Neolithic or “stone age” architectural advances are an important part of the 10,000-2,000 BCE, during which some of the major innovations of human history occurred. Neolithic Architecture includes some of the oldest known structures made by humankind. The earlier settlements were focused on building structures for the community rather than the individual family; and as populations rose and the processes of domestication took hold, there was a shift to a greater privacy, growing evidence for the idea of ownership. The organization of settlements and the architectural structure of houses differed according to regions and periods and often reflected environmental, economic and social changes taking place during the Neolithic Period. Without any further ado, let’s look at 5 Amazing Neolithic Architecture you won’t believe actually exist.
:: 1 :: Structure O75, 9600 BCE, Wadi Faynan, Jordan
Structure O75 suggests that the earliest expression of Neolithic took place in the Middle East and that they may have been community centers for shared activities – whether utilitarian, religious or some combination of both remains unclear. According to Bill Finlayson, director of the Council for British Research in the Levant, who led its excavation, “it appears to have been built by digging a pit and then lining the walls with a very strong mud mixture.” A floor was constructed from mud plaster and surrounded by two tiers of benches, three feet deep and one-and-a-half feet high, recalling an amphitheater.
:: 2 :: Göbekli Tepe, 9000 BCE, Anatolia, Turkey
It has been excavated by a German archaeological team that was under the direction of Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until his death in 2014. Schmidt’s view was that Göbekli Tepe is a stone-age mountain sanctuary. The comparative and stylistic analysis indicated that it is the oldest religious site yet discovered anywhere. Schmidt believed that what he called this “cathedral on a hill” was a pilgrimage destination attracting worshippers up to 100 miles distant.
:: 3 :: Jericho, 8350 BCE, West Bank
Jericho is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The Neolithic farmers of Jericho raised a massive stone wall around the town. Built from stones hauled from the banks of the Jordan River more than a mile away, this wall was 16 feet high and surrounded by a deep ditch. It included a tower almost 29 feet tall, with an internal staircase of 22 stone steps. Later archaeologists have suggested that it was raised to protect Jericho’s mud brick homes against floods rather than against raids, or even that the tower may have had a religious function.
:: 4 :: Skara Brae, 3200-2200 BCE, Mainland, Orkney, Scotland
By the time the Neolithic had become established in Orkney, it had already ended in the Middle East. This tradition of Neolithic architecture is distinctively Orcadian, and similar sites have been found near to Skara Brae. Archeologists suggest that some of the buildings in the settlement may have had ritual functions since they were constructed within an extraordinary built landscape and highly charged with symbolic meaning.
:: 5 :: Stonehenge, 3000-2000 BCE, Wiltshire, England
The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3000 BC. Stonehenge was produced by a culture that left no written records. Many aspects of Stonehenge remain subject to debate. A number of myths surround the stones. Proposed functions for the site include usage as an astronomical observatory or as a religious site. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.