The world’s ‘first city’ discovered – about 4,000 years older than the Pyramids – discovered in old spy satellite images. This is a new step in archeology.
Image from old spy satellite.
The CORONA program consisted of a series of American spy satellites used for visual surveillance of the Soviet Union, China and other regions beginning in the late 1950s and ending in the early seventies. It was officially classified as top secret until the early 1990s, with some of the photos being declassified by Executive Order signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Declassified photos since then have become the norm. source of attraction for scientists, archaeologists and anthropologists. The United States Geological Survey stores more than 860,000 images of the Earth’s surface dating from 1960 to 1972.
World anthropologist Dr. Jesse Casana has spent several years researching spy photographs of the Middle East, as explored in the Smithsonian Channel documentary “Earth Life: The Age of Species” People”.
The images that Dr. Casana viewed were invaluable because 50 years ago, when the pictures were taken, the countryside in the Middle East was not very industrialized.
Dr Casana said: “We were able to document what looked like 10,000 previously unknown archaeological sites that, over the 150-year history of archaeologists working in the Middle East, have not ever recorded.”
The images heralded a remarkable breakthrough in 2007 when they discovered the world’s first city.
The world’s first city.
Beginning as a small settlement in the seventh millennium BC, Tell Brak grew during the fourth millennium BC into one of the largest cities in Upper Mesopotamia – including parts of northwest Iraq, northeast Syria and southeastern Turkey.
A small settlement first appeared at the site around 6500 BC, with pottery found at the site dating back to then.
Excavations and surface surveys show that Tell Brak developed as an urban center slightly before the better known cities of southern Mesopotamia such as Uruk.
It had grown to about 55 hectares by the end of the fifth millennium BC, and had doubled in size to 130 hectares in a period that lasted from 3900 BC to 3200 BC.
Tell Brak expanded back around 2600 BC, when it was called Nagar, and served as the capital of a kingdom in the region.
In order for a settlement like Tell Brak to appear as before, the environment needs to be improved.
The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago, causing Earth’s climate to change radically.
The planet is at its warmest in 100,000 years.
Where Tell Brak lies is an area of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent, the culmination of the ice age that allowed the region to eventually become fertile.
Gradual increases in rainfall and temperature have led to massive expansion of grasslands, and climate change has fueled a food revolution.
For millennia, humans have searched for wild grass seeds, but now wheat and barley are proving easy to grow and control.
Ancient humans began to settle down and to nourish and protect their crops.
These people began to abandon the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, choosing instead to become farmers.
Human reliance on domesticated crops and animals has changed the landscape forever since this time.
These settlement populations expanded, crowding out the rest of the hunter-gatherers, and transformed the landscape with their fields, villages, towns, and eventually cities.
A ‘tell’, in Middle Eastern archeology, is a raised mound that marks the site of an ancient city.
In ancient times, houses were built from mud, which would easily crumble when exposed to the elements.
Previous debris will be leveled during rebuilding and new buildings will be erected on top, so most buildings are usually shaped like a low truncated cone.
Over 40 meters tall and 800 by 600 meters in size, Tell Brak – or Nagar as it was then – was one of the largest houses in the area.
It is believed to have flourished under various peoples until about 1300 BC when it was destroyed by the Assyrians.