Why Not? Monumental Architecture Before 11,000 Years Ago - Page 2
Continuous Occupation. Conversely, some places have been suitable for a thriving human population for millennia. New building is situated directly atop old settlement foundations, erasing evidence of the older civilization. This happens regularly in Europe, where cultures have been thriving in the same place as their ancestors for generations. New building sites often open up a view into the past of that area, giving researchers a glimpse at life years or centuries before.
Early civilizations built in locales with poor preservation qualities. Most of the early discoveries happen in dry climates where the preservation of artifacts and structures happens easily and naturally. The site is quickly covered in dry sand preserving everything intact for future archaeologists to discover and interpret. Unfortunately, some of the most habitable areas are not conducive for preservation. Humans that settled in warm and humid places who did not build with stone or metal will leave few artifacts for archaeologists to unearth.
Even those cultures that did utilize stone structures are sometimes difficult to discover in the warm and wet locations. One such example known to exist beneath the tropical forests of Central America are Maya cities. Impressive temple complexes are known to be present under the roots of mature trees awaiting an excavation.
Additionally, scientists have been searching for a monumental city in the Amazon Basin for centuries. Only now with the advent of satellite imagery are researchers finding concrete evidence for the much fabled Amazonian civilization swallowed by jungle.
There is nothing left to find. Human civilizations are no stranger to natural disaster. Even today, whole cities are leveled by earthquakes and inundated by flooding tsunamis. Our ancestors experienced natural disasters, too. A prime example of a culture lost to natural disaster is Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried under lava and ash from nearby Vesuvius. Perhaps after suffering from a horrendous natural disaster, our ancient ancestors simply abandoned a place in lieu of rebuilding. After hundreds or thousands of years, the site is filled in with natural debris and vegetation, leaving no hint of the culture that once thrived.
New and exciting discoveries are made every day in the archaeological world. All I ask is that you give our primitive counterparts a little credit. Just because no evidence exists presently for monumental building or large civilizations before about 11,000 years ago does not mean your ancient ancestor didn’t have the capacity to create such an impressive structure. The evidence is out there somewhere, just waiting for the next Indiana Jones to come discover it.