks.
MOUSTERIAN TOOLSBy this time the entire process had standardized into explicit stages (basic core stone, rough blank, refined final tool). Variations could be produced by changes at any stage. A consistent goal was to maximize the cutting area which made the process more labour intensive but also meant that the tools could be reshaped or sharpened, so that they lasted longer. Because tools were combined with other components (handles, spear shafts) and used in wider applications (dressing hides, hunting large game), this technology led to manufacturing activities in other materials. Mousterian tool making procedures made possible the accumulation of physical comforts which imply social organization and stability.
2,00,000-40,000 BCReplica stone tools of the Acheulean industry, used by Homo erectus and early modern humans, and of the Mousterian industry, used by Neanderthals.
Mousterian tool kits often have quite different contents from site to site., which either means that different groups of Neanderthal men had varying toolmaking traditions or that they were used by the same peoples to perform different functions.
MOUSTERIAN SITES :INDIAThe number of Mousterian sites are few. In general, however, the middle Palaeolithic populations occupied the same regions and habitats as the preceding Acheulian populations.Stone tools assemblage from the central Narmada Basin
Mousterian stone tool assemblages have been found at: SITE 16R Dune, Didwana, Thar Desert, Rajasthan Hathnora, Narmada, Madhya Pradesh Patpara, Middle Son Amnapur, Narmada, Madhya Pradesh TIME 150,000- 100,000 BC 200,000- 300,000 BC CHARACTERISTICS Mousterian tools Hominid cranium (around 200,000 years old) represents an advanced stage of Homo erectus or early stage of Homo sapiens
>103,000 BC (100,000- Blade and flake blade middle 150,000 BC) Palaeolithic tools 74,000 BC Middle Palaeolithic tools
QAFZEH CAVE, ISRAELA dozen or so remains found in the Qafzeh Cave are the oldest specimens of modern humans in the Near East. This precedes the known dates for the existence of Neanderthals in the region, which goes on to prove that modern humans and Neanderthals were actually contemporaries, at least for some time, and do not have any direct ancestral linkages.Neanderthal skull (left) and modern human skull (right)
The fossils of Skhul and Qafzeh found at Qafzeh cave, Israel are the oldest Homo
sapiens sapiens of theMiddle East.
KEBARA CAVE, ISRAELKebara Cave is an Israeli limestone cave locality of the Wadi Kebara. Excavations in this part of the world have revealed skeletal remains of Neanderthals.
The most significant discovery made at Kebara Cave was that in 1982 of the most complete Neanderthal skeleton found to date.A throat bone called the hyoid, needed for speech, was found in the Neanderthal remains. This points at the fact that they could speak, but did not have an effective communicative language, which eventually led to their downfall.
Neandarthal skeleton found in Kebara Cave
KEBARA CAVE, ISRAEL
The 4 meter thick cave deposit has Levallois stone artifacts, many hearths, and midden deposits. The oldest occupations at Kebara Cave are thought to be associated with the Middle Paleolithic Aurignacian and Mousterian traditions, and range between 60,000 and 48,000 years ago. These oldest levels yielded thousands of animal bone- primarily mountain gazelle and Persian fallow deer- much with cut marks, burned bones, hearths, ash lenses and stone artefacts. 
3. www.archaeology.about.com by K. Kris Hirst
SHANIDAR CAVE, IRAQThe cave site of Shanidar is located in the Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan in Iraq. It yielded the first adult Neanderthal skeletons in Iraq, dating between 60-80,000 BC. The skull had a flat back and the body had many deformities and injuries. Around 9 more such remains were also found. The Neanderthals buried their dead, and were ritualistic as well One of the buried skeletons has traces of plants and flower pollen next to the body.
Injury signs on the skeletons of the Neanderthals point at the possibility of a clash between the Neanderthals and modern humans.Shanidar Cave
Neandarthal Skull Shanidar 1
The vast Eurasian and Iranian Steppes were an unbroken grassland stretching from the Gulf of Aqaba to Mongolia, rich with big game like antelope and bovids. Upper Paleolithic era hunters soon began expanding along its length. Climate shifted and became colder, more arid and dry, as drought hit the region, turning it into a desert, effectively closing the Saharan Gateway for the next 20, 000 years, and most hunter gatherers remained in the Middle East. These semi-arid plains were a part of an ancient superhighway stretching from France to Korea.
A small group of these hunter gatherers kept moving north of the Middle East toward Anatolia and thereafter formed the founding settlements of this region.Artist's impression of the Hunter gatherers of the Middle East.
