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Shighir Idol in the News Again

27 March 2021

This story appeared in the News a few years ago. It may still be out there somewhere. It has now been regurgitated by the Daily Mail – with a date that puts it back to 12,000 years ago – see www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9393197/ … but how did a long piece of wood, constructed from a tall tree trunk, survive for such a long time. The clue is where it was found – in a peat bog. The acidic swamp preserved the wood so well one can still see carvings and inscriptions. It is hailed by the Mail as the world's oldest wooden statue, twice as old as Stonehenge we are told. What they mean by that seems to be the earth henge, or circle, within which the stone monument exists. The henge was built around 300BC so we have 5000 doubled = around 10,000 years ago. This in fact fits nicely with the original radiocarbon dating of the wood, at 9750 years ago [roughly 7,750B C]. This is a venerable age but modern IntCal dating methodology,  which combines radiocarbon  dating with other forms of dating, such as speleotherms, in what is a Bayesian style system, stretches the boundaries [as it is designed to do], and the new IntCal date is now 12,100 years ago. This is basically contemporary with the stone monuments found at Gobekli Tepe in eastern Anatolia, on the cusp of the Holocene. Although a long sequence of tree rings can be seen in the wooden statue they are of no real use as dendrochronology has not been extended that far back in time.

The wooden statue was found back in 1890, by miners who came across it in a peat bog. The tree that produced the wood was probably about 17 feet tall, when felled. It is covered in zig zag lines across the body with 7 or 8 human  like faces at the top. Scientists predictably say these are probably depictions of gods – but who knows.

At https://phys.org/news/2021-03-ancient-farmers-climate-grazing-meant.html … archaeo-botanist shows that ancient farmers adapted to a downturn in the global climate, specifically in Anatolia following the 5.2kya event – otherwise known as the Piora Event. Whatever sparked the global crisis in the environment there followed a cooling of temperatures over a period of around 200 years. Horse riding nomads from the steppes turned up in the Middle East, moved east towards China and west towards Europe. The event at the end of the 4th millennium BC was an important environmental marker and in the region around Catal Huyuk, what had been a green and pleasant land, turned arid. So much so that farmers diversified. As farmers are inclined to do. In the modern world of course we hear a lot from non-farmers on what farmers should be doing, and hopefully they won't take a blind bit of notice and simply adapt.

At https://sciencex.com/news/2021-03-ancient-undersea-middens-clues-life.html … rising sea levels have over thousands of years drowned middens – an archaeological treasure trove of discarded rubbish. Middens from the Mesolithic era are mostly made up of shells from marine creatures and were located on the sea shore, or in that vicinity. Hence, it is not surprising that many of these middens, from around the world, have been submerged by changing ocean levels. Archaeologists have just realised they might be able to tap into this trove of possible artefacts.

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