Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

  • By day the “Bible God” was in a cloud pillar.
  • By night the “Bible God” was in a fire pillar.

Volcano deity

“A volcano deity is a deification of a volcano, including:

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Bronze Age migrants, the Kura-Araxes cultural 5,520 to 4,470 years ago, their DNA from the Caucasus Mountains traces to the Canaanites and then lives on in modern Arabs and Jews. A Study found most Arab and Jewish groups in the region owe more than half of their DNA to Canaanites and other peoples of the ancient Near East—an area encompassing much of the modern Levant, Caucasus, Turkey, and Iran. Before the Kura-Araxes period of cultural traditions, horse bones were not found in Transcaucasia/South Caucasus a geographical region of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. 

“The Kura–Araxes culture, also named Kur–Araz culture, or the Early Transcaucasian culture was a civilization that existed from about 4000 BCE until about 2000 BCE or around 6,020 to 4,020 years ago, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end; in some locations, it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BCE or around 4,620 to 4,720 years ago. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; it spread northward in Caucasus by 3000 BCE or around 5,020 years ago). Altogether, the early Transcaucasian culture enveloped a vast area and mostly encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus (except western Georgia), northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, and as far as Syria. The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Kura–Araxes culture is sometimes known as Shengavitian, Karaz (Erzurum), Pulur, and Yanik Tepe (Iranian Azerbaijan, near Lake Urmia) cultures. Furthermore, it gave rise to the later Khirbet Kerak-ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire. While it is unknown what cultures and languages were present in Kura-Araxes, the two most widespread theories suggest a connection with Hurro-Urartian and/or Anatolian languages.” ref

“The Kura-Araxes cultural tradition existed in the highlands of the South Caucasus from 3500 to 2450 BCE or 5,520 to 4,470 years ago. This tradition represented an adaptive regime and a symbolically encoded common identity spread over a broad area of patchy mountain environments. By 3000 BCE or around 5,020 years ago, groups bearing this identity had migrated southwest across a wide area from the Taurus Mountains down into the southern Levant, southeast along the Zagros Mountains, and north across the Caucasus Mountains. In these new places, they became effectively ethnic groups amid already heterogeneous societies. This paper addresses the place of migrants among local populations as ethnicities and the reasons for their disappearance in the diaspora after 2450 BCE.” ref

“DNA from the Bible’s Canaanites lives on in modern Arabs and Jews: A new study of ancient DNA traces the surprising heritage of these mysterious Bronze Age people. Tel Megiddo was an important Canaanite city-state during the Bronze Age, approximately 3500 to 1200 B.CE or 5,520 to 3,220 years ago. DNA analysis reveals that the city’s population included migrants from the distant Caucasus Mountains. They are best known as the people who lived “in a land flowing with milk and honey” until they were vanquished by the ancient Israelites and disappeared from history. But a scientific report published today reveals that the genetic heritage of the Canaanites survives in many modern-day Jews and Arabs. The study in Cell also shows that migrants from the distant Caucasus Mountains combined with the indigenous population to forge the unique Canaanite culture that dominated the area between Egypt and Mesopotamia during the Bronze Age. The team extracted ancient DNA from the bones of 73 individuals buried over the course of 1,500 years at five Canaanite sites scattered across Israel and Jordan. They also factored in data from an additional 20 individuals from four sites previously reported. “Individuals from all sites are highly genetically similar,” says co-author and molecular evolutionist Liran Carmel of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.” ref

“So while the Canaanites lived in far-flung city-states, and never coalesced into an empire, they shared genes as well as a common culture. The researchers also compared the ancient DNA with that of modern populations and found that most Arab and Jewish groups in the region owe more than half of their DNA to Canaanites and other peoples who inhabited the ancient Near East—an area encompassing much of the modern Levant, Caucasus, and Iran. The study—a collaborative effort between Carmel’s lab, the ancient DNA lab at Harvard University headed by geneticist David Reich, and other groups—was by far the largest of its type in the region. Its findings are the latest in a series of recent breakthroughs in our understanding of this mysterious people who left behind few written records. Marc Haber, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust’s Sanger Institute in Hinxton, United Kingdom, co-led a 2017 study of five Canaanite individuals from the coastal town of Sidon. The results showed that modern Lebanese can trace more than 90 percent of their genetic ancestry to Canaanites.” ref

“As Egyptians built pyramids and Mesopotamians constructed ziggurats some 4,500 years ago, the Canaanites began to develop towns and cities between these great powers. They first appear in the historical record around 1800 B.C., when the king of the city-state of Mari in today’s eastern Syria complained about “thieves and Canaanites.” Diplomatic correspondence written five centuries later mentions several Canaanite kings, who often struggled to maintain independence from Egypt. “The land of Canaan is your land and its kings are your servants,” acknowledged one Babylonian monarch in a letter to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. Biblical texts, written many centuries later, insist that Yahweh promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites after their escape from Egypt. Jewish scripture says the newcomers eventually triumphed, but archaeological evidence doesn’t show widespread destruction of Canaanite populations. Instead, they appear to have been gradually overpowered by later invaders such as the Philistines, Greeks, and Romans.” ref

“Red and black pottery circa 2500 BCE or around 4,520 years old was found in the Caucasus Mountains, as well as at Canaanite sites far to the southwest. The Canaanites spoke a Semitic language and were long thought to derive from earlier populations that settled in the region thousands of years before. But archaeologists have puzzled over red-and-black pottery discovered at Canaanite sites that closely resembles ceramics found in the Caucasus Mountains, some 750 miles to the northwest. Historians also have noted that many Canaanite names derive from Hurrian, a non-Semitic language originating in the Caucasus. Whether this resulted from long-distance trade or migration was uncertain. The new study demonstrates that significant numbers of people, and not just goods, were moving around during humanity’s first era of cities and empires. The genes of Canaanite individuals proved to be a mix of local Neolithic people and the Caucasus migrants, who began showing up in the region around the start of the Bronze Age. Carmel adds that the migration appears to have been more than a one-time event, and “could have involved multiple waves throughout the Bronze Age.” One brother and sister who lived around 1500 B.C. in Megiddo, in what is now northern Israel, were from a family that had migrated relatively recently from the northeast. The team also noted that individuals at two coastal sites—Ashkelon in Israel and Sidon in Lebanon—show slightly more genetic diversity. That may be the result of broader trade links in Mediterranean port towns than inland settlements.” ref

“Glenn Schwartz, an archaeologist at Johns Hopkins University who was not involved in the study, said that the biological data provides important insight into how Canaanites shared a notable number of genes as well as cultural traits. And Haber from the Wellcome Trust noted that the quantity of DNA results is particularly impressive, given the difficulty of extracting samples from old bones buried in such a warm climate that can quickly degrade genetic material. Both Israeli and Palestinian politicians claim the region of Israel and the Palestinian territories is the ancestral home of their people, and maintain that the other group was a late arrival. “We are the Canaanites,” asserted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last year. “This land is for its people…who were here 5,000 years ago.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said recently that the ancestors of modern Palestinians “came from the Arabian peninsula to the Land of Israel thousands of years” after the Israelites. The new study suggests that despite tumultuous changes in the area since the Bronze Age, “the present-day inhabitants of the region are, to a large extent, descended from its ancient residents,” concludes Schwartz—although Carmel adds that there are hints of later demographic shifts. Carmel hopes to soon expand the findings by collecting DNA from the remains of those who can be identified as Judean, Moabite, Ammonite, and other groups mentioned in the Bible and other texts. “One could analyze ‘Canaanite’ as opposed to ‘Israelite’ individuals,” adds archaeologist Mary Ellen Buck, who wrote a book on the Canaanites. “The Bible claims that these are distinct and mutually antagonistic groups, yet there’s reason to believe that they were very closely related.” ref

“As reported from genome-wide DNA data for 73 individuals from five archaeological sites across the Bronze and Iron Ages Southern Levant. These individuals, who share the “Canaanite” material culture, can be modeled as descending from two sources: (1) earlier local Neolithic populations and (2) populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros or the Bronze Age Caucasus. The non-local contribution increased over time, as evinced by three outliers who can be modeled as descendants of recent migrants. We show evidence that different “Canaanite” groups genetically resemble each other more than other populations. We find that Levant-related modern populations typically have substantial ancestry coming from populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros and the Bronze Age Southern Levant. These groups also harbor ancestry from sources we cannot fully model with the available data, highlighting the critical role of post-Bronze-Age migrations into the region over the past 3,000 years.” ref

“The Bronze Age (ca. 3500–1150 BCE) was a formative period in the Southern Levant, a region that includes present-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and southwest Syria. This era, which ended in a large-scale civilization collapse across this region (Cline, 2014), shaped later periods both demographically and culturally. The following Iron Age (ca. 1150–586 BCE) saw the rise of territorial kingdoms such as biblical Israel, Judah, Ammon, Moab, and Aram-Damascus, as well as the Phoenician city-states. In much of the Late Bronze Age, the region was ruled by imperial Egypt, although in later phases of the Iron Age it was controlled by the Mesopotamian-centered empires of Assyria and Babylonia. Archaeological and historical research has documented major changes during the Bronze and Iron Ages, such as the cultural influence of the northern (Caucasian) populations related to the Kura-Araxes tradition during the Early Bronze Age (Greenberg and Goren, 2009) and effects from the “Sea Peoples” (such as Philistines) from the west in the beginning of the Iron Age (Yasur-Landau, 2010). The inhabitants of the Southern Levant in the Bronze Age are commonly described as “Canaanites,” that is, residents of the Land of Canaan. The term appears in several 2nd millennium BCE sources (e.g., Amarna, Alalakh, and Ugarit tablets) and in biblical texts dating from the 8th–7th centuries BCE and later (Bienkowski, 1999, Lemche, 1991, Na’aman, 1994a). In the latter, the Canaanites are referred to as the pre-Israelite inhabitants of the land (Na’aman, 1994a). Canaan of the 2nd millennium BCE was organized in a system of city-states (Goren et al., 2004), where elites ruled from urban hubs over rural (and in some places pastoral) countryside. The material culture of these city-states was relatively uniform (Mazar, 1992), but whether this uniformity extends to their genetic ancestry is unknown. Although genetic ancestry and material culture are unlikely to ever match perfectly, past ancient DNA analyses show that they might sometimes be strongly associated. In other cases, a direct correspondence between genetics and culture cannot be established. We discuss several examples in the Discussion. Previous ancient DNA studies published genome-scale data for thirteen individuals from four Bronze Age sites in the Southern Levant: three individuals from ‘Ain Ghazal in present-day Jordan, dated to ∼2300 BCE (Intermediate Bronze Age) (Lazaridis et al., 2016); five from Sidon in present-day Lebanon, dated to ∼1750 BCE (Middle Bronze Age) (Haber et al., 2017); two from Tel Shadud in present-day Israel, dated to ∼1250 BCE (Late Bronze Age) (van den Brink et al., 2017); and three from Ashkelon in present-day Israel, dated to ∼1650–1200 BCE (Middle and Late Bronze Age) (Feldman et al., 2019). The ancestry of these individuals could be modeled as a mixture of earlier local groups and groups related to the Chalcolithic people of the Zagros Mountains, located in present-day Iran and designated in previous studies as Iran_ChL (Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016). The Bronze Age Sidon group could be modeled as a major (93% ± 2%) ancestral source for present-day groups in the region (Haber et al., 2017). A study of Chalcolithic individuals from Peqi’in cave in the Galilee (present-day Israel) showed that the ancestry of this earlier group included an additional component related to earlier Anatolian farmers, which was excluded as a substantial source for later Bronze Age groups from the Southern Levant, with the exception of the coastal groups from Sidon and Ashkelon (Feldman et al., 2019, Harney et al., 2018). These observations point to a degree of population turnover in the Chalcolithic-Bronze Age transition, consistent with archaeological evidence for a disruption between local Chalcolithic and Early Bronze cultures (de Miroschedji, 2014). Addressing three issues: First, we sought to determine the extent of genetic homogeneity among the sites associated with Canaanite material culture. Second, we analyzed the data to gain insights into the timing, extent, and origin of gene flow that brought Zagros- and Caucasus-related ancestry to the Bronze Age Southern Levant. Third, we assessed the extent to which additional gene flow events have affected the region since that time. To address these questions, we generated genome-wide ancient DNA data for 71 Bronze Age and 2 Iron Age individuals, spanning roughly 1,500 years, from the Intermediate Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Combined with previously published data on the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Southern Levant, we assembled a dataset of 93 individuals from 9 sites across present-day Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon, all demonstrating Canaanite material culture. We show that the sampled individuals from the different sites are usually genetically similar, albeit with subtle but in some cases significant differences, especially in residents of the coastal regions of Sidon and Ashkelon. Almost all individuals can be modeled as a mixture of local earlier Neolithic populations and populations from the northeastern part of the Near East. However, the mixture proportions change over time, revealing the demographic dynamics of the Southern Levant during the Bronze Age. Finally, we show that the genomes of present-day groups geographically and historically linked to the Bronze Age Levant, including the great majority of present-day Jewish groups and Levantine Arabic-speaking groups, are consistent with having 50% or more of their ancestry from people related to groups who lived in the Bronze Age Levant and the Chalcolithic Zagros. These present-day groups also show ancestries that cannot be modeled by the available ancient DNA data, highlighting the importance of additional major genetic effects on the region since the Bronze Age.” ref

Their Results

DNA from the bones of 73 individuals from 5 archaeological sites in the Southern Levant (Table S1; STAR Methods; Figure 1A):

  • Thirty-five individuals from Tel Megiddo (northern Israel), most of whom date to the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age, except for one dating to the Intermediate Bronze Age and one dating to the Early Iron  Age
  • Twenty-one individuals from the Baq‛ah in central  Jordan (northeast of Amman), mostly from the Late Bronze Age
  • Thirteen individuals from Yehud (central Israel), dating to the Intermediate Bronze Age
  • Three individuals from Tel Hazor (northern Israel) dating to the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age
  • One      individual from Tel Abel Beth Maacah (northern Israel), dating to the Iron Age ref

