ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER OLDEST KNOWN NARRATIVE SCENE DATING FROM 11,000-YEARS-AGO
A TEAM OF ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE DISCOVERED WHAT MAY BE THE OLDEST KNOWN NARRATIVE SCENE, CARVED INTO A 11,000-YEAR-OLD NEOLITHIC BENCH AT SAYBURÇ IN SOUTH-EASTERN TURKEY.
The discovery, reported by Dr Özdoğan in the journal Antiquity, was made during excavations at Sayburç which began in 2021. The site is located beneath a modern village in the Şanlıurfa Province.
The bench has two carved scenes that show depictions of people interacting with animals. In one scene is a man grasping his phallus with leopards on either side. The second scene shows a squatting man ringing a rattle at a bull.
"These figures, engraved together to depict a narrative, are the first known examples of such a holistic scene," said archaeologist Dr Eylem Özdoğan, from Istanbul University, "This was a picture of the stories that formed the ideology of the people of that period."
The site at Sayburç was inhabited during the Neolithic in the 9th millennium BC, a period when people shifted from a mobile hunter-gatherer lifestyle to farming and living in long-term settlements.
Excavations have also uncovered several residential buildings, as well as a large communal structure lined with stone benches along the walls, that may have served as a focal point for gatherings or ritual activities. The researchers believe that the narrative scenes on the bench may depict historical characters or mythical figures that were a key part of the community's traditions.