The oldest fortresses in the world discovered in Siberia

by time news

2023-12-07 19:00:49

The fortified settlement sits high on a section of land overlooking the abundant Amnya River. – NIKITA GOLOVANOV


Archaeologists led by the Free University of Berlin has discovered fortified hunter-gatherer settlements in a remote region of Siberia, dated 8,000 years ago.

This finding, published in Antiquity magazinereshapes our understanding of early human societies, challenging the idea that only with the advent of agriculture would people have begun to build permanent settlements with monumental architecture and developed complex social structures.

The research focused on the fortified settlement of Amnya, recognized as the northernmost Stone Age fort in Eurasia, where the team of researchers conducted field work in 2019.

Tanja Schreiber, archaeologist at the Berlin Institute of Prehistoric Archeology and co-author of the study, explains it’s a statement: “Through detailed archaeological examinations at Amnya, we collected samples for radiocarbon dating, confirming the prehistoric age of the site and establishing it as the oldest place in the world.” “The oldest known fort. Our new paleobotanical and stratigraphic examinations reveal that the inhabitants of Western Siberia led a sophisticated lifestyle based on the abundant resources of the taiga environment.”

Prehistoric inhabitants fished in the Amnya River and hunted elk and reindeer with spears tipped with stone and bone. To conserve their surplus fish and meat oil, they made elaborately decorated ceramics.

To date, approximately 10 Stone Age fortified sites are known, with pitted houses and surrounded by earthen walls and wooden palisades, suggesting advanced architectural and defensive capabilities. This discovery challenges the traditional view that permanent settlements, accompanied by defensive structures, only emerged with agricultural societies, thus refuting the notion that agriculture and livestock were prerequisites for social complexity.

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The Siberian findings, along with other global examples such as Gobekli Tepe in Anatolia, contribute to a broader reassessment of evolutionary notions that suggest a linear development of societies from simple to complex.

In various parts of the world, from the Korean Peninsula to Scandinavia, hunter-gatherer communities developed large settlements taking advantage of aquatic resources. The abundance of natural resources in the Siberian taiga, such as annual fish runs and migratory herds, It probably played a crucial role in the emergence of hunter-gatherer forts.

Fortified settlements overlooking rivers may have served as strategic locations to control and exploit productive fishing grounds. The competitive nature that arises from resource storage and population growth is evident in these prehistoric constructions, reversing previous assumptions that competition and conflict were absent in hunter-gatherer societies.

The findings highlight the diversity of paths that led to complex social organizations, reflected in the emergence of monumental constructions such as the Siberian forts. They also highlight the importance of local environmental conditions in shaping the trajectories of human societies.

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