“For all analyzed samples but one, DNA was extracted from petrous bones. The DNA was converted to double-indexed half Uracil-DNA glycosylase (UDG)-treated libraries that we enriched for about 1.2 million single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) before sequencing (see STAR Methods). The median number of autosomal SNPs covered was 288,863 (range 4,883–945,269). In addition to genetic data, we measured values of strontium isotopes for 12 individuals (and for 8 additional individuals that did not produce DNA) (STAR Methods; Methods S1A), and generated accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates for 20 individuals (Table S1). We combined our newly generated data with published data for 13 Bronze Age Southern Levant individuals from ‘Ain-Ghazal, Sidon, Tel Shadud, and Ashkelon (van den Brink et al., 2017, Feldman et al., 2019, Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016), and 7 Iron Age Southern Levant Individuals from Ashkelon (Feldman et al., 2019). The projected the autosomal genetic data onto the plane spanned by the first two principal components of 777 present-day West Eurasian individuals genotyped for roughly 600,000 SNPs on the Affymetrix Human Origins SNP array (Lazaridis et al., 2014). The reserchers restricted the plot to 68 individuals represented by at least 30,000 autosomal SNPs (Figure 1B), a coverage threshold where the ability to infer ancestry was robust to sampling noise (Methods S1B). All Bronze and Iron Age Levant individuals (blue and green shapes) form a tight cluster, except for three outliers from Megiddo, and previously identified outliers from the Ashkelon population known as Iron Age I (IA1) (Feldman et al., 2019). We also ran ADMIXTURE on a set of 1,663 present-day and ancient individuals (see STAR Methods; Figure S1). The ADMIXTURE results are qualitatively consistent with the principal component analysis (PCA), suggesting that all individuals but the outliers from Megiddo and the Ashkelon IA1 population have similar ancestry (Figure 1C). The method described in (Olalde et al., 2019) to identify 17 individuals as being first-, second-, or third-degree relatives of other individuals in the dataset. They fall within seven families: five in Tel Megiddo and two in the Baq‛ah. In most families, we used only the member with the highest SNP coverage in subsequent analyses (Table S1). Two of the three Megiddo outliers are a brother and a sister (Family 4, I2189 and I2200), leaving in the final dataset two individuals marked as outliers. After removing low-coverage individuals and closely related family members, 62 individuals were left for further analysis (Table S1). High Degree of Genetic Affinities between Multiple Sites: The reserch divided the 26 high-coverage individuals from Tel Megiddo into the following groups, on the basis of geographic location, archaeological period, and genetic clustering in PCA (Table S1): Intermediate Bronze Age (Megiddo_IBA, a single individual), Middle-to-Late Bronze Age (Megiddo_MLBA, 22 individuals), Iron Age (Megiddo_IA, a single individual), as well as the two outliers, Megiddo_I2200 and Megiddo_I10100, which were each treated as a separate group. We compared these groups and the other populations in our dataset to previously published data from other sites in the broader region and from earlier periods, including the Early Bronze Age Caucasus (Armenia_EBA), the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age Caucasus (Armenia_MLBA), the Chalcolithic Zagros Mountains (Iran_ChL), the Chalcolithic Caucasus (Armenia_ChL), the Neolithic of the Southern Levant (Levant_N), the Neolithic of the Zagros Mountains (Iran_N), and the Neolithic of Anatolia (Anatolia_N) (Lazaridis et al., 2016).” ref

“To test for variation in ancestry proportions among the Levant Bronze and Iron Age groups, we used qpWave. qpWave tests whether each possible pair of groups (Testi, Testj) is consistent with descending from a common ancestral population—that is, consistent with being a clade—since separation from the ancestors of a set of outgroup populations. qpWave works by computing symmetry test statistics of the form f4(Testi, Testj; Outgroupk, Outgroupl), which have an expected value of zero if (Testi, Testj) form a clade with respect to the outgroups. qpWave then generates a single p value corrected for the empirically measured correlation among the statistics (Reich et al., 2012). Using a distantly related set of outgroups, we found that with the exception of the outliers from Megiddo, Ashkelon IA1, and Sidon, all Bronze and Iron Age Levant groups are consistent with being pairwise clades with respect to the outgroups (Figure 2). We discuss each of qpWave’s findings of significant population substructure in turn. The Megiddo outliers not only fail to form a clade with the other populations, but also with each other. Ashkelon IA1 has previously been reported to harbor European ancestry, and so our finding that it is genetically differentiated from contemporary groups is unsurprising (Feldman et al., 2019). The significant differentiation of the Sidon individuals in qpWave—despite the fact that they roughly cluster with the other Southern Levant Bronze Age groups in PCA and ADMIXTURE—is notable, especially because we find that they are consistent with forming a clade with the two groups from coastal Ashkelon that do not have European-related admixture (the Bronze Age and later Iron Age groups ASH_LBA and ASH_IA2). Speculatively, this observation could be related to the fact that both Sidon and Ashkelon were port towns with connections to other Mediterranean coastal groups outside the Southern Levant, which could have introduced ancestry components that are absent from inland Levantine Bronze Age groups, although it is difficult to test this hypothesis in the absence of high resolution ancient DNA sampling from the eastern Mediterranean rim. The genetic distinctiveness of the Sidon individuals is also compatible with previous findings that Chalcolithic Levantine individuals from Peqi’in Cave are consistent with contributing some ancestry to the Sidon individuals, but not to the ‘Ain Ghazal ones (Harney et al., 2018). We considered the possibility that the significantly different genetic patterns we detect in the Sidon individuals could reflect their different experimental treatment compared with that of the other individuals in this study (shotgun sequencing of non-UDG-treated libraries compared with enrichment of UDG-treated libraries). To test this, we repeated the analyses by using only transversion SNPs, which are less prone to characteristic ancient DNA errors, but found no indication of systematic bias (Wang et al., 2015). However, we did find evidence of substructure within the Sidon individuals, and some but not all were consistent with forming a clade with inland Southern Levant populations, a finding that could reflect substantial cosmopolitan nature of this coastal site (Methods S1C, see Discussion).” ref

“To reveal subtler population structure, we repeated the qpWave analysis adding outgroups that are genetically closer to the test groups, such as Armenia_MLBA and Natufian (Figure 3). With this more powerful set of outgroups, Baq‛ah and Megiddo_IBA also provide evidence of not being pairwise clades with the remaining groups. Thus, beyond the broad observation of genetic affinities between sites, we also observe subtle ancestry heterogeneity across the region during the Bronze Age (see Discussion). Gene Flow into the Southern Levant During the Bronze Age: Two previous studies of Bronze Age individuals from ‘Ain Ghazal and Sidon modeled them as derived from a mixture of earlier local groups (Levant_N) and groups related to peoples of the Chalcolithic Zagros mountains (Iran_ChL) (Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016). These groups were estimated to harbor around 56%±±3% and 48%±±4% Neolithic Levant-related ancestry for ‘Ain Ghazal (Lazaridis et al., 2016) and Sidon (Haber et al., 2017), respectively. We used qpAdm to estimate that Bronze and Iron Age Ashkelon (ASH_LBA and ASH_IA2) carry 54%±±5% and 42%±±5% Neolithic Levant-related ancestry, respectively. Next, we used qpAdm to test the same model for the data reported here and found that most Middle-to-Late Bronze Age groups fit the model, with point estimates of 48%–57% Levant_N ancestry. These ancestry proportions are statistically indistinguishable (Bonferroni-corrected z test), which corroborates the fact that they are consistent with forming pairwise clades in qpWave (Table S2; Methods S1D). The only group that failed to fit this model was Baq‛ah (p = 0.0003), even when using a wide range of outgroup populations (Table S2). This might be a result of ancestry heterogeneity across the Baq‛ah individuals. To obtain insight into the Zagros-related ancestry component, we focused on two questions: what is the likely origin of this ancestry component and what is its likely timing? Although people of the Chalcolithic Zagros are so far the best proxy population for this ancestry component, there is no archaeological evidence for cultural spread directly from the Zagros into the Southern Levant during the Bronze Age. In contrast, there is archaeological support for connections between Bronze Age Southern Levant groups and the Caucasus (Greenberg and Goren, 2009), a term we use to represent both present-day Caucasus, as well as neighboring regions such as eastern Anatolia (see Discussion). With regard to the timing of these events, archaeology points to cultural affinities between the Kura-Araxes (Caucasus) and Khirbet Kerak (Southern Levant) archaeological cultures in the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE (Greenberg and Goren, 2009), and textual evidence documents a number of non-Semitic, Hurrian (from the northeast of the ancient Near East) personal names in the 2nd millennium BCE, for example in the Amarna archive of the 14th century BCE (Na’aman, 1994b). The reserchers, therefore, reasoned that the Chalcolithic Zagros component might have arrived into the Southern Levant through the Caucasus (and even more proximately the northeastern areas of the ancient Near East, although we have no ancient DNA sampling from this region). This movement might not have been limited to a short pulse, and instead could have involved multiple waves throughout the Bronze Age. To test whether the origin of the gene flow was from the Caucasus, rather than directly from the Zagros region, we ran qpAdm, replacing Iran_ChL with Early Bronze Age Caucasus (Armenia_EBA). We found that the Caucasus model received similar support to that of the Zagros model (Table S2; Methods S1E). Next, we modeled Armenia_EBA as a mixture of an earlier Caucasus population (Chalcolithic Armenia, Armenia_ChL) and Iran_ChL and found that indeed Armenia_EBA is compatible with this model (Table S2). Altogether, we conclude that our data are also compatible with a model in which Zagros-related ancestry in the Southern Levant arrived through the Caucasus, either directly or via intermediates.” ref

“To study the timing of the admixture of Zagros-related ancestry in the Southern Levant, we leveraged the large time span of individuals in our dataset, extending across roughly 1,500 years, from the Intermediate Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Using qpAdm-based ancestry estimates for each of the individuals, we found that almost all are compatible with being an admixture of groups related to the Neolithic Levant and Chalcolithic Zagros. One exception to this is an individual in Megiddo_MLBA that is weakly compatible with the model. Another exception is three individuals in the Baq’ah (Table S2), which suggests that the difficulty in modeling individuals from this site as a mixture of Neolithic Levant and Chalcolithic Zagros might reflect ancestry heterogeneity (Figure 3). These results do not change qualitatively when we used a larger set of outgroup populations (Table S2). We observed that the oldest individuals in our collection, from the Intermediate Bronze Age, already carried significant Zagros-related ancestry, suggesting that gene flow into the region started before ca. 2400 BCE. This is consistent with the hypothesis that people of Kura-Araxes archaeological complex of the 3rd millennium BCE might have affected the Southern Levant not only culturally, but also through some degree of movement of people. Our data also imply an increase in the proportion of Zagros-related ancestry after the Intermediate Bronze Age, as reflected in a significantly positive slope in a linear regression of the Chalcolithic-Zagros-related ancestry over the calendar year (β=1.4⋅104±0.4⋅104β=1.4⋅104±0.4⋅104, Jackknife), amounting to an increase of ∼14% per thousand years (Figures 4 and S2A). However, we caution that the number of individuals and their time span are insufficient to determine whether the increase in the Zagros-related ancestry happened continuously during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, or whether there were multiple distinct migration events. The two outliers from Megiddo (three including the sibling pair) provide additional evidence for the timing and origin of gene flow into the region. The three were found in close proximity to each other at Level K-10, which is radiocarbon dated to 1581–1545 BCE (domestic occupation) and 1578–1421 BCE (burials; both ± 1 s) (Martin et al., 2020, Toffolo et al., 2014), whereas the bone of one of the three (I10100) was directly dated (1688–1535 BCE, ± 2Σ). The reason these individuals are distinct from the rest is that their Caucasus- or Zagros-related genetic component is much higher, reflecting ongoing gene flow into the region from the northeast (Table S2; Figure S2B). The Neolithic Levant component is 22%–27% in I2200, and 9%–26% in I10100. These individuals are unlikely to be first generation migrants, as strontium isotope analysis on the two outlier siblings (I2189 and I2200) (Methods S1A) suggests that they were raised locally. This implies that the Megiddo outliers might be descendants of people who arrived in recent generations. Direct support for this hypothesis comes from the fact that in sensitive qpAdm modeling (including closely related sets of outgroups), the only working northeast source population for these two individuals is the contemporaneous Armenia_MLBA, whereas the earlier Iran_ChL and Armenia_EBA do not fit (Table S2). The addition of Iran_ChL to the set of outgroups does not change this result or cause model failure. Finally, no other Levantine group shows a similar admixture pattern (Table S2). This shows that some level of gene flow into the Levant took place during the later phases of the Bronze Age and suggests that the source of this gene flow was the Caucasus. Altogether, our analyses show that gene flow into the Levant from people related to those in the Caucasus or Zagros was already occurring by the Intermediate Bronze Age, and that it lingered, episodically or continuously, at least in inland sites, during the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age.” ref

Further Change in Levantine Populations Since the Bronze Age

“To develop a sense of population changes in the Levant since the Bronze Age, we attempted to model groups that have a tradition of descent from ancient people in the region (Jews) as well as Levantine Arabic-speakers as mixtures of various ancient source populations. qpAdm assumes no admixture between groups related to the outgroups and the source populations, but almost all present-day Levantine and Mediterranean populations have significant sub-Saharan-African-related admixture that the ancient groups did not. This eliminates many key outgroups for qpAdm and reduces the utility of the method in this context. In particular, we were not able to apply qpAdm to get a single working model for the majority of present-day West Eurasian populations. As an alternative, we developed a methodology we call LINADMIX, which relies on the output of ADMIXTURE (Alexander et al., 2009) and uses constrained least-squares to estimate the contribution of given source populations to a target population (see STAR Methods). As a complementary approach, we developed a tool we call pseudo-haplotype ChromoPainter (PHCP), which is an adaptation of the haplotype-based method ChromoPainter (Lawson et al., 2012) to ancient genomes (see STAR Methods; Methods S1F). We first established that these methods provide meaningful estimates of ancestry in the context of this study by using them to re-compute the ancestry proportions that we were able to model with qpAdm. Both LINADMIX and PHCP (Table S3; Figure S3; Methods S1F) produce qualitatively similar estimates as qpAdm (Table S2). To further establish the methods, we performed simulations that were designed to test the methods’ abilities to infer ancestry proportions in present-day populations in a setup similar to the current study (Methods S1H). For this, we generated present-day populations as a mixture of two closely related ancient populations with and without a third, more distant, population. Both methods estimated the ancestry proportion of the distant source population with errors of up to 4% and the proportions of the closely related source populations with errors of up to 10%. Thus, although ADMIXTURE, the basis of LINADMIX, is known to have certain pitfalls as a tool for quantifying ancestry proportions (Lawson et al., 2018), in the case of individuals with ancestry sources similar to those we have analyzed here, our results suggest that both LINADMIX and PHCP are highly informative. For the LINADMIX analysis of present-day populations, we used a background dataset of 1,663 present-day and ancient individuals from 239 populations genotyped by using SNP arrays and focused our analysis on 14 Jewish and Levantine present-day populations, along with modern English, Tuscan, and Moroccan populations that were used as controls. We used LINADMIX to model each of the 17 present-day populations as an admixture of four sources: (1) Megiddo_MLBA (the largest group) as a representative of the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age component; (2) Iran_ChL as a representative of the Zagros and the Caucasus; (3) Present-day Somalis as representatives of an Eastern African source (in the absence of genetic data on ancient populations from the region); and (4) Europe_LNBA as a representative of ancient Europeans from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (Methods S1I; Table S4; Figure S4). We also applied PHCP to these 17 present-day populations (Methods S1G; Table S4; Figure S4). Comparison of PHCP and LINADMIX shows that they agree well with respect to the Somali and Europe_LNBA component, and therefore also for the combined contribution of Iran_ChL and Megiddo_MLBA (Methods S1G; Figure S4). However, they deviate regarding the respective contributions of Iran_ChL and Megiddo_MLBA (Figure S4), likely because of the fact that the Megiddo_MLBA and Iran_ChL are already very similar populations (Table S3). To only consider results that are robust and shared by LINADMIX and PHCP, we have combined Megiddo_MLBA and Iran_ChL to a single source population representing the Middle East for our main results (Figure 5). We further verified these conclusions, as well as the robustness of the estimations, by using a different representative for the Bronze Age Levantine groups as a source (Tables S4 and S5; Methods S1J) and using perturbations to the ADMIXTURE parameters (Table S4; Methods S1K). Combined, these results suggest that modern populations related to the Levant are consistent with having a substantial ancestry component from the Bronze Age Southern Levant and the Chalcolithic Zagros. Nonetheless, other potential ancestry sources are possible, and more ancient samples might enable a refined picture (Table S4).” ref

