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.
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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.
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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.