They hunted in groups, and had temporary shelters, and no organized activities or social structures yet.
UPPER PALEOLITHICIn the Upper Paleolithic period Neanderthal man disappears and is replaced by the Homo sapiens .It marked the beginnings of communal hunting and extensive fishing, and the first conclusive evidence of belief systems centering on magic and the supernatural come from this time.
40,000- 12,000 BC
Catalogued tools from the Upper paleolithic era.
Pit houses, the first man-made shelters, were built, sewn clothing was worn, and sculpture and painting originated. Tools were of great variety, including flint and obsidian blades and projectile points.Characteristic of the period were hunting and fishing settlements along rivers and on lake shores, where fish and molluscs were abundant.
Portable art from the Upper paleolithic era.
UPPER PALEOLITHIC :INDIADue to arid climate and sparse vegetation, human populations faced restricted food resources in this period. This explains the limited number of upper Palaeolithic sites in the arid and semi-arid regions. However, excellent archaeological evidence of this period comes from the Belan and Son valleys in the northern Vindhyas , Chota Nagpur plateau in Bihar, upland Maharashtra , Orissa and from the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh. SITE Baghor I, Son Valley Chopani Mando, Belan Valley TIME 8,000 BC 23,000- 17,000 BC
40,000- 12,000 BC
Cave art from the Upper paleolithic era.
CHARACTERISTICS Stone tools used for food processing, hunting, craftwork Habitation site with cultural sequence from Upper Palaeolithic to Neolithic.
Budha Pushkar, Thar Desert Paisra, Munger, Chotta Nagpur
40,000-12,000 BC 7,000 BC
Parallel Sided blades struck from Prismatic cores. Blade and Burin tools
EMIRIANThe Emirian culture represents the transition between the Middle Paleolithic and the Upper Paleolithic in the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine).
40,000- 12,000 BC
There are also numerous stone blade tools, including some curved knives similar to those found in the Chatelperronian culture of Western Europe.The Emirian eventually evolved into the Antelian culture, still of Levalloise tradition but with some Aurignacian influences. 
Emirian stone tools www. adias-uae.com
AURIGNACIAN ART INFLUENCE
32,000- 26,000 BC
The Aurignacian culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Paleolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia, which exerted a strong influence on the Middle East.Aurignacian flint tools were more varied than those of earlier industries, employing finer blades struck from prepared cores (typical 8 shape) rather than using crude flakes. The people also made pendants, bracelets and ivory beads, and three-dimensional figurines to ornament themselves. The Aurignacian tool industry is characterized by complex art, which includes figurines depicting faunal representations of the time period associated with now-extinct mammals, including mammoths, rhinoceros, and the European horse, along with anthropomorphized depictions that could be inferred as some of the earliest evidence of religion.The Lion Man of the Aurignacian culture.
The oldest known example of figurative art, the Venus of Hohle Fels, comes from this culture.
MESOLITHICThe Mesolithic peoples were hunter-fishergatherers, like their predecessors, but they often focused on very different species (such as red deer and boar rather than reindeer) because of the change to a more to a more temperate climate at the end of the Ice Age. Their toolkits reflect these changing conditions, and are characterized by the presence of geometric microliths. These they used not only as barbs on arrows but also probably in composite tools, mounted with resin on to handles or shafts to be used as sickles and other plant-processing implements. There were also stone axes or adzes used in woodworking. It was the middle east Mesolithic people, such as the Natufians of Palestine, who took the first decisive steps towards producing food and adopting a sedentary lifestyle.Mesolithic rock art
MESOLITHIC :INDIAIncreased food security during this period led to reduction in nomadism and to seasonally sedentary settlement. This is reflected in the large size of Mesolithic sites, the marked growth in human population, and the presence of large cemeteries. The explanation for this dramatic increase in human settlements lies in the increased rainfall and its effect on the growth of plant and animal life.
12,000-5000 BCThe first human colonization of the Ganga plains took place during this period, as proved by the presence of more than two hundred archaeological sites in Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh.Similarly, the effective colonization of the deltaic region of West Bengal and West Coast, particularly around Mumbai and in Kerala also took place during this period.
Microliths, are tiny tools made from microblades of one to five cm length, by blunting one or Mesolithic hunting more sides with steep retouch, scenes in red, Urden, India were extensively used. www.chenzhaofu.cn
MESOLITHIC :INDIAThe first evidence of intentional disposal of the dead comes from this period. The dead were buried in graves both in extended and crouched position. Sometimes two individuals were buried in a single grave. The dead were occasionally provided with grave offerings which include chunks of meat, grinding stones, stone, bone and antler ornaments, and pieces of haematite.