The results show that since the Bronze Age, an additional East-African-related component was added to the region (on average ∼10.6%, excluding Ethiopian Jews who harbor ∼80% East African component), as well as a European-related component (on average ∼8.7%, excluding Ashkenazi Jews who harbor a ∼41% European-related component). The East-African-related component is highest in Ethiopian Jews and North Africans (Moroccans and Egyptians). It exists in all Arabic-speaking populations (apart from the Druze). The European-related component is highest in the European control populations (English and Tuscan), as well as in Ashkenazi and Moroccan Jews, both having a history in Europe (Atzmon et al., 2010, Carmi et al., 2014, Schroeter, 2008). This component is present, although in smaller amount, in all other populations except for Bedouin B and Ethiopian Jews. As expected, the English and Tuscan populations have a very low Middle-Eastern-related component. Whereas LINADMIX and PHCP have high uncertainty in estimating the relative contributions of Megiddo_MLBA and Iran_ChL, the results and simulations nevertheless suggest that additional Zagros-related ancestry has penetrated the region since the Bronze Age (Methods S1I). Except for the populations with the highest Zagros-related component, PHCP estimates lower magnitudes of this component (Figure S4A), and therefore detection by PHCP of a Zagros-related ancestry is likely an indication for the presence of this component. Indeed, examining the results of LINADMIX and PHCP on all four source populations (Figure S4), we observe a relatively large Zagros-related component in many Arabic-speaking groups, suggesting that gene flow from populations related to those of the Zagros and Caucasus (although not necessarily from these specific regions) continued even after the Iron Age (Methods S1I). Altogether, the patterns of the present-day populations reflect demographic processes that occurred after the Bronze Age and are plausibly related to processes known from the historical literature (Methods S1I). These include an Eastern-African-related component that is present in Arabic-speaking groups but is lower in non-Ethiopian Jewish groups, as well as Zagros-related contribution to Levantine populations, which is highest in the northernmost population examined, suggesting a contribution of populations related to the Zagros even after the Bronze and Iron Ages. The results provide a comprehensive genetic picture of the primary inhabitants of the Southern Levant during the 2nd millennium BCE, known in the historical record and based on shared material culture as “Canaanites.” We carried out a detailed analysis aimed at answering three basic questions: how genetically homogeneous were these people, what were their plausible origins with respect to earlier peoples, and how much change in ancestry has there been in the region since the Bronze Age? Earlier genetic analyses modeled the genomes of Middle-to-Late Bronze Age people of the Southern Levant as having almost equal shares of earlier local populations (Levant_N) and populations that are related to the Chalcolithic Zagros (Feldman et al., 2019, Haber et al., 2017, Lazaridis et al., 2016), suggesting a movement from the northeast into the Southern Levant. Here, we provide more details on this process, taking into account evidence from both archaeology and our temporally and geographically diverse genetic data. Because there is little archaeological evidence of a direct cultural connection between the Southern Levant and the Zagros region in this period, the Caucasus is a more likely source for this ancestry. We used our data to compare these two scenarios and concluded that the genetic data are compatible with both.” ref

“The Megiddo outliers, which we inferred to be relative newcomers to the region, are particularly important in demonstrating that the gene flow continued throughout the Bronze Age and that at least some of the gene flow likely came from the Caucasus rather than the Zagros. These two individuals have the highest proportions of Zagros- or Caucasian-related ancestry in our dataset. Analysis of these outliers gave significantly stronger evidence of a Caucasus source compared with a Zagros one, although this conclusion might be revised once ancient DNA data from the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age in the Zagros region become available. The two Megiddo individuals with the next lowest Neolithic Levant component (I10769 and I10770, brothers) were found near the monumental tomb that was likely related to the palace at Megiddo, raising the possibility that they might be associated with the ruling caste. Indeed, a ruler of Taanach (a town located immediately to the south of Megiddo) mentioned in a 15th century BCE cuneiform tablet found at the site and the rulers of Megiddo and Taanach mentioned in the 14th century BCE Amarna letters (found in Egypt) carry Hurrian names (a language spoken in the northeast of the ancient Near East, possibly including the Caucasus) (Na’aman, 1994b). This provides some evidence—albeit so far only suggestive—that at least some of the ruling groups in these (and other) cities might have originated from the northeast of the ancient Near East. The Caucasus is represented in this study by ancient groups from the present-day country of Armenia, but the region known to have had cultural ties with the Southern Levant is much broader. Evidence of cultural effects on the Southern Levant is mainly focused on the Kura-Araxes culture during the Early Bronze Age (archaeology) and on the Hurrians during the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age (linguistic testimony). These two complexes were spread over the Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia, and neighboring regions. The Armenian sites we analyzed are the best representatives to date of these cultures. The Early Bronze Age individuals from Armenia (Armenia_EBA) come from an Early Bronze Age Kura-Araxes burial ground, and the later Middle-to-Late Bronze Age individuals (Armenia_MLBA) come from the Aragatsotn Province in northwestern Armenia. It is important to note that the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Anatolian individuals analyzed in this study come from the northwestern part of Anatolia, which is not part of the Caucasus. The Chalcolithic Zagros individuals come from the Kangavar Valley in Iran, which is located on the border of the Kura-Araxes influence.” ref

“The term “Canaanites” is loosely defined, referring to a collection of groups (which in the Bronze Age were organized in a city-state system) and thus in principle could lack genetic coherence. The individuals examined here cover a wide geographic span—coming from nine sites in present-day Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Our analyses revealed that, with the exception of Sidon (and to a smaller extent the individuals of the Baq‛ah), they are homogeneous in the sense of being closer to each other than to other contemporary and neighboring populations. This suggests that the archaeological and historical category of “Canaanites” correlates with shared ancestry (Eisenmann et al., 2018). This resembles the pattern observed in the Aegean basin during the 2nd millennium BCE, where the cultural categories of “Minoan” and “Mycenaean” show evidence of genetic homogeneity across multiple sites albeit with potentially subtle ancestry differences within these groupings (Lazaridis et al., 2017). Another example is the “Yamnaya” pastoralists of late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BCE in the western Eurasian Steppe (Allentoft et al., 2015, Haak et al., 2015). This contrasts with the pattern seen in other places, such as for the Bell Beaker cultural complex of the 2nd millennium BCE (Olalde et al., 2018), where people sharing similar cultural practices had widely varying ancestry. In any case, the detection of such associations—as we do here—cannot by itself prove that group identities in the past were related to genetics. From the groups we have examined, the only one that is somewhat diverged from the rest is Sidon. We provide evidence against the possibility that this observation is a batch effect (Methods S1C). Rather, we suggest that the relative remoteness of Sidon stems from the fact that this population is genetically heterogeneous and has different individuals showing resemblance to different Southern Levantine groups (Methods S1C). During the 2nd millennium BCE, Sidon was a major port city and was connected in trading relations with the eastern Mediterranean basin, which could have led to a significant genetic inflow, making its population more heterogeneous than that of inland cities. This might also be the reason that the site that most resembles Sidon is Ashkelon, which is another coastal site. The only inland population that resembles Sidon is Abel Beth Maacah, perhaps because of its geographic proximity (Figures 1A and 2). Apart from Sidon, Baq‛ah also shows some minor deviations from the rest when taking a richer set of outgroup populations (Figure 3). The Baq‛ah is located on the fringe of the Syrian desert, therefore this population might be admixed with more eastern groups, which are not yet genetically sampled. This might be reflected by the fact that the individuals of the Baq‛ah also show some degree of variability in their ancestry patterns (Table S2).” ref

“Although this study focuses on the Bronze Age, it also reports two new samples from the Iron Age—one from Megiddo and the other from Abel Beth Maacah. These two individuals show ancestry patterns that are very similar to those observed in the Middle and Late Bronze Age individuals (Figure 4), suggesting that the destruction at the end of the Bronze Age in the region did not necessarily lead to genetic discontinuity in each and every site. Notably, both Abel Beth Maacah and Megiddo are inland cities, and their genetic continuity throughout the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age might not be representative of other sites in the region. For example, one of the two Iron Age populations in the Philistine coastal city of Ashkelon (ASH_IA1) showed evidence of mobility of populations related to southern Europe around the Bronze Age to Iron Age transition (Feldman et al., 2019). Estimating the ancestry proportions in present-day Middle Eastern populations with substantial sub-Saharan African admixture (as well as multiple sources of admixture from different parts of the Mediterranean), is difficult. We addressed the problem by developing two statistical techniques and then testing the robustness of our inference on the basis of a comparison between these methods, simulations, and perturbations of the input (see STAR Methods; Methods S1F–S1K). We examined 14 present-day populations that are historically or geographically linked to the Southern Levant and tested the contributions of East Africa, Europe, and the Middle East (combining Southern Levant Bronze Age populations and Zagros-related Chalcolithic ones) to their ancestry. We found that both Arabic-speaking and Jewish populations are compatible with having more than 50% Middle-Eastern-related ancestry. This does not mean that any these present-day groups bear direct ancestry from people who lived in the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age Levant or in Chalcolithic Zagros; rather, it indicates that they have ancestries from populations whose ancient proxy can be related to the Middle East. The Zagros- or Caucasian-related ancestry flow into the region apparently continued after the Bronze Age. We also see an Eastern-African-related ancestry entering the region after the Bronze Age with an approximate south-to-north gradient. In addition, we observe a European-related ancestry with the opposite gradient (north-to-south). Given the difficulties in separating the ancestry components arriving from the Southern Levant and the Zagros, an important direction for future work will be to reconstruct in high resolution the ancestry trajectories of each present-day group, and to understand how people from the Southern Levant Bronze Age mixed with other people in later periods in the context of processes known from the rich archaeological and historical records of the last three millennia.” ref

“The Kura-Araxes cultural tradition is reflected in the mountains north, east and west of Mesopotamia from the mid-fourth to mid-third millennia BC. Originating in the Armenian Highlands and its subset the South Caucasus, it developed over that period, and also spread across a wide area of the Taurus and Zagros mountains, down into the Southern Levant, and north beyond the Caucasus Mountains. Despite many decades of excavation of sites relating to this cultural tradition, we know surprisingly little about the societies of the homelands and their relationship to their migrant diaspora. This paper looks at one aspect of those cultures, ritual practice and ideology, to see if it is possibly better to define the nature of and changes in Kura-Araxes societies within the homelands, and their possible relationship to migrant communities.” ref

“Excavation of the early 3rd millennium levels at Arslantepe-Malatya, which reveal substantial changes following the collapse of the Late Chalcolithic centralized system in connection with the establishment of new groups linked to the Kura-Araxes culture . The new data show that these early 3rd millennium settlements, besides marking a break with respect to the earlier Chalcolithic period and a radically new organization, interestingly also show more elements of continuity than previously thought in the maintenance of a central role for Arslantepe in the Malatya region and in the continuation of some traditions such as those related to metallurgy. Rather than a momentary intrusion of pastoral communities of Transcaucasian origin, the new picture suggests the temporary appropriation of the site by mobile, probably transhumant groups moving in a wide area around the plain and already well-rooted in the region; after the destruction of the 4th millennium (4000 through 3000 BCE or around 6,020 to 5,020 years ago) palace, they used Arslantepe as their power center and landmark, probably competing with the local rural population for the control of the site and the region. This article presents the main results obtained during the recent excavation of levels from the beginning of the 3rd millennium in Arslantepe-Malatya, levels which revealed profound changes after the collapse of the centralized system of the Late Chalcolithic, in connection with the installation. on the site new population groups linked to the Kura-Araxe culture. Besides the fact that they mark a break with the Chalcolithic and testify to a radically new organization, recent data show that these occupations of the beginning of the 3rd millennium also present more elements of continuity than previously thought in the maintenance of the central role d’Arslantepe in the region of Malatya and in the pursuit of certain traditions such as those related to metallurgy. The image that is emerging now suggests the temporary appropriation of the site by mobile groups, probably transhumant, moving over a large area around the [Malatya] plain and already well established in this region, more than a temporary intrusion. pastoral communities from Transcaucasia. After the destruction of the 4th millennium palace.” ref

The formative processes of the Kura-Araxes cultural complex, and the date and circumstances of its rise, have been long debated. Shulaveri-Shomu culture preceded the Kura–Araxes culture in the area. There were many differences between these two cultures, so the connection was not clear. Later, it was suggested that the Sioni culture of eastern Georgia possibly represented a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex. At many sites, the Sioni culture layers can be seen as intermediary between Shulaver-Shomu-Tepe layers and the Kura-Araxes layers. This kind of stratigraphy warrants a chronological place of the Sioni culture at around 4000 BCE. Nowadays scholars consider the Kartli area, as well as the Kakheti area (in the river Sioni region) as key to forming the earliest phase of the Kura–Araxes culture. To a large extent, this appears as an indigenous culture of Caucasus that was formed over a long period, and at the same time incorporating foreign influences. There are some indications (such as at Arslantepe) of the overlapping in time of the Kura-Araxes and Uruk cultures; such contacts may go back even to the Middle Uruk period. Some scholars have suggested that the earliest manifestation of the Kura-Araxes phenomenon should be dated at least to the last quarter of the 5th millennium BC. This is based on the recent data from Ovçular Tepesi, a Late Chalcolithic settlement located in Nakhchivan by the Arpaçay river.” ref

Kura-Araxes Cultural Expansion

“They proceed westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, and to the southeast into the area of Lake Van, and below the Urmia basin in Iran, such as to Godin Tepe. Finally, it proceeded into present-day Syria (Amuq valley), and as far as Palestine. Its territory corresponds to large parts of modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, and parts of Iran and Turkey. At Sos Hoyuk, in Erzurum Province, Turkey, early forms of Kura-Araxes pottery were found in association with local ceramics as early as 3500-3300 BC. During the Early Bronze Age in 3000-2200 BC, this settlement was part of the Kura-Araxes phenomenon. At Arslantepe, Turkey, around 3000 BCE, there was widespread burning and destruction, after which Kura-Araxes pottery appeared in the area. According to Geoffrey Summers, the movement of Kura-Araxes peoples into Iran and the Van region, which he interprets as quite sudden, started shortly before 3000 BC, and may have been prompted by the ‘Late Uruk Collapse’ (end of the Uruk period), taking place at the end of Uruk IV phase c. 3100 BC.” ref

“Archaeological evidence of inhabitants of the Kura–Araxes culture showed that ancient settlements were found along the Hrazdan river, as shown by drawings at a mountainous area in a cave nearby. Structures in settlements have not revealed much differentiation, nor was there much difference in size or character between settlements, facts that suggest they probably had a poorly developed social hierarchy for a significant stretch of their history. Some, but not all, settlements were surrounded by stone walls. They built mud-brick houses, originally round, but later developing into subrectangular designs with structures of just one or two rooms, multiple rooms centered around an open space, or rectilinear designs. At some point, the culture’s settlements and burial grounds expanded out of lowland river valleys and into highland areas. Although some scholars have suggested that this expansion demonstrates a switch from agriculture to pastoralism and that it serves as possible proof of a large-scale arrival of Indo-Europeans, facts such as that settlement in the lowlands remained more or less continuous suggest merely that the people of this culture were diversifying their economy to encompass crop and livestock agriculture. Shengavit Settlement is a prominent Kura-Araxes site in present-day Yerevan area in Armenia. It was inhabited from approximately 3200 BC cal to 2500 BC cal. Later on, in the Middle Bronze Age, it was used irregularly until 2200 BC cal. The town occupied an area of six hectares, which is large for Kura-Araxes sites.” ref

