5,000-Year-Old Throne Found in Turkey
The find in Turkey suggests the site was a non-religious site that hosted a state system. Continue reading →
The remains of a 5,000-year-old adobe basament of a possible "throne" have been unearthed during excavations in Turkey, revealing the origins of the secularization of power and one of the first evidence of the birth of the state system.
Discovered in Aslantepe in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya, the structure consists of an adobe platform, raised by three steps above the floor, on top of which burnt wooden pieces were found.
"The burnt wooden fragments are likely the remains of a chair or throne," excavation director Marcella Frangipane of La Sapienza University in Rome, told Discovery News.
Frangipane, who has long been digging at the site, is working to bring to light a huge complex dating to the fourth millennium B.C. (3350-3100 A.C.)
"It's the world's first evidence of a real palace and it is extremely well preserved, with walls standing two meters high," Frangipane said.
The complex features two temples, storage rooms, various buildings and a large entrance corridor. Some walls are decorated with red and black motifs and with geometrical impressed patterns.
"In the past two campaigns we found a large courtyard which can be reached through the corridor. On the courtyard stands a monumental building," Frangipane said.
Within such building, the archaeologists unearthed the adobe platform. It stood in a small room which opened into the courtyard.
Frangipane believes the chief or king appeared in the throne room to give audience to the public, gathered in the large courtyard.
In front of the platform where the throne likely stood, the archaeologists also unearthed two small and low adobe platforms, probably made for people to stand on while they appeared before the king.
"This reception courtyard and building were not a temple complex, they rather appear as the heart of the palace. We do not have religious rites here, but a ceremony showing the power of the ‘king' and the state," Frangipane said.
She noted the remains are the first evidence of a change in the exercise of power, which from theocratic becomes non-religious. Usually exerted in temples, power now happens in the throne room.
"The state governing system was already in progress here," Frangipane said.
The three-stepped adobe basement and the low adobe platforms.
Have the most important temples, tombs, pyramids, cities, and civilizations been found? Not at all, according to Peter B. Campbell, director of archaeology at the Albanian Center for Marine Research. "The greatest age of discovery is happening right now. And the real fun is just about to begin," Campbell said.
Machu Picchu was not known to the outside world until 1911, but what lost cities are awaiting discovery today? Three ancient Mayan cities were recently discovered and researchers say they think more are in the surrounding area.
Decades of underwater research have provided us with a good understanding of our maritime past. But there has been one looming gap: ancient warships. After years of searching, the site of the Battle of the Egadi Islands, the decisive climax to the First Punic War, was discovered off the coast of Sicily. The site has yielded 11 warship rams, as the one depicted in this picture, as well as armament and amphoras (container vases) that were meant to resupply Hamilcar Barca's forces, Hannibal's father.
A small village in Greece might be home to the greatest discovery of the new century. The largest ancient tomb ever found in Greece has been dated to the period of Alexander the Great. A 16-foot lion statue sits atop the tomb and two sphinxes guard an entrance bricked up with granite blocks weighing a ton each. As the excavation progresses, archaeologists have uncovered two incredible female caryatid statues, mosaic floors and three chambers.
The list of findings from the last few years goes on and on and includes Captain Kidd's shipwreck. The wreckage of Quedagh Merchant, the ship abandoned by the 17th century pirate Captain William Kidd as he raced to New York in an ill-fated attempt to clear his name, was found in less than 10 feet of Caribbean seawater by a team from Indiana University.
Unique findings include a Gate to Hell in Hierapoils, in southwestern Turkey, complete with animals that died from getting too close. Known as Pluto's Gate -- Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin -- the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.
While 17 new pyramids were discovered in Egypt in 2011 alone, using infrared satellite technology, a previously unknown pharaoh named Woseribre Senebkay and the necropolis of his dynasty were found earlier this year.
There are many unrecorded conquerors, battles and Romeo and Juliets in the vastness of prehistory whose stories are waiting to be told. Prehistoric finds like Hoyo Negro's earliest American, the Hobbit-like species
and insight into the first artists suggest the best stories may await discovery.