Mesolithic human burials have been found at Bagor in Rajasthan, Langhnaj in Gujarat, Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh, and Lekhahia, Baghai Khor, Morhana Pahar, Sarai-Nahar-Rai, Mahadaha and Damdama in Uttar Pradesh.Prehistoric human colonization of IndiaMesolithic Sites in India
ANATOLIA Glacier covering the earth surface started melting, and climatic conditions of today first appeared. Transformation of humans from hunters and gatherers into manufacturers also started in this age It is considered that primitive farming was also first done in this speriod Hunting and the collecting of plants continued to be the main supply of food, but the human began to store his food in storages for later consumption
10,000 8000 BC
Lizard Urfa Excavation
ANATOLIA TOOLSPottery and small tools first appeared, bows and arrows were used. Animals became smaller in size and faster than before, so human had to develop his stone tools and weapons in a lighter and more practical form. More tools and weapons which were made of bones and wood and also some other personal ornamentation and daily use items such as combs. One of the most interesting usages of stone of this period is what is called Microliths that are small tools made from Obsidian and flints. Domestication of Animals is the main development of this period; the Dog was domesticated during the Mesolithic Age.
10,000 8000 BC
Mesolithic Tools www.google.com
Natufian Culture thrived in the Near Easts Levant Region (the Eastern Mediterranean) Warming temperatures gave rise to new plant foods which enabled nomadic hunter-gatherers to settle down in large communities based on foraging. Its members were probably the first to domesticate dogs.Cemeteries yield clues of social hierarchy in which jewellery, burial artifacts and grave markers serve as indicators of status.
Artists rendition of Natufians working in the fields.
Natufians developed basic agricultural skills, such as the use of stone bladed sicklesThe focus shifted from hunting, but when they hunted, the did so in a more effective and cooperative manner. The knowledgeable Natufians compensated for the drastic change in climate around 9000 B.C. by supplementing plants of their traditional food crops. This heralded the age of farming dominated societies all over the Middle East and an agrarian lifestyle all over the world.
Natufian reaping tool in which small, sharp blades mightve been set.
They grew mostly cereals, often clearing wild scrubs to experiment with new seeds.
NATUFIAN CULTUREOpen settlements that were of modest size, with some traces of round huts, some of which were built on stone foundations, although caves are also known to have still been inhabited. Traces of normal developments of flint industries based essentially upon local Upper Palaeolithic antecedents, both influenced in their food getting by the already intensified food-collecting practices of immediate predecessors Sheep used at the incipient level, hints of flint sickles, ground-stone mullers, mortars and pestles, and probable hoe blades suggest that food plants also received marked attention.
Ruins of supporting wall of an ancient Natufian house
THE FERTILE CRESCENTStretches in graceful curve from the Nile Valley, across the Syrian Desert, to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of modern Iraq. Birthplace of irrigated agriculture and urban civilization approximately 12,000 years ago.Shifting climate and growing populations made hunter-gatherer sustenance insufficient and spurred the shift to agriculture. Region was home to wild crops (barley) that could be supplemented and wild animals (goats and sheep) that could be domesticated. Incorporated two of the most important regions : Mesopotamia and the Levant.The Fertile Crescent (Green)
Jarmo is an archeological site located in northern Iraq on the foothills of the Zagros Mountains. The site of Jarmo is approximately three to four acres (12,000 to 16,000 m) in size and lies at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level in a belt of oak and pistachio woodlands. The oldest known agricultural community in the world, dating back to 7000 BC. There were approximately 100 to 150 people who lived in the village. The people reaped their grain with stone sickles, stored their food in stone bowls. They grew emmer and einkorn wheat, barley, and lentils. In addition to their agriculture, they also foraged for wild plants such as the field pea, acorns, pistachio nuts, and wild wheat
possessed domesticated goats, pig, sheep, and dogs.. The later levels of settlement contained evidence of clay pottery.