Kura-Araxes Ritual Mounds

“In the 3rd millennium B.C., one particular group of mounds of the Kura–Araxes culture is remarkable for their wealth. This was the final stage of culture’s development. These burial mounds are known as the Martqopi (or Martkopi) period mounds. Those on the left bank of the river Alazani are often 20–25 meters high and 200–300 meters in diameter. They contain especially rich artefacts, such as gold and silver jewelry. Inhumation practices are mixed. Flat graves are found but so are substantial kurgan burials, the latter of which may be surrounded by cromlechs. This points to a heterogeneous ethno-linguistic population. Analyzing the situation in the Kura-Araxes period, T.A. Akhundov notes the lack of unity in funerary monuments, which he considers more than strange in the framework of a single culture; for the funeral rites reflect the deep culture-forming foundations and are weakly influenced by external customs. There are non-kurgan and kurgan burials, burials in-ground pits, in stone boxes and crypts, in the underlying ground strata, and on top of them; using both the round and rectangular burials; there are also substantial differences in the typical corpse position. Burial complexes of Kura–Araxes culture sometimes also include cremation. Here one can come to the conclusion that the Kura–Araxes culture developed gradually through a synthesis of several cultural traditions, including the ancient cultures of the Caucasus and nearby territories.” ref

‘Origin of Early Transcaucasian Culture (aka Kura-Araxes culture)

From the paper:

Akhundov (2007) recently uncovered pre-Kura-Araxes/Late Chalcolithic materials  from the settlement of Boyuk Kesik and the kurgan necropolis of Soyuq Bulaq in  northwestern Azerbaijan, and Makharadze (2007) has also excavated a pre-Kura-Araxes  kurgan, Kavtiskhevi, in central Georgia. Materials recovered from both these recent  excavations can be related to remains from the metal-working Late Chalcolithic site  of Leilatepe on the Karabakh steppe near Agdam (Narimanov et al. 2007) and from  the earliest level at the multi-period site of Berikldeebi in Kvemo Kartli (Glonti and Dzavakhishvili 1987). They reveal the presence of early 4th millennium raised burial  mounds or kurgans in the southern Caucasus. Similarly, on the basis of her survey work  in eastern Anatolia north of the Oriental Taurus mountains, C. Marro (2007)likens chafffaced wares collected at Hanago in the Sürmeli Plain and Astepe and Colpan in the eastern  Lake Van district in northeastern Turkey with those found at the sites mentioned above  and relates these to similar wares (Amuq E/F) found south of the Taurus Mountains in  northern Mesopotamia

The new high dating of the Maikop culture essentially signifies that there is no
chronological hiatus separating the collapse of the Chalcolithic Balkan centre of
metallurgical production and the appearance of Maikop and the sudden explosion of  Caucasian metallurgical production and use of arsenical copper/bronzes.
 More than  forty calibrated radiocarbon dates on Maikop and related materials now support this high  chronology; and the revised dating for the Maikop culture means that the earliest kurgans  occur in the northwestern and southern Caucasus and precede by several centuries those of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) cultures of the western Eurasian steppes (cf. Chernykh and Orlovskaya 2004a and b). The calibrated radiocarbon dates suggest that the Maikop ‘culture’ seems to have had a formative influence on steppe kurgan burial rituals and what now appears to be the later development of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture on the Eurasian steppes (Chernykh and Orlovskaya 2004a: 97).

In other words, sometime around the middle of the 4th millennium BCE or slightly subsequent to the initial appearance of the Maikop culture of the NW Caucasus, settlements containing proto-Kura-Araxes or early Kura-Araxes materials first appear across a broad area that stretches from the Caspian littoral of the northeastern Caucasus in the north to the Erzurum region of the Anatolian Plateau in the west. For simplicity’s sake these roughly simultaneous developments across this broad area will be considered as representing the beginnings of the Early Bronze Age or the initial stages of development of the KuraAraxes/Early Transcaucasian culture.

The ‘homeland’ (itself a very problematic concept) of the Kura-Araxes culture-historical community is difficult to pinpoint precisely, a fact that may suggest that there is no single well-demarcated area of origin, but multiple interacting areas including northeastern Anatolia as far as the Erzurum area, the catchment area drained by the Upper Middle Kura and Araxes Rivers in Transcaucasia and the Caspian corridor and adjacent mountainous regions of northeastern Azerbaijan and southeastern Daghestan. While broadly (and somewhat imprecisely) defined, these regions constitute on present evidence the original core area out of which the Kura-Araxes ‘culture-historical community’ emerged.

Kura-Araxes materials found in other areas are primarily intrusive in the local sequences. Indeed, many, but not all, sites in the Malatya area along the Upper Euphrates drainage of eastern Anatolia (e.g., Norsun-tepe, Arslantepe) and western Iran (e.g., Yanik Tepe, Godin Tepe) exhibit— albeit with some overlap—a relatively sharp break in material remains, including new forms of architecture and domestic dwellings, and such changes support the interpretation of a subsequent spread or dispersal from this broadly defined core area in the north to the southwest and southeast. The archaeological record seems to document a movement of peoples north to south across a very extensive part of the Ancient Near East from the end of the 4th to the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE. Although migrations are notoriously difficult to document on archaeological evidence, these materials constitute one of the best examples of prehistoric movements of peoples available for the Early Bronze Age.” ref

Origins, Homelands and Migrations: Situating the Kura-Araxes Early Transcaucasian ‘Culture’ within the History of Bronze Age Eurasia

“This paper summarizes the current understanding of the emergence, nature and subsequent southwestern and southeastern spread of the early Transcaucasian (eTC) or Kura-Araxes ‘culture-historical community’ (Russian: obshchnost’) and then places this complex cultural phenomenon in the context of the larger early Bronze Age world of the Ancient Near East and the western Eurasian steppes.” ref

Early Bronze Age migrants and ethnicity in the Middle Eastern mountain zone

“This analysis shows the complex interaction of ethnic groups in antiquity, adapting to new locations and adopting and ultimately, assimilating into a majority culture. It occurs in a background of mountain valleys and highland plains, where ever-shifting populations carve out a living and an identity.” ref


“The Kura-Araxes cultural tradition existed in the highlands of the South Caucasus from 3500 to 2450 BCE (before the Christian era). This tradition represented an adaptive regime and a symbolically encoded common identity spread over a broad area of patchy mountain environments. By 3000 BCE, groups bearing this identity had migrated southwest across a wide area from the Taurus Mountains down into the southern Levant, southeast along the Zagros Mountains, and north across the Caucasus Mountains. In these new places, they became effectively ethnic groups amid already heterogeneous societies. This paper addresses the place of migrants among local populations as ethnicities and the reasons for their disappearance in the diaspora after 2450 BCE.” ref

Kura-Araxes Case

“The societies of the so-called Kura-Araxes cultural tradition that emerged in the highlands during the fourth millennium and continued into the early third millennium BCE (before the Christian era)—Shengavitian, Karaz, Pulur, Yanik, Early Transcaucasian, and Khirbet Kerak are some of its other names—present scholars of the Greater Middle East and Eurasia with a laboratory for studying the evolution of human cultures and the societies that they spawned in highland zones, a topic much studied in ethnography and less so in archaeology.” ref

Kura-Araxes as a Cultural Tradition.

“How do we know that we are dealing with groups of ethnic migrants? The commonly cited answer is that the Kura-Araxes groups are marked by distinctive pottery styles (911) (Fig. 2). This pottery corpus consists of very distinctive handmade, black burnished pottery, often with incised or raised designs. In the latter, a thick layer is added, and then, all but the design is removed, like a faux appliqué. The cultural importance of this pottery style is that it dominates the area of the earliest appearance of the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition for a millennium or more. In areas out of the homeland of the South Caucasus [the current nation-states of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbijan (specifically Nachiçevan), and northeastern Turkey], the same pottery begins to appear, most prominently in the late fourth and early third millennia BCE. Its contrast with the local buff, wheel-made pottery makes the Kura-Araxes black ware seem out of place. Based on this fact, archaeologists have argued that this pottery represents migrants, who became, in effect, ethnic groups within the areas of the Taurus Mountains (12), the Zagros Mountains (13), the Amuq, Galilee (14), and north of the Caucasus Mountains (15). Whereas the idea that pottery style alone can define social groups—pots equal peoples (4, 11, 16)—is suspect and was used by many 19th and early 20th century archaeologists to reach rather unsophisticated and frankly, wrong conclusions about social process, in this case, it may be valid (11, 17). More than simple style is evident. Based on studies of the inclusions in the fabric of pottery bodies—pure clay cannot be used to make stable pottery without the addition of tempering materials—petrographers who study the makeup of pottery fabric determined that the residents of Bet Yeraḥ (Khirbet Kerak) in the Southern Levantine Early Bronze III (2650 BCE) were using the same techniques as those of Kura-Araxes sites hundreds of years earlier and as many kilometers away in Armenia (18, 19). The Kura-Araxes/Khirbet Kerak people and the local Early Bronze III people did not even use the same clay sources, except for some cooking pot wares.” ref

“In addition, a repeated pattern of migration is evident. In the Muş Province west of Lake Van, new sites appeared in the mountainous areas with early Kura-Araxes pottery followed by the appearance of greater population (determined by number of sites and total hectares) in the valley bottom. In the latest phases, residents were using pottery that was a fusion of Kura-Araxes and local Late Chalcolithic techniques (20). Farther west in the Taurus and the Levant, another pattern appeared. Archaeologists found small percentages of Kura-Araxes pottery first at central (or town) sites followed by the appearance of small sites dominated entirely by people using Kura-Araxes–styled pottery (12). At the same time, Frangipane and Palumbi (21) argue that, in the Upper Euphrates area near Arslantepe (Fig. 1), the fourth millennium BCE black burnished ware is not the same as the Kura-Araxes ware, deriving instead from central Anatolia to the west. In the Zagros, Kura-Araxes wares, often with design techniques different from those farther west, appear in newly founded and central sites, whereas neighboring areas lack any evidence of Kura-Araxes presence (pottery) (13).” ref

“This ethnic identity is not, however, limited to pottery style. Archaeologists found remains of a common religious ritual that spans large areas of the South Caucasian homeland and the immigrant diaspora. This common religious practice is represented by a type of ritual emplacement with decorated fireplaces (either ceramic or a free-standing andiron) (22, 23). House construction and layouts are also distinct. These practices indicate common structures of social groups (family) and activities (13). Metals items also share common design patterns, especially in decorative objects. Spiral earrings and pins with two spiral ends occur across the range of the Kura-Araxes (11, 24). Taken together, these different kinds of data suggest that there were Kura-Araxes ethnic groups within a large expanse of the upper Middle East, mostly in mountainous zones. To the west of the homeland, they were, in most cases, a minority within their new homelands and did not dominate or replace the local populations. In the Zagros to the east, they seem to be more dominant (see below). According to definitions of ethnicity by Barth (2) and Gross (3), they had the key elements of ethnic groups. They shared a symbolic identity, which was distinct and recognizable from their surrounding populations, and maintained a field of communication and interaction that extended all of the way back to their homeland. If the ritual practices are widespread—we have only a few excavated examples—their common religious ritual certainly represents a common set of values (23).” ref

“Furthermore, Anthony (25) relates these kinds of common ideological and ethnic identifiers through style (in this case, pottery, architecture, and metals) to language, one of the most prominent components of ethnographically and historically documented ethnic groups. Anthony (25) correlates distinctive regional languages and dialects to what he calls “Material-Culture Frontiers” (25). These frontiers are created by different sources of immigration and also, different ecological boundaries. The more self-sufficient that a group is in a particular environment, the more likely that they will tend toward a local language and a local, more homogeneous cultural style. This pattern may explain, in part, the many local variations in Kura-Araxes pottery designs and shapes, even in the homeland (26). However, in less certain environments or ones that require resources from a broad set of ecological niches, greater variability in language will exist. The latter describes, in part, the highland domain of the Kura-Araxes.” ref

Kura-Araxes in Broader Ecological Context.

“Issues of ecology and adaptation to local conditions within a broader geographical context are important in understanding ethnic identity and change. The Kura-Araxes homeland and the vast majority of its diaspora were mountainous environments. These environments go from the narrow valleys of the higher elevations in areas, like Shida Kartli (27), to the broader lower elevation plains, like Ararat (28, 29). All are in fairly marginal zones for agricultural, although rich in pastureland (30). One of the largest issues remaining to be resolved is the nature of the broader effect of intercultural interaction on reasons for migration (see below) and the comparison of the lowland and highland cultural structures. Archaeologists are still investigating direct relationships between the South Caucasian homeland and its adjoining regions. The raw materials for metal production north of the Caucasus (the Maikop) certainly were mined in the South Caucasus (15). Whether the Kura-Araxes societies were the source of metal technology—this possibility has long been a supposition of archaeologists—is now being questioned (31). Certainly, the Taurus and Zagros, where Kura-Araxes migrants went, are the key resources areas for the developing state societies of Mesopotamia (3234). The “supercities” of the Ukraine in the fourth millennium BCE, which are thought to be a result of exchange through the Mesopotamian Uruk expansion trading network (15, 35), had to pass through the South Caucasus. Archaeologists found fourth millennium BCE northern Mesopotamian pottery styles in the Kura-Araxes area of Georgia, and the precursors of the Kura-Araxes exhibit Mesopotamian-related styles (11, 31).” ref

“However, from what we know of the effects of the trading relationship with Mesopotamia on local societal development in other parts of the mountain zone (21, 36), such effects are not evident in the Kura-Araxes homeland. Societies and ethnic groups exhibiting the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition are a contrast to contemporary Mesopotamian societies. They were not urban societies, and as far as we can tell, they initially had subsistence economies. They had greater reliance on pastoral than agricultural products. Their productive technologies seem to have been tied to local resources, such as obsidian and flint; copper ores; semiprecious stones, like carnelian; and indigenous plants, such as wheat, barley, and grapes. Their social organization exhibited less centralization and less social differentiation than in Mesopotamia (23).” ref

Causes of Migration.

