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'World’s first skyscraper sought to intimidate masses'

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« on: February 15, 2011, 01:04:15 am »


 
jericho
Photo by: Travelujah
'World’s first skyscraper sought to intimidate masses'
By ARIEH O’SULLIVAN / THE MEDIA LINE
02/14/2011 20:59

Constructed 11,000 years ago, Jericho tower was aimed at promoted the farming life, archeologists say.
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The world’s first skyscraper was built by early farmers, who were frightened into erecting a solar marker by mankind’s early bosses, archaeologists say.

Long before its Biblical walls came tumbling down, Jericho’s residents were being enticed to give up hunting and gathering and start farming for a living. They settled in this oasis next to the Jordan River and built a mysterious 8.5-meter (28-foot) stone tower on the edge of town.

When discovered by archaeologists in 1952, it was dated at over 11,000 years old, making it the first and oldest public building even found. But its purpose and the motivation for erecting it has been debated ever since.

Now, using computer technology, Israeli archaeologists are saying it was built to mark the summer solstice and as a symbol that would entice people to abandon their nomadic ways and settle down.

“The tower was constructed by a major building effort. People were working for a very long time and very hard. It was not like the other domestic buildings in Jericho,” said Ran Barkai of the Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, who was part of a team that did the computer analysis.

The stone tower is about nine meters in diameter at its base and conical in shape. Built out of concentric rows of the stones, it also contains an enclosed stairway. Archeologists say it wasn’t used as a tomb.

Barkai and fellow archaeologist Roy Liran used computers to reconstruct sunsets and found that when the tower was built the nearby mountains cast a shadow on it as the sun set on the longest day of the year. The shadow fell exactly on the structure and then spread out to cover the entire village.

“The tower is an indication of power struggles at the beginning of the Neolithic period and of the fact that a particular person or people exploited the primeval fears of the residents and persuaded them to build it,” Barkai told The Media Line.

Barkai said architecture designed to awe and inspire, and without any obviously functional purpose, isn’t unique to the megalithic period. Even today, governments erect monuments like the Arc de Triomphe to influence public opinion and enhance their standing.

The period when the tower was built was a time when people started to put down literal roots by abandoning hunting and gathering and taking up farming. But, according to Barkai, people didn’t make the transition easily because farming was actually a harder way of life.

“This was a time when hierarchy began and leadership was established. This was the time that social formations took place and many scientists have wondered why people were moved to produce food, to make the transition to agriculture,” Barkai said. “Agriculture worked for the benefit of certain individuals in the community, because people produce surplus that was stored and then divided by individuals.”

 “It has been proven that people worked much harder during the Neolithic period than before. It was easier to live by hunting and gathering so we believe this tower was one of the mechanisms to motivate people to take part in a communal lifestyle,” he said.

Mysteriously, the tower was built on the outskirts of town and not as part of the fortifications of the city, which was the world’s first.

A tower was something so alien to their conceptual world of the builders, who had probably never seen or could conceive of such a building, that it must have served more than a defensive purpose, Barkai reckoned.

He backed this up with historical records indicating that no invaders were present in the area at the time it was built, about 8300 BC.  According to archaeological estimates, it took about 11,000 working days to build it.

“It is something out of time and place and looks like it doesn’t belong where it was. It was a monumental effort to build, like the pyramids [built 5,000 years later], only among a village of former hunters and gatherers,” Barkai said.


http://www.jpost.com/ArtsAndCulture/Entertainment/Article.aspx?id=208206
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 11:03:16 pm »

World's first skyscraper was a monument to intimidation
February 17, 2011 World's first skyscraper was a monument to intimidation



This is a view of the interior of the tower at Tel Jericho. Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Discovered by archaeologists in 1952, a 28-foot-high stone tower discovered on the edge of the town of Jericho has puzzled scientists ever since. Now, eleven centuries after it was built, Tel Aviv University archaeologists at the ancient site Tel Jericho are revealing new facts about the world's first "skyscraper."

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Recent computer-based research by doctoral student Roy Liran and Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University's Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities sheds light on who built the 28-foot-high tower — and why.

The researchers note that this is the first instance of human beings erecting such a tall structure, even before the transition to agriculture and food production in the region. Liran and Dr. Barkai now believe that the tower, which required about ten years to build, is an indication of power struggles at the beginning of the Neolithic period, and that a particular person or people exploited the primeval fears of Jericho's residents in persuading them to build it. The new revelations about the ancient tower were recently published in the journal Antiquity.

"In the newly published article, we present a new and exciting discovery," Liran and Dr. Barkai said in a joint statement, "which is connected to the exact position of the tower on the edges of the village of Jericho, and the shadow that covers the site when the sun sets on the longest day of the year."