Excavations at Jarmo
JARMO, IRAQTwenty permanent mud-walled houses were excavated. which had: 1. stone foundations 2. tauf walls 3. reed bedding
A primitive form of commerce existed. Bone tools, especially awls, were abundant. Bone spoons and beads were also foundJarmo is one of the oldest sites at which pottery has been found. This pottery is hand made, simply designed with thick sides, treated with vegetable solvents. There are clay figures, zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, including figures of pregnant women (fertility Sitting figure, Hassuna, goddesses) similar to the Mother 6000 B.C. www.wikipedia.com Goddess.Bone awls
Jarmo as a settlement was a social and economical example for future Mesopotamian cultures that would arise around 4000 BC. 1. www.mnsu.edu
9500- 3300 BC
The Neolithic has traditionally been associated with the origins of farming and a sedentary way of life, together with the use of pottery and of ground (polished) stone tools. In the Near East food production developed before pottery occurred (thus giving rise to the terms Pre-Pottery Neolithic and Pottery Neolithic). The Neolithic also saw the rise of the first true villages, with houses being built of different materials, for example, mud-brick houses in the LevantThese early farming tools date from about 6000 BC. The axe, bottom, was used for clearing; flint sickles, left, were used for harvesting cereal crops; a flat rock and rounded stone, centre, were used for grinding flour; and perforated clay slabs, upper right, were probably used to ventilate bread ovens.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia
NEOLITHICThe mobile hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic knew how to make pottery, but did not generally do so, as it is too heavy to carry; their receptacles were undoubtedly made of leather and basketry. Pottery, thus a natural development for sedentary peoples, was widely used by the neolithic people.
9500- 3300 BC
Pottery was often richly decorated with incised, stamped, or painted motifs. Neolithic art also included a wide variety of figurines (often of females, as in the Mother Goddess).The cultivation of cereals and domestication of animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs was adopted, not as a brilliant discovery, but as a necessity caused by the pressures of a rising population.Pottery excavated at Jericho, dating from the period 3300-1550BC
9500- 3300 BC
Toranagallu ash mound
SITEKashmir Neolithic Culture Ganga Valley Neolithic Culture Eastern Neolithic Culture Peninsular Neolithic Culture
TIME3,000 BC 2500 BC 2200 BC 3,000 BC
CHARACTERISTICSLived in pits dug into the compact Karewa loess Convergence of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic peoples Pointed-butt celts and cord impressed pottery Ash Mounds
JHUSI & LAHURADEWA :INDIA
7000- 2500 BCLahurdewa, in the central ganga plain is surrounded by water bodies. Availability of water and well-suited soil conditions would have been determining factors for the locations. early innovations associated with the ceramic types and other artefacts cereal domestications and some sort of cultivations at quite an early date. Appearance of morphologically distinct form of rice, comparable to cultivated Oryza sativa - an early beginning of agriculture. There is a strong possibility that people have been living in Ganga Plains since late Palaeolitic and interacted with the communities living in the Vindhyas,Himalayas and other areas.
Prehistory in India, d oc. By VN Misra
The Neolithic phase at Jhusi is characterised by hand made pottery bone tools and arrowheads stone tools. A big structure that might have been used as hearth-cum-pottery-kiln has also been found.
MEHRGARH :INDIAMehrgarh is a Neolithic site in Baluchistan, Pakistan, and one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in south Asia. Mehrgarh is now seen as a precursor to the Indus Valley Civilization. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600 BC, when it was abandoned.The settlement was transformed from a cluster of small mudbrick storage units with evidence of domestication of cattle and barley to a substantial Bronze Age village at the centre of its own distinctive craft zone. The absence of early residential structures has been interpreted by some as further evidence of the sites early occupation by mobile early humans possible travelling through the nearby pass seasonally.
7000- 2600 BC
Although Mehrgarh was abandoned by the time of the emergence of the literate urbanised phase of the Indus Civilisation, its development illustrates the development of the civilisations subsistence patterns as well as its craft and trade specialisation.
Early farming village in Mehrgarh, c. 7000 BCE, with houses built with mud bricks
MEHRGARH :INDIAThe earliest settled portion of Mehrgarh was in an area called MR.3, in the northeast corner of the 495-acre occupation. It is a small farming and pastoralist village dated between 7000-5500 BC, with mud brick houses and granaries. The early Mehrgarh residents used local copper ore, basket containers lined with bitumen, and an array of bone tools. They grew six-row barley, einkorn and emmer wheat, jujubes and dates. Sheep, goats and cattle were herded at Mehrgarh beginning during this early period. The most recent studies at Mehrgarh showed they even had a pretty good grasp of evidence of dentistry. Later periods included craft activities such as flint knapping, tanning, and bead production; also, a significant level of metal working.