“To understand the role and the fate of ethnic groups in the diaspora, four questions need to be addressed. (i) Why did they emigrate in the first place? (ii) How does that reflect their place in the local societies? (iii) How did their new setting get reflected in their societies? (iv) In this case, why did they, in effect, disappear after 2500 B.C. as a distinct ethnic group? The first question, after evidence of a migration has been established, is to ask why it took place in enough numbers that we find their remains in mounded sites. However, “while it is often difficult to identify specific causes of particular migrations, even with the help of documentary data, it is somewhat easier to identify general structural conditions that favor the occurrence of migrations. Moreover, particular structural conditions favor migrations of particular types” (37). In other words, we need to understand the natural, cultural, and sociopolitical environments in their homeland and outside in areas of migration at the time that we are studying, and then, if there were significant movements of human groups, goods, or information, we can begin to understand how that changed the adaptations of all of the societies involved (38, 39).” ref

“The natural environments and presumably, the local conditions of émigré starting points varied. I have come to see roughly seven environmental zones with populations exhibiting the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition: (i) the higher mountain valleys of the South Caucasus, such as Shida Kartli; (ii) the lower broad areas of the South Caucasus comprising the Ararat Plains into Erzurum and the area north of Lake Van; (iii) Iran east and south of Lake Urmia; (iv) the Taurus zone from the western side of Urmia to the eastern part of Elaziğ; (v) the area of Malatya near the Euphrates, including Arslantepe; (vi) Daghestan into the northern Caucasus; and (vii) the Amuq and Khirbet Kerak of the Levant. These zones tend to elicit somewhat different symbolic languages and somewhat different adaptations. For example, styles in pottery within the overall Kura-Araxes corpus varied among these zones (9). Economically, the more northern, higher elevation societies within the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition tended to have a higher percentage of domesticated cattle than sheep compared with societies in the lower elevation environmental zones. Like dialects in language, these variations were based on the degree of interaction of people in each of these zones (26) and their particular local customs and institutions. On a continuum, they are much more similar to the styles of other peoples of the mountains than those of lowland Mesopotamia.” ref

“So, why did they leave as emigrants from their homeland? Following the suggestion by Anthony (25), what we know of the social and economic organization of these societies is that they were small scale, were nonurban, and had subsistence economies in the fourth millennium BCE but may have intensified production through irrigation in some places during the third millennium BCE (40). Areshian (29) posits a population growth in the Ararat Plain at that time. As I have argued (17, 26), the Kura-Araxes migrations did not take the form of a wave like what Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza (41) proposed for the spread of agriculture and language into Europe from the Middle East during the Neolithic Period. I see it rather as a series of vectors of movements by small groups, perhaps clans, from place to place. Some have tried to match areas within the Kura-Araxes homeland with some variation in local pottery style within the environmental and style zones that I have listed above (9, 13, 42). As we gain more data, however, this proposed pattern does not seem to work all that well. Rather, a kind of crisscross pattern of groups moving and settling long enough to create mounded sites occurred (these people are not purely nomadic people, although they could be transhumant pastoralists). In northwestern Iran, for example, some small sites are dominated by pottery typical of that in the Shida Kartli highlands in Georgia, and others are dominated by pottery typical of that in the lower mountains of the Ararat Plain of Armenia (43).” ref

“So why did they move? Demographers speak of a push and a pull in all migrations (4446). There must be some reason to be pushed out of an earlier homeland, but there must also be something that pulls the mobile population in a particular direction. Burney and Lang (10) and Areshian (29) have proposed that there was a sharp rise in population in the homeland in the early third millennium BCE. Primogeniture or other customs favoring one family member, kinship segment, or class over another, for example, may cause the less economically fortunate to emigrate. However, was it enough of a rise in population to exceed the carrying capacity of the homeland? If it was not primarily a push, was it a pull? Moch (47) writes of modern migrations that “I argue that the primary determinants of migration patterns consist of fundamental structural elements of economic life: labor force demands in countryside and city, deployment of capital, population patterns (rates of birth, death, marriage), and landholding regimes. Shifts in those elements underlie changing migration itineraries” (47). At the same time, Moch (47) admits that configurations of political economy—this factor is what anthropologists would call social organization—underlie all of the different possible itineraries. As Anthony (46) points out, “[m]igration is a social strategy, not an automatic response to crowding” (46). In this case, environmental conditions were, in fact, propitious in the homeland, and therefore, a forced exit seems less necessary (30).” ref

“Therefore, it is possible that there was a push, not so much from demographic stress but from changes in social organization and access to resources, especially arable land and pasture. There are indications of intensification of agricultural production by the construction of irrigation systems to either feed more people or support the wishes of emerging leadership groups (29). At the same time, little evidence of the kind of authority necessary to control resources and the concomitant social stratification is in evidence (23). The beginning of mobile populations, marked by kurgans and the contemporaneous building of walls at Shengavit, Mokhra Blur (23, 28, 29), and Ravaz (48), is already evident in the early third millennium BCE. Ultimately, in the homeland, the Kura-Araxes adaptation would be displaced by a more mobile and militaristic one associated with the so-called Kurgan Cultures (15, 49). Is that a significant cause? Also, as the more mobile, militaristic organization of the homeland evolved after the end of the Kura-Araxes adaptation, the black burnished pottery continued (50), indicating some continuity of the cultural tradition.” ref

“The evidence, although still slim, suggests that emigration was catalyzed more by a pull than a push (17, 13, 51). If so, the likelihood is that some economic opportunities presented themselves in the diaspora. Three productive activities are possible: animal meat or byproducts (wool), metals and metallurgical skills, or viticulture. To trace these possible pulls, I will take a more detailed look at a few of the migration sites. The first is Godin Tepe in the Kangavar Valley of the central western Zagros (13). Kura-Araxes migrants had entered the Zagros Mountains in the fourth millennium BCE. Archaeologists at Gijlar Tepe west of Lake Urmia uncovered 10 m of occupation with Kura-Araxes artifacts. Considerable time depth is also evident at Yanik Tepe on the eastern side of Lake Urmia (10) and Sangalan Tepe in Hamadan (the last destroyed by modern villagers in the 1970s). The story of Kura-Araxes people at Godin began in the late fourth millennium, when contact between the Mesopotamian lowland and the western Zagros along the High Road (later called the Silk Road) was established. Excavators recovered a few clearly Kura-Araxes potsherds in the oval-walled compound of late fourth millennium BCE Godin VI:1.” ref

“What would have pulled these Kura-Araxes people, who never went south of Kangavar or west into the Mahi Dasht, to Godin? The traditional answer has been metallurgy. Sagona (31) suggests that metallurgical work may not have been extensive enough to produce a regular flow of export products. However, there is a significant smelting installation in the third millennium BCE occupation of Godin IV:1a (13). There are, however, two alternatives. One is wine (52). Areshian et al. (53) have shown that the full process of winemaking was already known and practiced in Armenia in the fifth millennium BCE. The first clear evidence of wine at Godin Tepe occurred in VI:1 (54), just when the few Kura-Araxes potsherds appeared. Another less visible product is wool. Woolen cloth was supposed to be one of the major exports of Mesopotamia societies in the Uruk expansion (35). However, Anthony (25) points out that highland sheep had thick wool with long strands best for making yarn as opposed to the lowland sheep. After the end of VI:1 and a hiatus of about a century around 2900 BCE, significant numbers of Kura-Araxes migrants reappear at Godin Tepe. Now, rather than a small minority, they dominate Godin and the other medium-sized site in Kangavar, although the overall population of the valley remained the same as during VI:1. Sheep and goats in Godin IV tended to be killed at 4–6 y of age, old for their use as primarily meat sources but right for wool or milk production (13). The distribution of the Zagros variant of Kura-Araxes–styled pottery follows an old, inner-Zagros Mountain route that swings to the east south of the Caspian Sea. Exactly what was passed along that route we do not know, although lapis lazuli in the late fourth and early third millennia BCE followed a route to Susa (55).” ref

“For a period from 2900 to 2700 BCE, Kura-Araxes people seem to dominate the Kangavar Valley. No evidence exists of a mass departure of the local population, and some sites seem to use the older pottery. Others seem to adopt Kura-Araxes styles. However, by 2600 BCE, although the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition is still active in homeland South Caucasus, a transition occurred. Now, only 10% of the pottery was black ware, and it was undecorated. The architectural form and hypothetically, the family structure changed. As the Awan highland empire took over the Kangavar Valley (56), all vestiges of the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition disappeared. They had created a unique variant of the Kura-Araxes ethnicity in the Zagros ecological zone and then, could be conquered and assimilated by organized forces that were part of the ethnic mix all along.” ref

“To the west, the situation is quite different (12). The pattern is of small numbers of Kura-Araxes pottery and also, some ritual items, like ceramic decorated hearths at larger sites, like Korucutepe and Norşuntepe (57). This area between the Taurus massifs along the Murat River in Elaziğ Province consisted, however, of small clusters of largely decentralized communities (26). The key might be one of seeking new lands for pasture, or it might be related to Arslantepe. Arslantepe was a primate center during the fourth millennium BCE with a large temple/palace center (36). Its location at the nexus of routes from the northeast, east, west, and south made it a natural center for trade with Mesopotamia, just as Godin was but on a much smaller scale. The site was also near the largest copper mine south and west of the Caucasus, Zagros, and high Taurus at Ergani Maden. Frangipane and Palumbi (21) see the fourth millennium BCE black burnished wares at Arslantepe VIA as typical of central Anatolia, but after the collapse of the temple/palace organization, a combined population of people using a distinct variant of Kura-Araxes wares and local Plain Simple Wares occupied the site. Houses in the third millennium B.C. town had either black burnished or local buff wares (58), and some leader’s house was part of a larger feasting center, like the one at Godin. The immigrants, once a small percentage of the population in the fourth millennium BCE, had become a more significant, although still ethnically identifiable group, in the third millennium. The third millennium BCE also saw a marked increase in population around the site of Arslantepe (5961), although many of these new sites seem to be short-term occupations on rocky outcrops. Perhaps these places are temporary sites for pastoralists, whom Frangipane and Siracusano (62) see as the Kura-Araxes migrants. An increase in the percentages of mobile sheep and goats at this time reinforces this theory (62). At the same time, a “royal” tomb over the remains of the abandoned temple/palace complex suggests closer cultural ties with the Kura-Araxes homeland and the Maikop cultures north of the Caucasus Mountains, especially in terms of metallurgy (63). We tend to want each ethnic or cultural group to be homogeneous, but because I believe that the zones of Kura-Araxes occupation are environmentally distinct, there is no reason to assume that they all shared the same economic adaptation in the diaspora. Some may have been primarily pastoralists; others may have been farmers and herders, who were more likely to settle for a longer time. Either group could have served as transmitters of goods and technologies.” ref

“A pull, again, for opportunities (perhaps metals and metallurgy, the byproducts of sheep and goat, or viniculture and winemaking) drew Kura-Araxes migrant clans over a few hundred years into the Elaziğ and Malatya areas. There is little indication that the interactions were at all violent. Ethnic communities over time integrated into these populations while keeping their identity. As in the Zagros, over time, these populations began to assimilate into the local populations. At Norşuntepe, the symbolic designs continued (57) but appeared as painted designs on buff wares rather than incised or raised designs on handmade black burnished wares. By the end or past the end of when the Kura-Araxes adaptation described the lives of people in the South Caucasus, the people at Norşuntepe built a Mesopotamian-style public building (“Palas”), and signs of the Kura-Araxes ethnic identity all but disappeared. Those same symbols of pottery style, despite the radical change in the lifeway of people in the South Caucasus, continued in the homeland.” ref


“This paper looked at the creation through migration of ancient populations related to the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition. The creation of distinct ethnic groups outside the homeland seems to have been based on a pull of population into areas where there were new opportunities to market skills in viniculture, metallurgy, and wool production. The migrants formed an identifiable ethnic group within local populations, as Barth (2) suggests, sharing values, identity, and communication networks while slowly integrating and ultimately, assimilating into local cultures. Only in the homeland, where a density of homogeneous cultural practices existed, did these same cultural traditions continue. This pattern was so, despite a major change in their lives from relatively peaceful, largely settled agropastoral and locally directed craft production practices to a mobile and military lifestyle. In many ways, this same pattern is evident historically, such as in the United States, where people of distinct and strong ethnic identities migrated for opportunity and to fill needed productive and labor roles. Over the less than two centuries since the high point of US immigration, a similar process of assimilation and slowly losing the elements of ethnic identity or incorporating them (like pizza, Chinese food, or participation in St. Patrick Day parades) into a new common, nonethnic social order continues to occur.” ref

4,000-year-Old Ritual/Religious Culture Transfer or Migration of New People to Israel and the Middle East; with Dolmens, Burials, Symbols, and a Unique Henge.

“The presence of dolmens are found in a few areas of Israel, with most dolmens known to the public found in the Golan Heights. Gamla is part of the Golan Heights and is an important dolmen site.” ref

There is a gigantic dolmenwith a 50-ton capstone over 4,000 years old with unique artistic carvings in its ceiling has been found in the Golan Heights. What makes this dolmen so unique is its huge dimensions, the structure surrounding it, and most importantly the artistic decorations engraved in its ceiling. refref

“The Galilee dolmens date from roughly the same time as other mysterious, monumental structures discovered nearby in the Golan, most notably the extraordinary circular megalithic monument called Rujm el-Hiri, in the middle of a large plateau also covered with hundreds of dolmen shown above.” ref

“Gilgal Rephaim (Hebrew for “Circle of the Giants”) is a large megalithic monument that is just three miles east of the site of Gamla in the Golan. This area is known as the land of Bashan, where King Og lived and is located east of the Jordan River, and the Sea of Galilee in what would be the land of the tribe Mannaseh.  King Og of Bashan, who according to Deuteronomy 3:11, “was the last of the Rephaim (giants), whose bed was decorated with iron and was more than nine cubits long (13 1/2 feet) and four cubits wide (six feet).” The structure has been dated by archaeologists to the Early Bronze Age (3000 – 2700 BCE), thus would have existed prior to the flood of Noah.” ref 

“There is over 42,000 tons of boulders, partly worked, and stacked up to 2 meters (nearly 7 feet) high. The outermost circle is 520 feet in diameter. In order to see the entire structure, an aerial view is required. It is possible that the ancient inhabitants of this area practiced excarnation, that is the burial practice of removing the flesh from the bones of the deceased, perhaps leaving the body exposed for scavengers such as vultures. It is interesting that just three miles from this location is the Gamla Nature Reserve, at the site of ancient Gamla, which hosts one of the world’s largest known populations of Griffon vultures, and other birds of prey. Certainly, the later inhabitants of Gamla were very familiar with this site as it is a mere 3 mile walk up the Daliyot Stream. An interesting fact about Gamla is that, although thousands were have said to have died there during the Jewish Revolt in what is called “The Masada of the North”, unlike at Masada, no bodies have ever been found.” ref

Shamanistic pagan stone arrangement are seen in many areas ranging from piles of arranged rocks, Menhirs “monolith standing stone” found alone or as part of a group, to Dolmens. In Finland, a Napakivi (pole/navel stone) or tonttukivi (elf stone) is a standing stone connecting to fertility, protection or death, such as being placed the middle of a field, central spot or the heart of an pile of stones compiled burial mound and Juminkeko pole stones are located in the Western and Southwestern Finland and southeastern Norway is the main area of dolmens both of which may also have some cultural connection with sami seids as well as central European and Great Britian megaliths. refrefref

The Haga dolmen (Swedish: Hagadosen) is a thin slab “stone box” like dolmen, which dates to around 5,400 years ago containing several artifacts such as an amber necklace, slate jewelry, a flint knife, and a stone axe. Around 7,000 years ago Dolmens begin to be situated in Brittany France and were found in Britain, Ireland and southern Scandinavia about 4,000 Similarly, Sami seids (Finnish: Seita) maybe dolmen and other standing stones or stone arrangements which may also be associated with artifacts generally found at places north-European people believed to be sacred such as the mountains, tundra, lakes, or other natural formation. refrefref

Around 5, 000 years ago in the North-Western Caucasus, there are found dolmens (few tombs have breasts, done in relief), also seem to generally involve thin slab “stone box” like dolmens situated along the coast of the Black Sea. and southern Caucasus mountain range extends eastwards to the Caspian Sea in northwestern Iran, and into northeastern Turkey. Thousands of dolmens are scattered across the Middle East, from Turkey to Yemen. There is evidence a “dolmen phenomenon” of above-ground stone burial structures two sites in Hatay and five sites in south-eastern Turkey. Dolmen-like structures occur through much of the Levant commonly dating to around 5,300-5,000 years ago and around 4,000 years old Dolmen table-like burial structures with the multi-burial of both adults and children along with a roof containing engraved shapes depicting symbols involving a simple line attached to the inside of an open semicircle on its ceiling found at the Golan Heights in Israel. This is interestingly similar but reversed shapes to the Zuschen (megalithic dolmen tomb) Germany, dated to around 5,000 years ago with engraved shapes depicting symbols involving a simple line attached to the outside of an open semicircle, interpreted as possibly stylised cattle. refrefref

Another monumental stone display in Israel called Rujm el-Hiri, involves a circular monument of stones in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of surrounding dolmens and ancient beads have been found at dolmens in the Galilee. Moreover, Dolmen like structures are also found in Switzerland, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean as well as in parts of Africa. Dolmens “monolith table top roof with standing stones,” which have different names in other languages, including Abkhaz (northwest of Georgia south of russia): Adamra, Adyghe Ispun, dysse; Dutch and Norwegian: hunebed; Galician and Portuguese: anta; German: Hunengrab/Hunenbett; Irish: dolmain; Korean: goindol/koindol or chisongmyo, Portugal: Granja, Spain: Galicia, and Swedish: dos. Dolmen like structures are also found in Switzerland, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean as well as in parts of Africa. Additionally, Dolmens may have served as places of ritual or worship and possibility a porthole to the spiritual world (some dolmans actually contain a circular porthole). The prehistory of Korean religious/cultural iconography includes paintings, rock carvings, and stones positioned for religious ceremonies that may connect to the Pit-Comb pottery culture. refrefref

Artwork found on dolmens in northern Israel might point out misplaced tradition 

“Horned animals and different depictions have been found at three megalithic dolmen websites in northern Israel, eight years after the serendipitous discovery of engravings on the ceiling of a humongous dolmen within the space. The websites appear thus far to the so-called intermediate Bronze Age, a time about which little is understood. There are millions of dolmens within the southern Levant, primarily in Israel, Jordan, and Syria, however, they’re typically undecorated. Rock artwork from the interval is all however unknown within the northern reaches of Israel – although the Negev desert within the south is riddled with ancient rock art (that may be dated).” ref

“The report by Prof. Gonen Sharon of Tel-Hai School and Uri Berger of the Israel Antiquities Authority, published in Asian Archaeology, describes the three new dolmens, which the workforce defines as megalithic burial buildings product of unmodified massive rocks laid on each other, with no cementing between them. Really the primary adorned dolmen was found at Shamir in 2012, accidentally. Sharon was visiting the location together with his children one Shabbat and went inside the primary burial chamber there, and easily appeared up on the ceiling, he tells Haaretz. It appears no person had carried out that earlier than. Now wall decorations have additionally been discovered at a dolmen at Meshushim (aka Hexagonal River, which is definitely a stream that includes hexagonal volcanic basalt rock types). In Kiryat Shmona, a dolmen was discovered with a uniquely manipulated capstone ׂׂ(the large rock on high) that might – at a stretch – be described as much like a human face; and completely nonfunctional “cup-marks” have been engraved into the ceiling of dolmens at Umm el-Kalha and Shamir.” ref

A misplaced tradition?

