Early Humans Made Monumental Structures
No animal makes things on this scale. Humans are
endowed with skill and foresight to plan big things.
Evolutionists keep changing their Darwinian stories of man’s rise from apes, even hiding evidence and lying about it (see Evolution News 9 Sept 2022), but wherever humans go, they display their uniqueness. Beavers may transform a landscape but nothing like this. Humans make things—big things. Some monumental structures found in the Fertile Crescent illustrate the uniqueness of humans, endowed with hands, big brains and the power of foresight. The evidence also showcases natural climate change and the sudden appearance of civilization not that long ago.
Oxford archaeologists discover monumental evidence of prehistoric hunting across Arabian desert (Oxford University, 2 Sept 2022). Rock structures dubbed “kites” have been found in remote desert places across Syria and Iraq. Large stone structures like this had been found in Saudi Arabia a few years ago (see Evolution News, 3 Jan 2018). Now, 354 of these star-shaped “kites” have been discovered across Arabia into Iraq, and there may be more still buried in sand. With remote sensing, a team from Oxford led by Dr Michael Fradley, has revealed the extent of human intelligent design thousands of years old in of sands of inhospitable places.
The “kites” speak of large populations of people planning their food gathering months and years in advance by building these large traps and pens for prey animals. Notice the word “design” in this quote, which clearly means intelligent design:
Dr Fradley said: ‘The structures we found displayed evidence of complex, careful design. In terms of size, the ‘heads’ of the kites can be over 100 metres wide, but the guiding walls (the ’strings’ of the kite) which we currently think gazelle and other game would follow to the kite heads can be incredibly long. In some of these new examples, the surviving portion of walls run in almost straight lines for over 4 kilometres, often over very varied topography. This shows an incredible level of ability in how these structures were designed and built.’
The team infers that “considerable resources” must have been required to make these structures: large populations of workers organized with plans and goals to work stone over miles. Only the rock walls remain, but the researchers believe that the people built temporary shelters in which to live, to butcher the captured animals for meat, and to carry on their lives. The vast extent of these structures also implies that the builders communicated with each other over wide areas, and that long-distance travel was common.
These new sites suggest a previously unknown level of connection right across northern Arabia at the time they were built. They raise exciting questions about who built these structures, who the hunted game were intended to feed, and how the people were able to not only survive, but also invest in these monumental structures.
Climate Change Before Fossil Fuels
Another implication of the discoveries is that this region, an inhospitable desert now, was once a milder and more pleasant area for people. They may have been gradually abandoned as the climate warmed over succeeding decades.
In the context of this new connectedness, the distribution of the star-shaped kites now provides the first direct evidence of contact through, rather than around, the Nafud desert. This underlines the importance areas that are now desert had under more favourable climatic conditions in enabling the movement of humans and wildlife. It is thought the kites were built during a wetter, greener climatic period known as the Holocene Humid Period (between around 9000 and 4000 BCE).
A map in the press release shows over 300 locations where these structures were built. That implies that large populations were involved with coordination by language, planning, division of labor and the ability to plan ahead years in advance. They must have also been capable of “extreme mobility” to travel so far between structures. The builders may have also traded with coastal groups engaged in maritime trade.
The distribution of star-shaped kites also documents a clear affinity with the Levantine Neolithic for the northern and eastern Nefud region, which stand in some contrast to the region southwest of the Nafud desert, where Jubbah style rock art and mustatil structures document distinct local traditions. Although the spatial distribution of these structures gives some insight into the population dynamics of the Neolithic, future research needs to address to what extent kites and mustatils may have overlapped chronologically.
The work was published in the following journal link (open access):
Source: Fradley et al., “Following the herds? A new distribution of hunting kites in Southwest Asia.” The Holocene, 12 Aug 2022, DOI: 10.1177/09596836221114290.
Are the Dates Accurate?
The Oxford team says “There is evidence that these structures may date back as far as 8,000 BCE in the Neolithic period” (Neolithic: “New Rock,” presumably pre-pottery). The paper, though, points to radiocarbon dates of other structures from “between the later sixth and the early fifth millennium BCE” or even the third century based on limited radiocarbon data, and then speculates that these kites are older. How much older? “The results of this remote-sensing survey cannot directly contribute to ongoing debates over the absolute chronology of the kite phenomenon,” the authors say.
Laypeople often are unaware of the uncertainties behind confident-sounding radiometric dating methods. Eran Elhaik in The Conversation (7 Sept 2022) notes that “Radiocarbon dating only works half the time.”
Nowadays people take radiocarbon technology for granted and many people think you can use radiocarbon on any human remains. Scientists wish that was true, but in reality, only 50% of corpses can be dated using this method because in some skeletons there isn’t enough organic material or it is contaminated.