7000- 2600 BC
A figurine from Mehrgarh, c. 3000 BCE
The hilltop mound, around 300 meters in diameter and some 15 meters high, contains a series of circular structures or temples, carbon dated to a period between 9,500 and 7,500 B.C. Structures were made by first building an "artificial" mound of debris, then hollowing it out to create a sunken chamber. Each contains a series of T-shaped limestone monoliths, the tallest of which are upto five meters high. These freestanding stones are anthropomorphic, with the top of the T representing the head of the figure. The stem of the T represents the body, with arms carved in light relief on either side.
Fox Urfa Excavations
URFA, ANATOLIA :ARCHITECTURE
The excavated architectural remains were of long rectangular houses containing two to three parallel flights of rooms. These are adjacent to a similarly rectangular ante-structure, subdivided by wall projections, which should be seen as a residential space. This type of house is characterized by thick, multilayered foundations made of large angular cobbles A house and boulders, the gaps filled with smaller stones so www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk as to provide a relatively even surface to support the superstructure. These foundations are interrupted every 1-1.5m by underfloor channels, at right angles to the main axis of the houses, which were covered in stone slabs but open to the sides. They served the drainage, aeration or the cooling of the houses In the northwest part of the village a cult complex had been cut into the hillslope The site Monolithic were built into its dry stone walls, its www.turkeyforholidays.com interior contained two free-standing pillars of 3 m height.
URFA, ANATOLIA :SCULPTUREThe local limestone was carved into numerous statues and smaller sculptures, including a more than life-sized bare human head with a snake or sikha-like tuft. There is also a statue of a bird. Some of the pillars also bore reliefs, including ones of human hands. The free-standing anthropomorphic figures of limestone excavated at Nevali Cori belong to the earliest known life-size sculptures. Several hundred small clay figurines (about 5 cm high), most of them depicting humans, have been interpreted as votive offerings. They were fired at temperatures between 500-600C, which suggests the development of ceramic firing technology before the advent of pottery proper. www.google.comsculptures
9500-7500BCMany of the monoliths are covered in relief carvings of wild animals, usually either predatory or dangerous, such as lions, snakes, foxes and scorpions. The floors of the temple chambers are of burnt lime, and benches line the walls. These massive stones were quarried, cut to shape, carted into place and sculpted to such a high standard by Stone Age man, obviously using only stone and flint tools, is remarkable. Some other Mesolithic sites are Sarklimagara cave in Gaziantep region, Baradiz cave from Burdur area and open air settlements and cemeteries of Sogut Tarlasi, Biris near Bozova.
Modern day Urfa
T shaped limestone monolith
9000 B.C.Located near Jordan river in West Bank of Palestinian territories. Site has been inhabited ever since the founding of the Natufian Culture.
Mesolithic city plan is similar to that of atalhyk Site had abundant water supply, good climate and central locationSite shows signs of violent demolition in 15th century B.C. Existed since before pottery and agriculture.Dwelling foundations unearthed at Tell-es Sultan in Jericho.
JERICHO : ARCHITECTUREDuring 8350- 7350 BC circular houses of mud brick were built. From 7200 BC the houses were rectangular in shape with plastered walls and floors. Population in such houses as many as 1500.
Settlement surrounded by massive stone wall as a defense mechanism against invaders, animals or floodsA single gate had towers flanking it on either side
Densely packed houses were accessible by narrow allies.There were buildings for worship and storage
Floor levels of houses were below ground level and generally had two steps descending into the main room.Benches ran along most walls.
Neolithic watch tower built and destroyed in about 7000-8000 B.C. in Jericho
BURUSHASKI LANGUAGE, INDIA/PAKISTAN
Burshaski is a language isolate, spoken till date by people in northwest Kashmir, but has a history around 10,000 years old.Linguists believe that Burushaski is linked to ancient languages like Basque, the extinct Sumerian tongue and some North American languages.
A woman from Burosho
Usually Burushaski is not written. Occasionally, the Urdu version of the Arabic alphabet is used, but a fixed orthography does not exist.
Karakoram range, where the Burosho people live
Ancient genetic markers of migrating humans suggest how these different language pockets might actually be linked.
