Sunday, May 6, 2012

Show me, show me, Shulaveri-Shomu

There are going to be times when I simply can't get in what I'd like to on the podcast episodes because of time constraints. I'm trying to make sure the episodes don't last much longer than 30 minutes. Also, since I've for some strange reason decided to undertake the entire history of Europe in the podcast I'd like to get through it without spending episode after episode focusing on a single century or decade. Thus, important things will be left out. That's what the blog is for!!

The Neolithic podcast episodes (they'll be two of them) are set to come out May 10 and May 17, respectively. The scripts have been written and for time constraints I left out much of the Neolithic of the Caucuses. This isn't a slight to Europe's most eastern parts, its just that they developed more closely to the Middle East. I also left out Turkey's Neolithic cultures for that reason. But, because of their omission on the episode, I'm able to dedicate a good amount of time to a blog post. Loss turned gain for the Neolithic peoples of the Caucuses!

One of the earliest cultures in the Caucuses stretched out their legs in modern day Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia after walking into it from Mesopotamia. The Shulaveri-Shomu Culture had its origins in the Hassuna culture (as well as others) in Mesopotamia. The Hassuna Culture would eventually give rise to the Assyrians who are familiar to most people that have taken a world history course. This affinity to the Mesopotamian cultures meant that the Shulaveri-Shomu would adopt most of its characteristics from the Ancient Near East. They created mudbrick, circular homes (as you see pictured from a site in Georgia to the left) which were filled with tools made out of obsidian. They created anthropomorphic lady figurines that are associated with some type of fertility cult. Both obsidian working and fertility idols were common in the preceding Mesopotamian cultures.

The Shulaveri-Shomu culture lived at an interesting period in the earth's climatic history. The Holocene, which we mentioned on the Mesolithic podcast, marked the end of the Paleolithic and represented a rapid warming of the earth. But, the Holocene is an interglacial period, suggesting that the glaciers will some day return to drive man back into the equator regions. The Shulaveri-Shomu might have thought this was occurring. They lived during the boringly named 8.2 Kiloyear Event. But, its actions did not make for a boring time. In Mesopotamia and likely its northern neighbor the Caucuses, the result was a rapidly declining temperature and creation of arid soil for somewhere between 200-400 years. This happened to occur right at the start of the Shulaveri-Shomu period. But, they made it through and thrived for over 2,000 years from 6200 BC - 4000 BC before becoming overtaken by another culture we'll discuss soon enough, don't you worry!

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