A stairway (and tower) to Heaven

"Reconstruction of the sunset revealed to us that the shadow of the hill as the sun sets on the longest day of the year falls exactly on the Jericho tower, envelops the tower and then covers the entire village," the researchers explained. "For this reason, we suggest that the tower served as an earthly element connecting the residents of the site with the hills around them and with the heavenly element of the setting sun." Its construction may be related to the primeval fears and cosmological beliefs of the villagers, they note.

Tel Jericho, located in modern day Jericho in the West Bank, is one of the most ancient sites in the world. The eight and half meter tower, which was built with a steep flight of stairs approximately one meter wide, rises above a four-meter wall that probably encompassed the city. The existence of the tower led to Jericho's identification as the first city in the world, even though it was in fact a settlement of pre-agricultural hunter gatherers.

"This was a time when hierarchy began and leadership was established," Dr. Barkai told the Jerusalem Post. "We believe this tower was one of the mechanisms to motivate people to take part in a communal lifestyle."

Debunking old theories

Some researchers have proposed that the tower and wall together comprised a system of fortification and a defense against flooding. Others have suggested the tower and wall as a geographical marker, defining the territory of the early residents of Jericho, and a symbol of the wealth and power of the ancient village.

In a 2008 article, the Tel Aviv University researchers proposed that the tower and wall of Jericho should be seen as cosmological markers, connecting the ancient village of Jericho with the nearby Mount Qarantal and sunset on the longest day of the year. The new paper fortifies their hypothesis.

This idea is based on the fact that the axis of the flight of stairs in the tower was built at a precise angle to the setting of the sun on the longest day of the year behind the highest peak overlooking Jericho, Mount Qarantal. They believe that it is humanity's first skyscraper, however small, and also the world's first public building.

Provided by Tel Aviv University (news : web)

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-world-skyscraper-monument-intimidation.html
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 11:03:32 pm »

World's first skyscraper was a monument to intimidation
February 17, 2011 World's first skyscraper was a monument to intimidation



This is a view of the interior of the tower at Tel Jericho. Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Discovered by archaeologists in 1952, a 28-foot-high stone tower discovered on the edge of the town of Jericho has puzzled scientists ever since. Now, eleven centuries after it was built, Tel Aviv University archaeologists at the ancient site Tel Jericho are revealing new facts about the world's first "skyscraper."

Ads by Google

Harmony Jerusalem Hotel - Exciting New Boutique Hotel In the Heart of Jerusalem - atlas.co.il

 

Recent computer-based research by doctoral student Roy Liran and Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University's Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities sheds light on who built the 28-foot-high tower — and why.

The researchers note that this is the first instance of human beings erecting such a tall structure, even before the transition to agriculture and food production in the region. Liran and Dr. Barkai now believe that the tower, which required about ten years to build, is an indication of power struggles at the beginning of the Neolithic period, and that a particular person or people exploited the primeval fears of Jericho's residents in persuading them to build it. The new revelations about the ancient tower were recently published in the journal Antiquity.

"In the newly published article, we present a new and exciting discovery," Liran and Dr. Barkai said in a joint statement, "which is connected to the exact position of the tower on the edges of the village of Jericho, and the shadow that covers the site when the sun sets on the longest day of the year."

A stairway (and tower) to Heaven

"Reconstruction of the sunset revealed to us that the shadow of the hill as the sun sets on the longest day of the year falls exactly on the Jericho tower, envelops the tower and then covers the entire village," the researchers explained. "For this reason, we suggest that the tower served as an earthly element connecting the residents of the site with the hills around them and with the heavenly element of the setting sun." Its construction may be related to the primeval fears and cosmological beliefs of the villagers, they note.

Tel Jericho, located in modern day Jericho in the West Bank, is one of the most ancient sites in the world. The eight and half meter tower, which was built with a steep flight of stairs approximately one meter wide, rises above a four-meter wall that probably encompassed the city. The existence of the tower led to Jericho's identification as the first city in the world, even though it was in fact a settlement of pre-agricultural hunter gatherers.

"This was a time when hierarchy began and leadership was established," Dr. Barkai told the Jerusalem Post. "We believe this tower was one of the mechanisms to motivate people to take part in a communal lifestyle."

Debunking old theories

Some researchers have proposed that the tower and wall together comprised a system of fortification and a defense against flooding. Others have suggested the tower and wall as a geographical marker, defining the territory of the early residents of Jericho, and a symbol of the wealth and power of the ancient village.

In a 2008 article, the Tel Aviv University researchers proposed that the tower and wall of Jericho should be seen as cosmological markers, connecting the ancient village of Jericho with the nearby Mount Qarantal and sunset on the longest day of the year. The new paper fortifies their hypothesis.

This idea is based on the fact that the axis of the flight of stairs in the tower was built at a precise angle to the setting of the sun on the longest day of the year behind the highest peak overlooking Jericho, Mount Qarantal. They believe that it is humanity's first skyscraper, however small, and also the world's first public building.

Provided by Tel Aviv University (news : web)

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-world-skyscraper-monument-intimidation.html
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