AIN GHAZAL, JORDANAin Ghazal is a Neolithic site located in North-Eastern Jordan, on the outskirts of Amman. In its prime time around 7000 BC, it extended over 10-15 hectares and was inhabited by approximately 3000 people (four to five times its contemporary - Jericho). After 6500 BC, however, the population dropped sharply to about one sixth within only a few generations, probably due to environmental degradation 'Ain Ghazal was set on terraced ground at a valley-side, Rectangular mud-brick houses that accommodated a square main room and a smaller anteroom. Walls were plastered with mud on the outside, and with lime plaster inside that was renewed every few years. Being an early farming community, the 'Ain Ghazal people cultivated cereals, legumens and chickpeas in a field above the village They herded domesticated goats. However, they still hunted wild animals - deer, gazelle etc [11. www.wikipedia.org
7250- 5000 BC
An ain ghazal figure
6300 5500 BC
atal Hyk was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement found in Southern Anatolia, or present day Turkey. Sophisticated society with many trade links. Ruins yield materials from the Iranian highlands, Syria and the Levant region.
It had an average population of between 5,000 to 8,000 people.
Artists rendition of the city of atal Hyk
ATAL HYK :ARCHITECTURE
6300 5500 BC
Mud-brick houses were crammed together in an agglutinative manner.No footpaths or streets were used between dwellings, which were accessed by holes in the ceiling, and were reached by interior and exterior ladders. Each main room served as an area for cooking and daily activities. In good weather, daily activities may also have taken place on the rooftops, which conceivably formed an open air plaza.
Typical homes feature benches, raised platforms, domed ovens and grain storage rooms.On-site restoration of a typical interior
There are no houses with distinct features, which points to an absence of a social-class system.
ATAL HYK :ART
6300 5500 BCVivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement, on interior and exterior walls. Predominant images include men with erect phalluses, hunting scenes, red images of the now extinct aurochs (wild cattle) and stags, and vultures swooping down on headless figures Heads of animals, especially of cattle, were mounted on walls. Carefully made figurines, carved and molded from marble, blue and brown limestone, schist, calcite, basalt, alabaster, and clay, represent the Great Goddess
Mother goddess seated on a throne, flanked by two lionesses, as depicted in the above sculpture
Arrows, spearheads, long knives and daggers were made out of imported flint and obsidian.
Obsidian mirrors, animal figurines, monochromatic pottery characterize their art.
ATAL HYK :BURIALSThe people of atalhyk buried their dead within the village, in burial pits. The bodies were tightly flexed before burial, and were often placed in baskets or wrapped in reed mats.
6300 5500 BC
In some cases, graves were disturbed and the individuals head removed from the skeleton.Some skulls were plastered and painted with ochre to recreate human-like faces, a custom more characteristic of Neolithic sites in Syria and at Neolithic Jericho than at sites closer by. In some burials, remains are accompanied by funerary items like food, mirrors and pottery.
Infant skeleton excavated from a atal Hyk burial site
CHALCOLITHIC AGEThe phase when copper metallurgy was being adopted by Neolithic cultures in the Near East and southeastern Europe is sometimes called the Copper Age (or Chalcolithic or Eneolithic). Metallurgy occurred first in the Fertile Crescent, where it gave rise to the Bronze Age in the 4th millennium BC.
Copper may originally have been a prestige material since, unlike stone, copper ore is not common and needed to be mined and smelted (heated to separate the metal from the rock).
Copper ware from the Chalcolithic age
CHALCOLITHIC AGECopper, obtained from nodules of locally available copper or from copper ores, was used to make ornaments and weapons (such as flat axeblades), but was too soft or brittle to be truly useful. It could be cold-hammered into shape to make rough tools or beads; or it could be cast. Temperatures of about 800 C that were required for smelting were provided by the hightemperature kilns developed for firing fine pottery.
Casting made it possible to produce larger and Chalcolithic mine in Timna Park, Negev Desert, Israel. more complex objects such as hammer-axes. www.wikipedia.org
Crucibles and slag dating from the 4th millennium BC have been found, and copper mines are known from a number of sites in the Near East.
CHALCOLITHIC :INDIASITE IndoGangetic Divide and upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab Ahar, Mewar region, Rajasthan Characteristics
ochre-coloured pottery (OCP) Rammed earth floors, post-holes, baked and Unbaked bricks Pottery with incised designs, graffiti, paintings in black pigment Cultivation of rice and barley Domestication of animals Houses made of stone, mud-brick and mud, Massive foundations more than a metre in width, Walls of mud Wares made of well-levigated clay, slipped and burnished surface, well baked and sturdy. technology based on Copper, Copper objects include flat axes, choppers etc The houses were generally made of wattle-and-daub as represented by postholes, burnt lumps of clay with bamboo and reed impressions, and compact mud floors. They were usually of rectangular shape.
