June 1, 2003 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Anatolia, the Asiatic portion of contemporary Turkey extending from the Bosphorous and Aegean coast eastward, is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions in the world with an unbroken lineage dating back to the early Stone (Paleolithic) Age. Now an Italian scientist believes he has found the cradle of civilization at the Aslantepe Mound in the Province of Malatya in eastern Turkey, including the oldest known Palace and metal swords dating from 3350BC, civilization older than Mesopotamia.
posted by stbalbach (11 comments total)
So now it's swords and palaces which define civilization? Silly me, I always thought it was writing and cities.
posted by anewc2 at 10:26 AM on June 1, 2003

Either this is quite insignificant, or there just isn't enough information out there to make sense of it. For now, a search finds nothing from the international scholarly community against which we can measure this. (The linked story from the Turkish newspaper makes Frangipane sound merely determined to ingratiate herself with her Turkish hosts. I'm with the Italian experts who "said they wanted to discuss the subject in a larger scientific forum" than the apparent PR event at the Turkish embassy.)
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:18 AM on June 1, 2003

Well, the Art Bell Chat Club is on this story like a rodent!
posted by y2karl at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2003

However, Frangipane is a legitimate researcher, from what I've seen. Here is a paper from Bryn Mawr entitled The Syro-Mesopotamian Origins of Arslantepe's Administrative System which corroborates the seals described in the press release from the Art Bell Chat Club.
posted by y2karl at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2003

Here, with the help of Google Translate is a page of Dr. Frangipane listing scientific publications of his in regards to Arslantepe, so, inamorato of Art Bell devotees or not, he's legit...
posted by y2karl at 11:42 AM on June 1, 2003

From your links, y2karl, I realize that a better search would use the more common spelling of the archaeological site's name.

P.S. I don't doubt that Frangipane is qualified & sincere, it's just that this sort of thing means a lot more to me if I can hear her colleagues' reactions and perspectives. There are a lot of able scholars making a lot of provocative claims in this world. Heck, I'd settle just to see her claims spelled out somewhere. Haven't seen it yet.

This page seems to regard Arslantepe as a "complex pre-state society" under the general influence of Mesopotamian civilization. The blurb describing a RAI video you can launch from here agrees.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:50 AM on June 1, 2003

I'm glad the MeFi "BS or Not" research team is on this as you've done a better job than I digging up fragments to this evolving story.. Art Bell, heh, who knew, but that's the best description I've seen. Since it is fairly new and mostly in Italian there may not be much available, yet and I agree Zurishaddai we will have to see what others think.
posted by stbalbach at 12:39 PM on June 1, 2003

What's an "archefact?" I like the word, but is it a mistranslation, neologism, or a clever melding of archeology and artifact?
posted by newlydead at 1:24 PM on June 1, 2003

By the way, anewc2, it's interesting that your link to writing is in "The Sword of Truth."
posted by newlydead at 1:27 PM on June 1, 2003

The Bell club thing seems to be a cut-and-paste of a press release from Time has an older article that expands on the dig.
posted by blissbat at 3:01 PM on June 1, 2003

I would just like to point out that Frangipane's ideas rock Italian and Global scientific circles. This was actually the hardest they've been rocked since 1988 when Cinderella went on its Long Cold Winter Tour! "I hear Anatolia likes to party?!?"

I think its pretty cool of the Turks to be so excited about this claim that Armenians and Persians were the founders of civilization and not the Syro-Mesopotamians. Really shows they've come a long way.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2003

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