Friday, July 10, 2009

Uma revolução social no Neolítico?

Ken MacLeod, sobre os resutados de umas pesquisas arquelógicas na Anatólia:

We begin with 'a patriarchal society of bitter destructiveness: the gloomy temples dug into the mountain like caves served to maintain power in a society that was obviously rigidly organized through open terror: human sacrifices. In the temples of all building levels huge amounts of blood were shed which the excavators retrieved in thick crusts on daggers, altars or draining funnels which were designed specifically for that purpose. The analysis of the isolated blood pigment haemoglobin revealed that it was generally human blood. In the chambers of one of these temples there were the skulls of more than 70 people and parts of skeletons of more than 400 different individuals "neatly stacked up to the ceiling".'

So far, so familiar. We've all seen depictions of societies like that, in Conan movies if nothing else. However ...

'On a certain day 9200 years ago the manorial houses at the north side of the large square in Çayönü were burnt down, and this happened so fast that the owners were not able to save any of their treasures. The temple was torn down and burnt, and even the floor was ripped open, the stone pillars around the free space were taken down and the taller of them were broken up. The place itself - previously maintained and kept meticulously clean for more than 1000 years - was converted into a municipal waste dump. After a short chaotic transition all houses had been torn down. The slums in the west disappeared for good, but only a few steps away from the spot where the ruins of the manorial houses had burnt the new Çayönü was erected. The new houses were comparable in size to the old manors but there were no more houses or shacks built to an inferior standard. In all houses, work was done and all hints to social differences were erased.'

I can't help being thrilled at the thought of these stone age revolutionaries, burning the big houses of the masters and storming that terrifying temple, perhaps fearfully at first, then joyfully turning the gruesome house of the gods into a tip.

But we all know what happened next, don't we? The new society of equals was crushed by outside invasion, or a new caste or class of officials arose and things were soon worse than before ... something like that, yes?

Actually, no. The new type of society spread for thousands of miles and remained free, equal, happy and peaceful for three thousand years.

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