Narhan, Northern Vindhyas and the middle and lower Ganga valley
CHALCOLITHIC :INDIASITE Kayatha, Madhya Pradesh Characteristics
The Kayatha culture people lived in small huts having well-rammed floors cultivated wheat, barley and domesticated animals, possibly even horses. typical ceramic, chocolate-slipped, sturdy, well baked wares
Malwa, Malwa region, Madhya PradeshJorwe, Western Maharashtra
wattle-and-daub houses of rectangular and round shape, burnt wooden posts, clay plaster with bamboo, reed impressions cultivated cereals, legumes, oil seeds and fruits painted designs are primarily geometric such as triangles and lozenges (diamond shaped)large villages like Bahal and Nevasa Rectangular structures, measuring 5 3 m with low mud walls, rows with the longer axis in a roughly east-west orientation.
HACILAR, TURKEY Hacilar is an early human settlement in south western Turkey. It has been dated back 7040 BC at its earliest stage of development. Archaeological remains indicate that the site was abandoned and reoccupied on more than one occasion in its history. BEYCESULTAN, TURKEY Beycesultan, an archaeological site in western Anatolia, was occupied during a long sequence between Late Chalcolithic to Late Bronze Age (Hittite Empire) and then also in the Byzantine period.ALIAR HYK, TURKEY The site was settled from the Chalcolithic period in the fourth millennium BC until the Phrygian period in the first millennium BC. Aliar later developed into a walled town. Eventually it became the most significant city in the region. It was a center for trade attracting merchants from Assyria at the beginning of the second millennium BC. CAN HASAN, TURKEY Can Hasan was a late Neolithic settlement dating from 6500 BCE, inhabited into the Chalcolithic period.
ARCHITECTURE :VILLAGEIn Hacilar, housing consisted of grouped units surrounding an inner courtyard. Each dwelling was built on a stone foundation to protect against water damage. Walls were made of wood and daub or mud-brick that was mortared with lime. Wooden poles also supported the flat roof. It is generally believed that these houses had an upper story made of wood. The interiors were finished smooth with plaster and were rarely painted. Over time changes were made to the housing units; Querns, braziers and mortars appeared in the floors. Recesses in walls were also put to good use as cupboards. The kitchen was separated from the living rooms and the upper levels were used for granaries and/or workshops.
A mother goddess statuette from Canhasan, in Turkey. This figurine, along with other mother goddess figurines found in Canhasan, is thought to be an evidence of a continual matriarchal society in central Anatolia during the Chalcolithic age.
ARCHITECTURE :DEFENCEVillage architecture also provides evidence for the necessity of communal defence, which was accomplished by means of a circuit wall oras in Haclara continuous wall formed by the outside rear walls of contiguous houses. At Haclar and Can Hasan, the heavy groundfloor chambers of these houses had no doorways and were evidently entered by ladders from a more fragile upper story.
Improvements in architecture, however, can be seen at Mersin, where one of its later phases is represented by a neatly planned and constructed fortress. The steep slope of the mound was Excavation site at Tell Brak, Syria. www. mcdonald.cam.ac.uk crowned by a continuous defensive wall, pierced by slit windows and entered through a gateway protected by flanking towers. Inside, there was formally arranged accommodation for the garrison and other evidence of military discipline as conceived in 5200 BC.
BRONZE AGEBronze Age is the period which corresponds to the introduction of metallurgy, for making tools, weapons, and ceremonial objects. Sometimes, low percentages of other elements were naturally present in the copper ore, and were found to make the metal easier to cast and harder when set. Adding about 10 per cent tin to the copper, a far harder alloybronzewas produced, which was easy to cast (it flowed more easily) and could be made into many different shapes. It also held a hard, sharp cutting edge which could be resharpened, while worn or broken tools could be melted down and recast. Most bronze objectsswords, spearheads, axes, knives, pins, and broocheswere made by casting. Other objects such as shields were made by hammering sheets of metal into shape.
A drawing of an early cuneiform carving of a procession by Hittites in Boazkale, Turkey.
BRONZE AGEModern experiments have shown that bronze tools and weapons are generally not much sharper than their equivalents in flint. The adoption of bronze was, therefore, probably closely linked to social status: not only were the materials sometimes difficult to obtain (and hence presumably expensive), but bronze is a shiny gold-coloured metal which can also be richly decorated. Like gold itself, it was an ideal vehicle for the display of personal power and wealth, and was popular among the prehistoric aristocracy for jewellery and ornaments, as well as for often profusely decorated weapons and for tools.