Relationship the dolmens is tough, however, Sharon and Berger say the overall consensus is that they’re from about 2450 to 2000 B.C.E. – an interval dubbed “the darkish age of the Bronze Age” (aka the intermediate Bronze Age). And so they consider the big stone buildings have a narrative to inform. Settlement and village life in Israel could have begun so long as 15,000 years in the past or extra. However the first proper cities in Israel started to come up within the Early Bronze Age, beginning about 5,000 years in the past – for instance, Jericho and Megiddo, Sharon explains. However then, on the finish of the Early Bronze Age, the large cities have been deserted. We don’t know why. “The cities of the early Bronze Age have been abandoned, and the mega-cities of the center Bronze Age weren’t established but,” Sharon says. “We see no vital settlement within the space. What do we discover? We discover dolmens.” ref

“Until just recently, the belief amongst students was that the dolmens, monumental however crude, have been made by rural nomads. However, Sharon doesn’t suppose there was a lawless “darkish age” in any respect. He thinks the mere existence of those incredible buildings, adorned or not, is indicative of group; of an enormous effort probably not by hundreds however not less than 100 individuals coming collectively and collaborating. The dolmen at Shamir incorporates a central burial chamber and 4 sub-chambers, all topped by a fantastical capstone that they estimate weighs 50 tons. The rocks comprising the perimeters must weigh 400 tons or so. “It’s a seeming hierarchical construction. By any standards that is monumental development, and it’s simply one in all greater than 400 in simply the Shamir space,” Sharon says. Given the necessity to plan, arrange and feed the builders, and want for architectural know-how, taken collectively the dolmens point out that some sort of subtle or highly effective geopolitical entity existed on the time, not mere teams of unrelated nomads, he sums up. And like the best of all empires, that of the nomadic Mongols led by the great Genghis Khan, it could effectively have left behind no archaeological proof – apart from these extraordinary dolmens dotting the land.” ref

Crescent-headed individuals

The Shamir subject on the slopes rising from the Hula Valley incorporates greater than 400 basalt dolmens. The nice one with the 50-ton capstone was discovered to comprise 4 our bodies in a subchamber and, as observed by Sharon that Shabbat morning, it has 14 types engraved on the ceiling, all alongside the identical motif: arcs with a straight line down their center, that look quite like hen footprints or pitchforks. What their significance is perhaps is anyone’s guess. “Given the burial context, a doable interpretation of the Shamir engravings is that they’re schematic human types or symbolic representations of the soul of the deceased,” Sharon and Berger recommend.” ref 

“One other barely much less exalted suggestion, based mostly on rock artwork within the Negev, is that they signify crescent pommel handles of daggers, that are believed, thus far, to across the similar interval. Or crescent-headed individuals, depictions of that are additionally discovered within the Negev.

Transferring onto Meshushim, the location of the hexagonal basalt, the adorned dolmen is positioned excessive up and could also be a lonely remnant of a as soon as huge subject of dolmens within the space, which have been destroyed. Its courting to the Early Bronze Age relies on a bronze knife discovered on the floor instantly subsequent to the dolmen’s northern wall. The knife’s composition of copper with arsenic is typical of the Early Bronze Age. This dolmen has rock artwork panels on the inside face of three of the boulders forming the partitions of the burial chamber, and in distinction to the hen toes/crescent heads, these – although crude and worn by time – are clearer of their topics, not less than seen with cutting-edge imaging know-how. One panel reveals six horned ungulates; variations within the shapes of their horns signify they could depict completely different species. Two of the animals appear to be dealing with each other: the archaeologists postulate that one is male and that we are able to see its penis, and the opposite is feminine. One has a striped physique paying homage to a kudu, although its horns are nothing like these of that African antelope.” ref

The same stripey horned ungulate was additionally engraved on one other of the chamber partitions. And the primary recognized zoomorphic rock artwork present in northern Israel and in Levantine dolmens on the whole, although such drawings are widespread in rock artwork discovered all through the Negev desert, in Israel’s south. The third rock artwork panel at Meshushim reveals summary types: crosses enclosed by rectangles. As mentioned, the dolmens are characterized by monumental development utilizing unhewn rocks. The capstone at one dolmen within the subject of dolmens discovered at Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel is completely different. The dolmens on this a part of the nation are additionally a product of basalt however are smaller, all consisting of circles of stones surrounding a single chamber, which averaged 1 x 2 meters, with the diameter of the stone circle reaching as much as 10 meters (practically 33 toes). Their courting is unknown, because the chambers of the dolmens found thus far – and destroyed on account of fashionable development – have been empty, probably on account of looting or vandalism in antiquity. However they apparently date to the intermediate Bronze Age like the opposite dolmens, Sharon says.” ref

“There is a large Capstone with grooves, that some really feel appears like a face. This “face” is engraved onto a dolmen capstone, Kiryat Shmona. The capstone of the dolmen in query measures 2 × 2 meters and is 40 centimeters thick, and it was clearly labored. A number of deeply carved straight grooves are nonetheless seen and, the archaeologists observe, one might suppose they resemble a “humanlike face”: the 2 pairs of quick strains mark the eyes and an extended line represents the mouth of the determine. Nonetheless, just like the famed “human face” on Mars, it is all in regards to the eye of the beholder, and Sharon and Berger are usually not suggesting this capstone was carved to appear to be a face. There may very well be any variety of the reason why the capstone was carved – together with that it was carried out later, in an abortive try to repurpose the capstone for different development. “Reuse of dolmen capstones and different massive stones in subsequent development is a well-known phenomenon in southern Levant archaeology,” they observe of their paper.” ref

All that may be mentioned is that the grooved capstone of Kiryat Shmona appears distinctive within the annals of Levantine dolmens. Talking of non-utile marks, the archaeologists describe a specimen within the dolmen subject of Umm el-Kalha, additionally apparently courting to the Intermediate Bronze Age. The dolmen in query additionally has one chamber, a rectangle on this case – four x 1 meters and round 80 centimeters in peak. 4 cup-like indentations, fairly massive at 10 to 12 centimeters in diameter, have been engraved into the basalt ceiling. Helpful, they might not have been. The Golan has loads of cup-like depressions carved into basalt rock, however, these are interpreted as mortars used to grind grain, extract oil or probably even to melt meat. There has additionally been a suggestion that large mortars carved into the bedrock have been used as drums to summon the tribe. It has been postulated that cup-like depressions reduce into dolmen surfaces have been ritual in goal and will have been used as receptacles for blood. That revolting notion is contradicted by this discovery, as being the wrong way up, the cup depressions of Umm el-Kalha couldn’t maintain something. Sharon and Berger recommend they have been a creative flourish – an uncommon factor in these elements, it appears. In the end, the archaeologists discovered two distinctly creative panels: that carved capstone paying homage to an emoji that can’t definitively be described as artwork, and the non-utile cupmarks, that are widespread however in different cases are typically utile. Being on the ceiling of this dolmen, utile they weren’t. “However they should have had some that means,” Sharon says. “We recommend it was ornamental or symbolic.” ref

Monumental Carved Dolmen More Than 4,000 Years Old Found in Golan Rewrites History of Civilization

“The burial monument’s sheer size and dating from around the time of other Golan monumental artifacts suggest the evolution of culture was more complex than had been thought, Prof. Gonen Sharon. A gigantic dolmen over 4,000 years old with unique artistic carvings in its ceiling has been found in the Golan Heights.” ref

Art Discovered on Dolmens in Northern Israel Could Indicate Lost Culture

“Panels showing horned animals and non-utile cups carved into the ceiling of the monumental Bronze Age structures could attest to a powerful unknown civilization of nomads, archaeologists suggest. Horned animals and other depictions have been discovered at three megalithic dolmen sites in northern Israel, eight years after the serendipitous discovery of engravings on the ceiling of a humongous dolmen in the area. The sites seem to date to the so-called intermediate Bronze Age, a time about which little is known.” ref

Megaliths in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

“Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. There are up to 5,000 megalith tombs were erected as burial sites by people of the Neolithic Funnelbeaker (TRB) culture. More than 1,000 of them are preserved today and protected by law. Though varying in style and age, megalith structures are common in Western Europe, with those in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern belonging to the youngest and easternmost—further east, in the modern West Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland, monuments erected by the TRB people did not include lithic structures, while they do in the south (Brandenburg), west (Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) and north (Denmark).” ref

“Though megaliths are distributed throughout the state, their structure differs between regions. Most megaliths are dolmens, often located within a circular or trapezoid frame of singular standing stones. Locally, the dolmens are known as Hünengräber (“giants’ tombs”) or Großsteingräber (“large stone tombs”), their framework is known as Hünenbett (“giants’ bed”) if trapezoid or Bannkreis (“spellbind circle”) if circular. The materials used for their construction are glacial erratics and red sandstones. 144 tombs have been excavated. The megaliths were used not only by the bearers of the TRB culture, but also by their successors, and have entered local folklore.” ref

“The megaliths in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern were erected as burial sites in the Neolithic, by the bearers of the Funnelbeaker (TRB) culture, between 3,500 and 3,200 BC. Initially, the TRB people buried their dead in pits, often covered with mounds of clay. Later, they erected dolmens for this purpose but also continued the use of flat graves. All megaliths were erected during a relatively short time period, spanning about 200 years or about seven generations, with the oldest ones dating to phase C of the Early Neolithic, while most were built in the beginning of the Middle Neolithic.” ref

“The dolmens were built from glacial erratics, with the gaps filled with red sandstone. Presumably, standing stones were transported to the site using rollers, slides, levers, and ropes, and the interior of the unfinished dolmens was filled with clay to form a ramp to enable the movement of the cover stones into their final position. After removing the clay from the interior, a barrow (tumulus) was then raised on top of the dolmen, which remained accessible through a passage made from smaller stones. In addition, single standing stones were sometimes placed around the dolmen, forming either a rectangular or trapezoidal shape (Hünenbett), or a stone circle (Bannkreis). Sometimes, large singular “guardian stones” (Wächterstein, Bautastein) were placed adjacent to these shapes. The interior of the dolmen was usually divided into small compartments by slabs of red sandstone, standing upright.” ref

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So let’s sum up and recap the ten commandments for those of you who may have missed church last Sunday, like I always do… They, also known as the ritual decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity.

The 10 Commandments List, Short Form:
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the lord your god in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.

Ten Commandments and the Hittite treaties

There is an important distinction between the Decalogue and the “book of the covenant” (Exodus 21-23 and 34:10–24). The decalogue, it can be hypothesized was modeled on the suzerainty treaties of the Hittites (and other Mesopotamian Empires), that is, represents the relationship between god and Israel as a relationship between king and vassal, and enacts that bond. “The prologue of the Hittite treaty reminds his vassals of his benevolent acts (compare with Exodus 20:2 “I am the lord your god, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”) The Hittite treaty also stipulated the obligations imposed by the ruler on his vassals, which included a prohibition of relations with peoples outside the empire, or enmity between those within.” (Exodus 20:3 “you shall have no other gods before me.”) Viewed as a treaty rather than a law code, its purpose is not so much to regulate human affairs as to define the scope of the king’s power. Thus Exodus 34 is distinct from the Jahwist document, identifying it with king Asa’s reforms around 2,913 years ago. The book of the covenant, bears a greater similarity to Mesopotamian law codes (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi which was inscribed on a stone stele). So the function of this “book” is to move from the realm of treaty to the realm of law: (Exodus 21 to 23; and 34), which is no official state law, but a description of normative Israelite judicial procedure in the days of the Judges, is the best example of this process” then, this body of law too predates the monarchy. The phrasing in the decalogue`s instructions suggests that it was conceived in a mainly polytheistic milieu, evident especially in the formulation of “no-other-gods-before-me” commandment. If the ten commandments are based on Hittite forms that would date it somewhere between the 2,140-2,120 years ago.

The ten commandments believed to be written by god, the first thing that comes to mind is why is god so bad at writing things on stone. Why did he use two large stone tablets? When he, if god, more reasonably could have done it on one small manageable tablet. You would only think a stone craftsman of that time would need two large stone tablets to engrave on with crude tools stolen from Egypt right? Not a god!!! The second rational thought is, if this “ten commandments” was to be taken serious as a rule of law, why is it not organized with some resemblance to rational forethought such as murder before honoring your father and mother, right? So then onto the “first commandment,” two things come to mind. How god acknowledges the existence of other gods, he did not simply state there is no god but to stop worshiping other gods. As well the wording seems to imply you don’t have to remove other gods, you are just to put yahweh the god of Moses first. Believers cannot simply say I am interpreting it wrong. Because would not that say god did not know how to communicate or did not mean what he said the way he said it. So now to the” second commandment,” then the part about graven images is not really that simple as one verse as often reported. It could literally be any ART. People act as if it is just no god idols which it is not! Then, if jealousy is a sin, why is god allowed to sin and be jealous? Those who practice jealousy will not inherit the kingdom of god; Galatians 5:20-21. Then god’s sinful jealousy is likewise unjust by punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the fourth generation. But hey, if you get to make the rules, you at least get to break them right? Exodus 20:4 you shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. Exodus 20:5 you shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the lord your god, am a jealous god, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. So to recap, the ten commandments are the rules of conduct given by Yahweh to Moses in Exodus 20:1-17, prescribing worship of Yahweh and honor for parents while prohibiting killing, adultery, theft, false witness, and covetousness. Of the ten commandments, the first four indicate an insecure god afraid of losing his authority. Only three commandments 6,8,9 can be related to sensible legal prohibitions (against murder, theft, and perjury/fraud). The remaining three commandments 5,7,10 in a rational secular America would only be seen as good advice.



