Ancient Anatolia: Cradle of Civilization?
As humans, we’ve progressed from living in primitive dwellings to villages, then full-scale civilizations. This shift has been gradual but certainly significant.
How exactly did the concept of civilization come about? Unlike simple villages, civilizations are much more structurally and socially advanced. Let’s dive deeper into what makes up a civilization and where the first civilization originated.
What is a civilization?
A civilization is the most advanced stage of human development and societal organization. While experts debate the primary characteristics of a civilization, the main attributes include:
- Cities or “urban settlements”
- Social classes
- Agriculture and animal husbandry
- Trade and production
- Public buildings
- Written language
- Technology/scientific development
- Monumental architecture
It’s important to keep in mind not all of these attributes are necessary for a society to be characterized as a civilization. For example, the Incas did not have a written language, yet they were a highly advanced civilization. Therefore, it may be better to think of these attributes as guidelines for measuring the advancement of a civilization.
Where did civilizations come from?
The term “cradle of civilization” is synonymous for “birthplace of civilization.” In other words, it’s a place where civilization began.
Some experts believe there was no one single “cradle,” but rather several civilizations developed independently. Several origins of civilization include Caral, Peru; Egypt; and China.
However, there is one particular region that’s widely accepted as the original — and perhaps the sole — cradle of civilization: Anatolia, which is located in modern day Turkey.
Anatolia: Cradle of Civilization?
Although it is difficult to pinpoint a singular cradle of civilization, there is some evidence to suggest that Anatolia may have been the birthplace of civilization as we know it today.
First and foremost, scientific findings suggest Anatolia played a huge role in agricultural development and may have acted as a “hub” for spreading farming techniques westward into Europe.
Secondly, scientists have traced the origins of ancient grains — specifically, einkorn wheat — to Anatolia. This is particularly significant because of the “technical complexity and the culinary manipulation” that are necessary to turn these grains into staples. Therefore, the ability to produce cereals signifies a highly advanced society.
Anatolia’s proximity to Europe likely helped facilitate the spread of agriculture to westerners, but how did the people of Anatolia become so advanced in the first place?
The Advancements of Anatolia
Anatolia was a hub for advanced civilizations including the Hittites, the Assyrians, and the Greeks, but before the rise of these civilizations, there was Gobekli Tepe.
Gobekli Tepe is an ancient site that has been called “The World’s First Temple.” It features technology and architecture that were highly advanced for the times, considering it was built some 11,000 years ago.
Research suggests outsiders may have influenced and inspired the construction of Gobekli Tepe through what is known as a “transfer of technology.” Ancient civilization researcher Graham Hancock has explored this idea in-depth, arguing a third party taught advanced skills to the native humans of the area.
Some believe the Annunaki bestowed their knowledge upon the Anatolia region. This group of deities is frequently referenced in ancient texts, in which they are praised for their sophisticated scientific and mathematical abilities.
Did the concepts of farming and agriculture also come from the Annunaki? If this is indeed the case, it means we can credit these mystical beings for skills and techniques we still rely on today. Moreover, it means that the Annunaki played an enormous role in the foundation of civilization itself.
There is certainly plenty of information to absorb with regard to how civilizations came to be. Based on what we know about Anatolia and the Annunaki, we can assume both may have played a big role in the foundation and evolution of civilization. As with any complex topic, we encourage you to continue to explore this subject on your own.
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The City of Eridu is the Oldest on Earth, It's Largely Unexplored
Over the past decade, there have been a number of archeological revelations pushing back the timeline of human evolution and our ancient ancestors’ various diasporas. Initially, these discoveries elicit some resistance as archeologists bemoan the daunting prospect of rewriting the history books, though once enough evidence is presented to established institutions, a new chronology becomes accepted.
But this really only pertains to the era of human development that predates civilization — the epochs of our past in which we were merely hunter-gatherers and nomads roaming the savannahs. Try challenging the consensus timeline of human civilization and it’s likely you’ll be met with derision and rigidity.
Conversely, someone of an alternative persuasion may profess stories of ancient civilizations, such as Atlantis or Lemuria, with speculative mythology recounting a lost, golden age in human history that was surely responsible for building the pyramids and other wonders of the world. They point to the writings of Solon and Plato as evidence for these ancestors’ existence, which is exciting but difficult to corroborate without physical proof.
Researcher Matt LaCroix seems to find himself somewhere in the middle of these two perspectives. While he says he’s fascinated by the Athenian clues detailing the destruction of Atlantis, he finds more compelling evidence in ancient Mesopotamia, or what academia already acknowledges as “the cradle of civilization.”
It’s here we find the ruins of the most ancient city on Earth that we have physical proof of — the city of Eridu. This archaic metropolis is well-documented in historical texts covering ancient Sumer and the Babylonian empire, but there’s also a mythological component to Eridu that may imply human civilization is far older than we believe — significant orders of magnitude older.