Because the metal was highly valued, objects made of bronze were often hidden in hoards or buried with the dead, and it is these sources that have yielded most of the Bronze Age artifacts known today. The assemblage shown here consists of objects of personal adornment.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2003
The agricultural way of life, established in the Neolithic period, continued. Ploughing appears to have become widespread, as shown by remains of implements as well as plough-marks under barrows, and depictions of ploughing in the rock art of the period.
As populations grew and expanded, pressure on land increased, and agriculture spread. Soil erosion also increased.Another trend towards the end of the Bronze Age was a growing emphasis on fortifications. Bronze armour and helmets, and new types of weapons such as the very effective slashing sword, suggest that warfare had come to the fore.
Bronze Age weapons include slender spearheads, swords, and knives.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2003
MESOPOTAMIAMesopotamia, located in a region that included parts of what is now eastern Syria, south-eastern Turkey, and most of Iraq, lay between two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The name Mesopotamia is a Greek word meaning between the rivers. Its oldest known communities date from 7000 BC. The world's earliest urban civilizations arose here around 3500 BC. Mesopotamia, known as the cradle of civilization, was the centre of Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Chaldean civilizations.
In the 6th century BC, it became part of the Persian Empire, at the time the largest empire in the world.
MESOPOTAMIA :TIMELINETime period/ Era 5900 4400 BC 4400 3200 BC 3100 2900 BC Pre-pottery Neolithic Ubaid Uruk Jemdet Nasr Pottery Neolithic Chalcolithic Early Bronze
5900-1100 B.C.Middle Bronze Late Bronze
2900 2350 BC2350 2193 BC 2119 2004 BC 2000 1800 BC
Sumerian city statesAkkadian Ur (3rd dynasty) Assyrian
1800 1700 BC1600 1200 BC
BabylonianKassite (Middle Assyrian)www.wikipedia.org
1200 1100 BC
Collapse of Bronze Age
3000- 1650 BC
Ebla was part of a flourishing north Syrian civilization contemporaneous with early Egypt and Mesopotamia. Excavations unearthed Ebla's royal archives, a collection of more than 14,000 inscriptions on clay tablets dating from 2500-2200 BC. They were written in the cuneiform script developed by Sumerians, but were adapted to the language of Ebla's Semitic inhabitants Ebla was an important commercial centre ruled by a merchant oligarchy that elected a monarch and entrusted the city's defence to paid soldiers. It was a polytheistic society. The Akkadians destroyed Ebla around 2300 BC. Several centuries after its destruction by the Akkadians, Ebla managed to recover some of its importance, and had a second apogee lasting from c.1850 to 1600 BC.The image shows part of the excavated city of Ebla. Most of the ruins have been given a top layer of new bricks. Some stones used to grind flour are also seen in the picture.
TEPE GAWRA, IRAQ (UBAID)Tepe Gawra is a Mesopotamian city in northern Iraq, fifteen kilometers from the modern town of Mosul. The earliest occupations at Tepe Gawra are dated to the mid-sixth millennium BC, the Ubaid period in Mesopotamia.
Burials at Tepe Gawra reveal social stratification, expressed by the presence of beads of imported lapis lazuli as well as ivory, etc. A storage facility called the "round house" stored grain and weaponry.
Tomb in Tepe Gawra www.cnes.cla.umn.edu
TEPE GAWRA, IRAQ (SUMER)Eridu is the oldest known Sumerian city, 22 kilometers south of Nasiriya ,during the Ubaid through Ur periods of southern Mesopotamia. According to Sumerian tradition the city belonged to the god Enki. Eridu is best known for its temples, called ziggurats. The earliest temple, dated to the Ubaid period about 5570 BC, consisted of a small room with a possible cult niche and an offering table. Temples were built in the classical early Mesopotamian format of tripartite plan, with a buttressed facade and a long central room with an altar. The city was planned on the basis of caste and economic stature with the rich in the center and the poor surrounding Ziggurat them.
Enki the God of Eridu
SOURCESReaders Digest Vanished Civilizations, The Readers Digest Association Limited, 2002 Prehistoric human colonization of India, V N MISRA Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Standard 2003 en.wikipedia.org www.handprint.com www.originsnet.org www.britannica.com maps.nationalgeographic.com archaeology.about.com ancientneareast.tripod.com www.history-world.org