Knowledge to Ponder: 


  • Possibly, around 30,000 years ago (in simpler form) to 6,000 years ago, Stars/Astrology are connected to Ancestors, Spirit Animals, and Deities.
  • The star also seems to be a possible proto-star for Star of Ishtar, Star of Inanna, or Star of Venus.
  • Around 7,000 to 6,000 years ago, Star Constellations/Astrology have connections to the “Kurgan phenomenon” of below-ground “mound” stone/wood burial structures and “Dolmen phenomenon” of above-ground stone burial structures.
  • Around 6,500–5,800 years ago, The Northern Levant migrations into Jordon and Israel in the Southern Levant brought new cultural and religious transfer from Turkey and Iran.
  • “The Ghassulian Star,” a mysterious 6,000-year-old mural from Jordan may have connections to the European paganstic kurgan/dolmens phenomenon.

“Astrology is a range of divinatory practices, recognized as pseudoscientific since the 18th century, that claim to discern information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the apparent positions of celestial objects. Different cultures have employed forms of astrology since at least the 2nd millennium BCE, these practices having originated in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Most, if not all, cultures have attached importance to what they observed in the sky, and some—such as the HindusChinese, and the Maya—developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from where it spread to Ancient GreeceRome, the Islamicate world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person’s personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.” ref 

Around 5,500 years ago, Science evolves, The first evidence of science was 5,500 years ago and was demonstrated by a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world. ref

Around 5,000 years ago, Origin of Logics is a Naturalistic Observation (principles of valid reasoning, inference, & demonstration) ref

Around 4,150 to 4,000 years ago: The earliest surviving versions of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, which was originally titled “He who Saw the Deep” (Sha naqba īmuru) or “Surpassing All Other Kings” (Shūtur eli sharrī) were written. ref


  • 3,700 years ago or so, the oldest of the Hindu Vedas (scriptures), the Rig Veda was composed.
  • 3,500 years ago or so, the Vedic Age began in India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization.


  • around 3,000 years ago, the first writing in the bible was “Paleo-Hebrew”
  • around 2,500 years ago, many believe the religious Jewish texts were completed

Myths: The bible inspired religion is not just one religion or one myth but a grouping of several religions and myths

  • Around 3,450 or 3,250 years ago, according to legend, is the traditionally accepted period in which the Israelite lawgiver, Moses, provided the Ten Commandments.
  • Around 2,500 to 2,400 years ago, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, or Old Testament is the first part of Christianity’s bible.
  • Around 2,400 years ago, the most accepted hypothesis is that the canon was formed in stages, first the Pentateuch (Torah).
  • Around 2,140 to 2,116 years ago, the Prophets was written during the Hasmonean dynasty, and finally the remaining books.
  • Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections:
  • The first five books or Pentateuch (Torah).
  • The proposed history books telling the history of the Israelites from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon.
  • The poetic and proposed “Wisdom books” dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world.
  • The books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God:
  • Henotheism:
  • Exodus 20:23 “You shall not make other gods besides Me (not saying there are no other gods just not to worship them); gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves.”
  • Polytheism:
  • Judges 10:6 “Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.”
  • 1 Corinthians 8:5 “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords.”
  • Monotheism:
  • Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Around 2,570 to 2,270 Years Ago, there is a confirmation of atheistic doubting as well as atheistic thinking, mainly by Greek philosophers. However, doubting gods is likely as old as the invention of gods and should destroy the thinking that belief in god(s) is the “default belief”. The Greek word is apistos (a “not” and pistos “faithful,”), thus not faithful or faithless because one is unpersuaded and unconvinced by a god(s) claim. Short Definition: unbelieving, unbeliever, or unbelief.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

People don’t commonly teach religious history, even that of their own claimed religion. No, rather they teach a limited “pro their religion” history of their religion from a religious perspective favorable to the religion of choice. 

We are like believing machines we vacuum up ideas, like Velcro sticks to almost everything. We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives, often without realizing it. Our willingness must be to alter skewed beliefs that impend our balance or reason, which allows us to achieve new positive thinking and accurate outcomes.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

To me, Animism starts in Southern Africa, then to West Europe, and becomes Totemism. Another split goes near the Russia and Siberia border becoming Shamanism, which heads into Central Europe meeting up with Totemism, which also had moved there, mixing the two which then heads to Lake Baikal in Siberia. From there this Shamanism-Totemism heads to Turkey where it becomes Paganism.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Do you truly think “Religious Belief” is only a matter of some personal choice?

Do you not see how coercive one’s world of choice is limited to the obvious hereditary belief, in most religious choices available to the child of religious parents or caregivers? Religion is more commonly like a family, culture, society, etc. available belief that limits the belief choices of the child and that is when “Religious Belief” is not only a matter of some personal choice and when it becomes hereditary faith, not because of the quality of its alleged facts or proposed truths but because everyone else important to the child believes similarly so they do as well simply mimicking authority beliefs handed to them. Because children are raised in religion rather than being presented all possible choices but rather one limited dogmatic brand of “Religious Belief” where children only have a choice of following the belief as instructed, and then personally claim the faith hereditary belief seen in the confirming to the belief they have held themselves all their lives. This is obvious in statements asked and answered by children claiming a faith they barely understand but they do understand that their family believes “this or that” faith, so they feel obligated to believe it too. While I do agree that “Religious Belief” should only be a matter of some personal choice, it rarely is… End Hereditary Religion!

Opposition to Imposed Hereditary Religion

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Not all “Religions” or “Religious Persuasions” have a god(s) but

All can be said to believe in some imaginary beings or imaginary things like spirits, afterlives, etc.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Low Gods “Earth” or Tutelary deity and High Gods “Sky” or Supreme deity

“An Earth goddess is a deification of the Earth. Earth goddesses are often associated with the “chthonic” deities of the underworldKi and Ninhursag are Mesopotamian earth goddesses. In Greek mythology, the Earth is personified as Gaia, corresponding to Roman Terra, Indic Prithvi/Bhūmi, etc. traced to an “Earth Mother” complementary to the “Sky Father” in Proto-Indo-European religionEgyptian mythology exceptionally has a sky goddess and an Earth god.” ref

“A mother goddess is a goddess who represents or is a personification of naturemotherhoodfertilitycreationdestruction or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world, such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother. In some religious traditions or movements, Heavenly Mother (also referred to as Mother in Heaven or Sky Mother) is the wife or feminine counterpart of the Sky father or God the Father.” ref

Any masculine sky god is often also king of the gods, taking the position of patriarch within a pantheon. Such king gods are collectively categorized as “sky father” deities, with a polarity between sky and earth often being expressed by pairing a “sky father” god with an “earth mother” goddess (pairings of a sky mother with an earth father are less frequent). A main sky goddess is often the queen of the gods and may be an air/sky goddess in her own right, though she usually has other functions as well with “sky” not being her main. In antiquity, several sky goddesses in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Near East were called Queen of Heaven. Neopagans often apply it with impunity to sky goddesses from other regions who were never associated with the term historically. The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and monotheistic, have deities associated with the sky.” ref

“In comparative mythology, sky father is a term for a recurring concept in polytheistic religions of a sky god who is addressed as a “father”, often the father of a pantheon and is often either a reigning or former King of the Gods. The concept of “sky father” may also be taken to include Sun gods with similar characteristics, such as Ra. The concept is complementary to an “earth mother“. “Sky Father” is a direct translation of the Vedic Dyaus Pita, etymologically descended from the same Proto-Indo-European deity name as the Greek Zeûs Pater and Roman Jupiter and Germanic Týr, Tir or Tiwaz, all of which are reflexes of the same Proto-Indo-European deity’s name, *Dyēus Ph₂tḗr. While there are numerous parallels adduced from outside of Indo-European mythology, there are exceptions (e.g. In Egyptian mythology, Nut is the sky mother and Geb is the earth father).” ref

Tutelary deity

“A tutelary (also tutelar) is a deity or spirit who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of “tutelary” expresses the concept of safety and thus of guardianship. In late Greek and Roman religion, one type of tutelary deity, the genius, functions as the personal deity or daimon of an individual from birth to death. Another form of personal tutelary spirit is the familiar spirit of European folklore.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) iKorean shamanismjangseung and sotdae were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities. Seonangshin is the patron deity of the village in Korean tradition and was believed to embody the SeonangdangIn Philippine animism, Diwata or Lambana are deities or spirits that inhabit sacred places like mountains and mounds and serve as guardians. Such as: Maria Makiling is the deity who guards Mt. Makiling and Maria Cacao and Maria Sinukuan. In Shinto, the spirits, or kami, which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped. And similarly, Native American beliefs such as Tonás, tutelary animal spirit among the Zapotec and Totems, familial or clan spirits among the Ojibwe, can be animals.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Austronesian beliefs such as: Atua (gods and spirits of the Polynesian peoples such as the Māori or the Hawaiians), Hanitu (Bunun of Taiwan‘s term for spirit), Hyang (KawiSundaneseJavanese, and Balinese Supreme Being, in ancient Java and Bali mythology and this spiritual entity, can be either divine or ancestral), Kaitiaki (New Zealand Māori term used for the concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land), Kawas (mythology) (divided into 6 groups: gods, ancestors, souls of the living, spirits of living things, spirits of lifeless objects, and ghosts), Tiki (Māori mythologyTiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne and represents deified ancestors found in most Polynesian cultures). ” ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Mesopotamian Tutelary Deities can be seen as ones related to City-States 

“Historical city-states included Sumerian cities such as Uruk and UrAncient Egyptian city-states, such as Thebes and Memphis; the Phoenician cities (such as Tyre and Sidon); the five Philistine city-states; the Berber city-states of the Garamantes; the city-states of ancient Greece (the poleis such as AthensSpartaThebes, and Corinth); the Roman Republic (which grew from a city-state into a vast empire); the Italian city-states from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, such as FlorenceSienaFerraraMilan (which as they grew in power began to dominate neighboring cities) and Genoa and Venice, which became powerful thalassocracies; the Mayan and other cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (including cities such as Chichen ItzaTikalCopán and Monte Albán); the central Asian cities along the Silk Road; the city-states of the Swahili coastRagusa; states of the medieval Russian lands such as Novgorod and Pskov; and many others.” ref

“The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BCE; also known as Protoliterate period) of Mesopotamia, named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization. City-States like Uruk and others had a patron tutelary City Deity along with a Priest-King.” ref

Chinese folk religion, both past, and present, includes myriad tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals, highly cultivated sages, and prominent ancestors can be deified and honored after death. Lord Guan is the patron of military personnel and police, while Mazu is the patron of fishermen and sailors. Such as Tu Di Gong (Earth Deity) is the tutelary deity of a locality, and each individual locality has its own Earth Deity and Cheng Huang Gong (City God) is the guardian deity of an individual city, worshipped by local officials and locals since imperial times.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) in Hinduism, personal tutelary deities are known as ishta-devata, while family tutelary deities are known as Kuladevata. Gramadevata are guardian deities of villages. Devas can also be seen as tutelary. Shiva is the patron of yogis and renunciants. City goddesses include: Mumbadevi (Mumbai), Sachchika (Osian); Kuladevis include: Ambika (Porwad), and Mahalakshmi. In NorthEast India Meitei mythology and religion (Sanamahism) of Manipur, there are various types of tutelary deities, among which Lam Lais are the most predominant ones. Tibetan Buddhism has Yidam as a tutelary deity. Dakini is the patron of those who seek knowledge.” ref

“A tutelary (also tutelar) The Greeks also thought deities guarded specific places: for instance, Athena was the patron goddess of the city of Athens. Socrates spoke of hearing the voice of his personal spirit or daimonion:

You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me … . This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician.” ref

“Tutelary deities who guard and preserve a place or a person are fundamental to ancient Roman religion. The tutelary deity of a man was his Genius, that of a woman her Juno. In the Imperial era, the Genius of the Emperor was a focus of Imperial cult. An emperor might also adopt a major deity as his personal patron or tutelary, as Augustus did Apollo. Precedents for claiming the personal protection of a deity were established in the Republican era, when for instance the Roman dictator Sulla advertised the goddess Victory as his tutelary by holding public games (ludi) in her honor.” ref

“Each town or city had one or more tutelary deities, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. Rome itself was protected by a goddess whose name was to be kept ritually secret on pain of death (for a supposed case, see Quintus Valerius Soranus). The Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva were also tutelaries of Rome. The Italic towns had their own tutelary deities. Juno often had this function, as at the Latin town of Lanuvium and the Etruscan city of Veii, and was often housed in an especially grand temple on the arx (citadel) or other prominent or central location. The tutelary deity of Praeneste was Fortuna, whose oracle was renowned.” ref

“The Roman ritual of evocatio was premised on the belief that a town could be made vulnerable to military defeat if the power of its tutelary deity were diverted outside the city, perhaps by the offer of superior cult at Rome. The depiction of some goddesses such as the Magna Mater (Great Mother, or Cybele) as “tower-crowned” represents their capacity to preserve the city. A town in the provinces might adopt a deity from within the Roman religious sphere to serve as its guardian, or syncretize its own tutelary with such; for instance, a community within the civitas of the Remi in Gaul adopted Apollo as its tutelary, and at the capital of the Remi (present-day Rheims), the tutelary was Mars Camulus.” ref 

Household deity (a kind of or related to a Tutelary deity)

“A household deity is a deity or spirit that protects the home, looking after the entire household or certain key members. It has been a common belief in paganism as well as in folklore across many parts of the world. Household deities fit into two types; firstly, a specific deity – typically a goddess – often referred to as a hearth goddess or domestic goddess who is associated with the home and hearth, such as the ancient Greek Hestia.” ref

“The second type of household deities are those that are not one singular deity, but a type, or species of animistic deity, who usually have lesser powers than major deities. This type was common in the religions of antiquity, such as the Lares of ancient Roman religion, the Gashin of Korean shamanism, and Cofgodas of Anglo-Saxon paganism. These survived Christianisation as fairy-like creatures existing in folklore, such as the Anglo-Scottish Brownie and Slavic Domovoy.” ref

“Household deities were usually worshipped not in temples but in the home, where they would be represented by small idols (such as the teraphim of the Bible, often translated as “household gods” in Genesis 31:19 for example), amulets, paintings, or reliefs. They could also be found on domestic objects, such as cosmetic articles in the case of Tawaret. The more prosperous houses might have a small shrine to the household god(s); the lararium served this purpose in the case of the Romans. The gods would be treated as members of the family and invited to join in meals, or be given offerings of food and drink.” ref

“In many religions, both ancient and modern, a god would preside over the home. Certain species, or types, of household deities, existed. An example of this was the Roman Lares. Many European cultures retained house spirits into the modern period. Some examples of these include:

“Although the cosmic status of household deities was not as lofty as that of the Twelve Olympians or the Aesir, they were also jealous of their dignity and also had to be appeased with shrines and offerings, however humble. Because of their immediacy they had arguably more influence on the day-to-day affairs of men than the remote gods did. Vestiges of their worship persisted long after Christianity and other major religions extirpated nearly every trace of the major pagan pantheons. Elements of the practice can be seen even today, with Christian accretions, where statues to various saints (such as St. Francis) protect gardens and grottos. Even the gargoyles found on older churches, could be viewed as guardians partitioning a sacred space.” ref

“For centuries, Christianity fought a mop-up war against these lingering minor pagan deities, but they proved tenacious. For example, Martin Luther‘s Tischreden have numerous – quite serious – references to dealing with kobolds. Eventually, rationalism and the Industrial Revolution threatened to erase most of these minor deities, until the advent of romantic nationalism rehabilitated them and embellished them into objects of literary curiosity in the 19th century. Since the 20th century this literature has been mined for characters for role-playing games, video games, and other fantasy personae, not infrequently invested with invented traits and hierarchies somewhat different from their mythological and folkloric roots.” ref

“In contradistinction to both Herbert Spencer and Edward Burnett Tylor, who defended theories of animistic origins of ancestor worship, Émile Durkheim saw its origin in totemism. In reality, this distinction is somewhat academic, since totemism may be regarded as a particularized manifestation of animism, and something of a synthesis of the two positions was attempted by Sigmund Freud. In Freud’s Totem and Taboo, both totem and taboo are outward expressions or manifestations of the same psychological tendency, a concept which is complementary to, or which rather reconciles, the apparent conflict. Freud preferred to emphasize the psychoanalytic implications of the reification of metaphysical forces, but with particular emphasis on its familial nature. This emphasis underscores, rather than weakens, the ancestral component.” ref

William Edward Hearn, a noted classicist, and jurist, traced the origin of domestic deities from the earliest stages as an expression of animism, a belief system thought to have existed also in the neolithic, and the forerunner of Indo-European religion. In his analysis of the Indo-European household, in Chapter II “The House Spirit”, Section 1, he states:

The belief which guided the conduct of our forefathers was … the spirit rule of dead ancestors.” ref

“In Section 2 he proceeds to elaborate:

It is thus certain that the worship of deceased ancestors is a vera causa, and not a mere hypothesis. …

In the other European nations, the Slavs, the Teutons, and the Kelts, the House Spirit appears with no less distinctness. … [T]he existence of that worship does not admit of doubt. … The House Spirits had a multitude of other names which it is needless here to enumerate, but all of which are more or less expressive of their friendly relations with man. … In [England] … [h]e is the Brownie. … In Scotland this same Brownie is well known. He is usually described as attached to particular families, with whom he has been known to reside for centuries, threshing the corn, cleaning the house, and performing similar household tasks. His favorite gratification was milk and honey.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

I am still researching the “god‘s origins” all over the world. So you know, it is very complicated but I am smart and willing to look, DEEP, if necessary, which going very deep does seem to be needed here, when trying to actually understand the evolution of gods and goddesses. I am sure of a few things and less sure of others, but even in stuff I am not fully grasping I still am slowly figuring it out, to explain it to others. But as I research more I am understanding things a little better, though I am still working on understanding it all or something close and thus always figuring out more. 

