Secrets of the Stone Age
The main focus of this documentary is the massive stone monuments (eg Stonehenge) all human civilizations built between 6,000 and 2,000 BC and the steady migration of farming peoples from the Middle East to Western Europe during the same period.
In Part 1, archeologists explain how they use DNA and isotope analysis to trace the Middle Eastern origin of prehistoric human and cattle remains they find in Europe. Their findings reveal that following the 10,000 BC agricultural revolution, groups of farmers gradually migrated (by sea and overland) from northern Iran and Anatolia* as far west as the Europe’s western coast.
Large stone monoliths are found throughout the Mediterranean and along the west coast of continental Europe, Britain, Ireland and Scotland. These monoliths aren’t present where migrants traveled overland through the Balkans (where they lacked access large boulders). There’s growing evidence they built similar massive structures out of wood. The latter is more prone to decay.
*Anatolia is a large peninsula in northern Turkey.
Part 2 is mainly concerned with 7,000 BC stone edifices (used as homes, livestock pens, and tombs)recently discovered in southwest Jordan. According to archeologists, these structures represent the oldest known “sedentary”* culture (the Ba’ja) in the world.
This episode also looks at research into the technologies used to transport and position stone monuments that could weigh as much as 130 tonnes. There is compelling evidence the stones were transported over water in massive sailing vessels and over flat inland distances with ramps and teams of oxen.
Fertility statues from this period, along with cultural artifacts found in Stone Age tombs, suggest men and women shared equal status during this period. Likewise forensic examination of skeletal remains reveals a total absence of warfare during this period.
*In cultural anthropology, sedentism refers to the practice of living in one area over and extended period – in contrast to hunter gatherers who were nomadic.