Elhaik gives some examples of radiocarbon dates for historically-known artifacts that were significantly older than they should have been. The farther back the calculated date, the greater the uncertainty. Every dating methods involves unprovable assumptions.
The authors attempt to build a picture of evolutionary progression from simple hunter-gathering to agriculture and then urbanization, but there is no convincing reason to say that “monumentality” (the building of these large structures) did not overlap with maritime trade, early urbanization attempts and agriculture.
In the Arabian Peninsula, livestock are thought to have been introduced between 6800 and 6200 BCE (Drechsler, 2009). However, in northern Saudi Arabia earliest faunal remains of livestock (cattle, sheep and goat) so far date to the late sixth millennium BC, and are frequently found alongside gazelle remains. The rock art of the region suggests that hunting continued alongside herding until the recent past and it is currently not clear to what extent groups of hunters may also have lived alongside pastoralist herder/hunters in the Neolithic of northern Arabia. From the Bronze Age, subsistence shifted to oasis centred agriculture, probably as a response to aridification. Across western Arabia and the Levant, the building of kite structures therefore overlaps chronologically with hunting communities, Neolithic pastoralists as well as the increasingly urbanized societies of the Bronze and Iron Age.
Aridification (drying weather as a result of climate change) does not produce agriculture. It may have prompted humans with their creativity and capacity for foresight and planning to develop better ways to utilize the resources around them. It seems absurd to think that this never happened for tens or hundreds of thousands of years as human beings (according to the evolutionary story) wandered all over Africa, Europe and Asia.
Biblical historians and archaeologists believe that humans were intelligent, communicative and resourceful from the beginning because they were created distinct from the animals and endowed with the image of God: intelligence, forethought, design, creativity, and love. In support of the Biblical view, indications of intelligent design are found wherever human presence is detected. These include art, hunting structures like these, and shipbuilding (which may date back to so-called Homo erectus times in the evolutionary scheme). People could not have accomplished all these things without spoken language, which the Bible also teaches was part of man’s nature from the beginning.
Creative, intelligent humans can accomplish much in short time. Evolutionary education tends to make students think in long time periods. But in the Biblical timeline of just a few thousand years since Creation and the Flood, humans could travel vast distances and design monumental works within just a few years. Shortly after the Flood, the tribes descending from the sons of Noah began repopulating the earth quickly. After the confusion of tongues at Babel, language groups able to communicate would likely have moved as large units to get away from those they could not understand: the Semites to the east, the Hamites to the south, and the Japhethites toward Europe. A few tribes may have traveled extensively across continents within a few years. Wherever they went, human nature was evident, as seen in Turkey at Gobekli Tepe and in the Arabian deserts (which were fertile areas then). In time, creative humans found ways to use carved symbols to correlate with spoken language. The animal depictions at Gobekli Tepe may have been early attempts. The Egyptians used hieroglyphs; the Akkadians cuneiform marks. Alphabetic languages followed with more flexibility in representation.
Speaking of climate change, the Biblical timeline would allow for a single, rapid ice age as a result of the vast release of warm water to the oceans, leading to huge ice dumps at the high latitudes. The evidence of the kites indicate that pleasant climates with large herds of game existed in Arabia and modern Iraq for centuries. Even much of the Sahara was fertile with extensive riverbeds, as radar imaging has revealed. As the ice age waned, and the climate warmed, aridification put pressure on people groups to find new solutions. As human nature shows, populations are often restless and eager to find better ways to accomplish things. They can migrate to better regions, or conserve water with channels and irrigation. Remember, too, that people had memories of technology from before the Flood. In a few generations after Adam, humans were using metals, building cities and creating political systems. While it is surprising it took centuries and millennia for the post-Flood civilizations to rise to the heights that had been attained by the antediluvians, it is not surprising that they did. In many ways it was a harsher world after the Flood, and all pre-Flood technology had been destroyed.
The Biblical timeline makes sense with what we know about human nature. The evolutionary timeline, with modern humans living as cavemen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years (or even millions!) makes no sense at all. In their worldview, fully modern humans, walking upright with controlled use of fire, large brains and tool-making skill lived as hunter-gatherers without ever thinking of planting a farm, riding a horse, keeping cattle in corrals or building permanent shelters until just a few thousand years ago. Then these things burst onto the scene. Nobody would ever believe that except that the Darwinian worldview requires it.
Written records of eyewitness accounts should take precedence over speculation. We have it in Genesis. It’s not exhaustive, but the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, and the genealogies of Genesis 5, are remarkable records of what happened before and after the Flood. We are one human family, and we can all trace our ancestry back to that one human pair that God created in his image.
Look at the pseudo-scholarly use of BCE in these papers and ask: What does it mean? “Before the Common Era,” a snooty professor explains. “What is CE, then?” “Common Era.” “What happened to separate those two eras? The snooty professor doesn’t want to say.