Sky Father/Sky God?

“Egyptian: (Nut) Sky Mother and (Geb) Earth Father” (Egypt is different but similar)

Turkic/Mongolic: (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) Sky Father and (Eje/Gazar Eej) Earth Mother *Transeurasian*

Hawaiian: (Wākea) Sky Father and (Papahānaumoku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

New Zealand/ Māori: (Ranginui) Sky Father and (Papatūānuku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

Proto-Indo-European: (Dyus/Dyus phtr) Sky Father and (Dʰéǵʰōm/Plethwih) Earth Mother

Indo-Aryan: (Dyaus Pita) Sky Father and (Prithvi Mata) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Italic: (Jupiter) Sky Father and (Juno) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Etruscan: (Tinia) Sky Father and (Uni) Sky Mother *Tyrsenian/Italy Pre–Indo-European*

Hellenic/Greek: (Zeus) Sky Father and (Hera) Sky Mother who started as an “Earth Goddess” *Indo-European*

Nordic: (Dagr) Sky Father and (Nótt) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Slavic: (Perun) Sky Father and (Mokosh) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Illyrian: (Deipaturos) Sky Father and (Messapic Damatura’s “earth-mother” maybe) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Albanian: (Zojz) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Baltic: (Perkūnas) Sky Father and (Saulė) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Germanic: (Týr) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Colombian-Muisca: (Bochica) Sky Father and (Huythaca) Sky Mother *Chibchan*

Aztec: (Quetzalcoatl) Sky Father and (Xochiquetzal) Sky Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Incan: (Viracocha) Sky Father and (Mama Runtucaya) Sky Mother *Quechuan*

China: (Tian/Shangdi) Sky Father and (Dì) Earth Mother *Sino-Tibetan*

Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian: (An/Anu) Sky Father and (Ki) Earth Mother

Finnish: (Ukko) Sky Father and (Akka) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Sami: (Horagalles) Sky Father and (Ravdna) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Puebloan-Zuni: (Ápoyan Ta’chu) Sky Father and (Áwitelin Tsíta) Earth Mother

Puebloan-Hopi: (Tawa) Sky Father and (Kokyangwuti/Spider Woman/Grandmother) Earth Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Puebloan-Navajo: (Tsohanoai) Sky Father and (Estsanatlehi) Earth Mother *Na-Dene*



Sky Father/Sky Mother “High Gods” or similar gods/goddesses of the sky more loosely connected, seeming arcane mythology across the earth seen in Siberia, China, Europe, Native Americans/First Nations People and Mesopotamia, etc.

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.


Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history:

I am not an academic. I am a revolutionary that teaches in public, in places like social media, and in the streets. I am not a leader by some title given but from my commanding leadership style of simply to start teaching everywhere to everyone, all manner of positive education. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref

Hinduism around 3,700 to 3,500 years old. ref

 Judaism around 3,450 or 3,250 years old. (The first writing in the bible was “Paleo-Hebrew” dated to around 3,000 years ago Khirbet Qeiyafa is the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley. And many believe the religious Jewish texts were completed around 2,500) ref, ref

Judaism is around 3,450 or 3,250 years old. (“Paleo-Hebrew” 3,000 years ago and Torah 2,500 years ago)

“Judaism is an Abrahamic, its roots as an organized religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Some scholars argue that modern Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions.” ref

“Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of ancient Israel, essentially polytheistic, with a plethora of gods and goddesses. Heading the pantheon was Yahweh, the national god of the Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah, with his consort, the goddess Asherah; below them were second-tier gods and goddesses such as Baal, Shamash, Yarikh, Mot, and Astarte, all of whom had their own priests and prophets and numbered royalty among their devotees, and a third and fourth tier of minor divine beings, including the mal’ak, the messengers of the higher gods, who in later times became the angels of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yahweh, however, was not the ‘original’ god of Israel “Isra-El”; it is El, the head of the Canaanite pantheon, whose name forms the basis of the name “Israel”, and none of the Old Testament patriarchs, the tribes of Israel, the Judges, or the earliest monarchs, have a Yahwistic theophoric name (i.e., one incorporating the name of Yahweh).” ref

“El is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “god” or “deity“, or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major ancient Near Eastern deities. A rarer form, ‘ila, represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic *ʔil-, meaning “god”. Specific deities known as ‘El or ‘Il include the supreme god of the ancient Canaanite religion and the supreme god of East Semitic speakers in Mesopotamia’s Early Dynastic Period. ʼĒl is listed at the head of many pantheons. In some Canaanite and Ugaritic sources, ʼĒl played a role as father of the gods, of creation, or both. For example, in the Ugaritic texts, ʾil mlk is understood to mean “ʼĒl the King” but ʾil hd as “the god Hadad“. The Semitic root ʾlh (Arabic ʾilāh, Aramaic ʾAlāh, ʾElāh, Hebrew ʾelōah) may be ʾl with a parasitic h, and ʾl may be an abbreviated form of ʾlh. In Ugaritic the plural form meaning “gods” is ʾilhm, equivalent to Hebrew ʾelōhîm “powers”. In the Hebrew texts this word is interpreted as being semantically singular for “god” by biblical commentators. However the documentary hypothesis for the Old Testament (corresponds to the Jewish Torah) developed originally in the 1870s, identifies these that different authors – the Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, and the Priestly source – were responsible for editing stories from a polytheistic religion into those of a monotheistic religion. Inconsistencies that arise between monotheism and polytheism in the texts are reflective of this hypothesis.” ref


Jainism around 2,599 – 2,527 years old. ref

Confucianism around 2,600 – 2,551 years old. ref

Buddhism around 2,563/2,480 – 2,483/2,400 years old. ref

Christianity around 2,o00 years old. ref

Shinto around 1,305 years old. ref

Islam around 1407–1385 years old. ref

Sikhism around 548–478 years old. ref

Bahá’í around 200–125 years old. ref

“Theists, there has to be a god, as something can not come from nothing.”

Well, thus something (unknown) happened and then there was something. This does not tell us what the something that may have been involved with something coming from nothing. A supposed first cause, thus something (unknown) happened and then there was something is not an open invitation to claim it as known, neither is it justified to call or label such an unknown as anything, especially an unsubstantiated magical thinking belief born of mythology and religious storytelling.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

While hallucinogens are associated with shamanism, it is alcohol that is associated with paganism.

The Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries Shows in the prehistory series:

Show one: Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses.

Show two: Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show tree: Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show four: Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show five: Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show six: Emergence of hierarchy, sexism, slavery, and the new male god dominance: Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves!

Show seven: Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State)

Show eight: Paganism 4,000 years old: Moralistic gods after the rise of Statism and often support Statism/Kings: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism)

Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses: VIDEO

Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Pre-Capitalism): VIDEO

Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves: VIEDO

Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State): VIEDO

Paganism 4,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism): VIEDO

I do not hate simply because I challenge and expose myths or lies any more than others being thought of as loving simply because of the protection and hiding from challenge their favored myths or lies.

The truth is best championed in the sunlight of challenge.

An archaeologist once said to me “Damien religion and culture are very different”

My response, So are you saying that was always that way, such as would you say Native Americans’ cultures are separate from their religions? And do you think it always was the way you believe?

I had said that religion was a cultural product. That is still how I see it and there are other archaeologists that think close to me as well. Gods too are the myths of cultures that did not understand science or the world around them, seeing magic/supernatural everywhere.

I personally think there is a goddess and not enough evidence to support a male god at Çatalhöyük but if there was both a male and female god and goddess then I know the kind of gods they were like Proto-Indo-European mythology.

This series idea was addressed in, Anarchist Teaching as Free Public Education or Free Education in the Public: VIDEO

Our 12 video series: Organized Oppression: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of power (9,000-4,000 years ago), is adapted from: The Complete and Concise History of the Sumerians and Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia (7000-2000 BC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szFjxmY7jQA by “History with Cy

Show #1: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Samarra, Halaf, Ubaid)

Show #2: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Eridu: First City of Power)

Show #3: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Uruk and the First Cities)

Show #4: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (First Kings)

Show #5: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Early Dynastic Period)

Show #6: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (King Lugalzagesi and the First Empire)

Show #7: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Sargon and Akkadian Rule)

Show #8: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Naram-Sin, Post-Akkadian Rule, and the Gutians)

Show #9: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Gudea of Lagash and Utu-hegal)

Show #10: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Third Dynasty of Ur / Neo-Sumerian Empire)

Show #11: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Amorites, Elamites, and the End of an Era)

Show #12: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Aftermath and Legacy of Sumer)

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

The “Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries”

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ Atheist Leftist @Skepticallefty & I (Damien Marie AtHope) @AthopeMarie (my YouTube & related blog) are working jointly in atheist, antitheist, antireligionist, antifascist, anarchist, socialist, and humanist endeavors in our videos together, generally, every other Saturday.

Why Does Power Bring Responsibility?

Think, how often is it the powerless that start wars, oppress others, or commit genocide? So, I guess the question is to us all, to ask, how can power not carry responsibility in a humanity concept? I know I see the deep ethical responsibility that if there is power their must be a humanistic responsibility of ethical and empathic stewardship of that power. Will I be brave enough to be kind? Will I possess enough courage to be compassionate? Will my valor reach its height of empathy? I as everyone, earns our justified respect by our actions, that are good, ethical, just, protecting, and kind. Do I have enough self-respect to put my love for humanity’s flushing, over being brought down by some of its bad actors? May we all be the ones doing good actions in the world, to help human flourishing.

I create the world I want to live in, striving for flourishing. Which is not a place but a positive potential involvement and promotion; a life of humanist goal precision. To master oneself, also means mastering positive prosocial behaviors needed for human flourishing. I may have lost a god myth as an atheist, but I am happy to tell you, my friend, it is exactly because of that, leaving the mental terrorizer, god belief, that I truly regained my connected ethical as well as kind humanity.

Cory and I will talk about prehistory and theism, addressing the relevance to atheism, anarchism, and socialism.

At the same time as the rise of the male god, 7,000 years ago, there was also the very time there was the rise of violence, war, and clans to kingdoms, then empires, then states. It is all connected back to 7,000 years ago, and it moved across the world.

Cory Johnston: https://damienmarieathope.com/2021/04/cory-johnston-mind-of-a-skeptical-leftist/?v=32aec8db952d  

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist (YouTube)

Cory Johnston: Mind of a Skeptical Leftist @Skepticallefty

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist By Cory Johnston: “Promoting critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics by covering current events and talking to a variety of people. Cory Johnston has been thoughtfully talking to people and attempting to promote critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics.” http://anchor.fm/skepticalleft

Cory needs our support. We rise by helping each other.

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ @Skepticallefty Evidence-based atheist leftist (he/him) Producer, host, and co-host of 4 podcasts @skeptarchy @skpoliticspod and @AthopeMarie

Damien Marie AtHope (“At Hope”) Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist. Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Poet, Philosopher, Advocate, Activist, Psychology, and Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Historian.

Damien is interested in: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Ethics, Humanism, Science, Atheism, Antiteism, Antireligionism, Ignosticism, Left-Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism, Mutualism, Axiology, Metaphysics, LGBTQI, Philosophy, Advocacy, Activism, Mental Health, Psychology, Archaeology, Social Work, Sexual Rights, Marriage Rights, Woman’s Rights, Gender Rights, Child Rights, Secular Rights, Race Equality, Ageism/Disability Equality, Etc. And a far-leftist, “Anarcho-Humanist.”

I am not a good fit in the atheist movement that is mostly pro-capitalist, I am anti-capitalist. Mostly pro-skeptic, I am a rationalist not valuing skepticism. Mostly pro-agnostic, I am anti-agnostic. Mostly limited to anti-Abrahamic religions, I am an anti-religionist.

To me, the “male god” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 7,000 years ago, whereas the now favored monotheism “male god” is more like 4,000 years ago or so. To me, the “female goddess” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 11,000-10,000 years ago or so, losing the majority of its once prominence around 2,000 years ago due largely to the now favored monotheism “male god” that grow in prominence after 4,000 years ago or so.

My Thought on the Evolution of Gods?

Animal protector deities from old totems/spirit animal beliefs come first to me, 13,000/12,000 years ago, then women as deities 11,000/10,000 years ago, then male gods around 7,000/8,000 years ago. Moralistic gods around 5,000/4,000 years ago, and monotheistic gods around 4,000/3,000 years ago. 

To me, animal gods were likely first related to totemism animals around 13,000 to 12,000 years ago or older. Female as goddesses was next to me, 11,000 to 10,000 years ago or so with the emergence of agriculture. Then male gods come about 8,000 to 7,000 years ago with clan wars. Many monotheism-themed religions started in henotheism, emerging out of polytheism/paganism.

“Animism” is needed to begin supernatural thinking.
“Totemism” is needed for supernatural thinking connecting human actions & related to clan/tribe.
“Shamanism” is needed for supernatural thinking to be controllable/changeable by special persons.
Together = Gods/paganism

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Damien Marie AtHope (Said as “At” “Hope”)/(Autodidact Polymath but not good at math):

Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist, Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Jeweler, Poet, “autodidact” Philosopher, schooled in Psychology, and “autodidact” Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Pre-Historian (Knowledgeable in the range of: 1 million to 5,000/4,000 years ago). I am an anarchist socialist politically. Reasons for or Types of Atheism

My Website, My Blog, & Short-writing or QuotesMy YouTube, Twitter: @AthopeMarie, and My Email: damien.marie.athope@gmail.com

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