Ancient Gods In Anatolia: Founders Of The Neolithic Era
Almost 12,000 years ago, in the remote recesses of Anatolia, today's southeast Turkey, something happened that, seemingly overnight, completely changed the course of human evolution. Far flung bands of hunter-gatherers who previously had wandered the landscape, existing day to day by foraging from whatever nature provided, suddenly gathered in one place, organized themselves into a work force, built huge megalithic structures for what seems to be religious purposes, and invented agriculture, giving birth to what is now called civilization. But some pieces of the puzzle are missing. Why did they do it? What motivated them? How did they learn so much so fast? The fact that something drastic occurred is recorded in the archaeological record.
Egyptians with domesticated cattle and corn circa 1422-1411 BC ( Public Domain )
Everything mankind experiences today in terms of a common world-wide system of physical infrastructures and political organizations, everything known about farming and raising animals for food, everything practiced when it comes to specialized labor, including every time a child is asked what he or she wants to become when they grow up, every church, mosque, temple, or house of worship passed in the course of a day's travel, even a modern worldview - all began on the plains of Anatolia almost 12,000 years ago. It marks what is called the birth of civilization, and no one knows what happened to spark its appearance.
The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
Called the Neolithic (New Stone) Age, or the Agricultural Revolution, it changed modern man. It has only been known since 1994 when and where it happened at all - before the discovery of Göbekli Tepe it was assumed that the discovery of agriculture took place in Mesopotamia and Egypt, some 6,000 years ago. But the trigger that set the human species off on a whole new path, is still undiscovered.
There have been many theories set forth, of course. Some attribute the revolution to visitors from the heavens. The Ancient Alien theory postulates celestial entities that jump-started human civilization for any number of reasons, ranging from sheer altruism to selfish ambition. These theories have their basis in ancient mythology that first came to public attention with Zecharia Sitchin's translations of Sumerian texts that speak of Anunna gods from the heavens and their interaction with primitive human beings.
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Jim Willis is author of 13 books on religion and spirituality, he has been an ordained minister for over forty years while working part-time as a carpenter, the host of his own drive-time radio show, an arts council director and adjunct college professor in the fields of World Religions and Instrumental Music. He is author of Ancient Gods: Lost Histories, Hidden Truths, and the Conspiracy of Silence
Top Image: Puzzle of Ancient Anatolia, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (Image: Courtesy Micki Pistorius)
By Jim Willis