“Setting out to Build a City and a Tower”
For Noah’s family, the time eventually came when a large group decided to leave the Araxes Valley. Traveling westward, the people set forth until they came to the plain that they decided to call home. We don’t know how many or who were included in this group which built Babel except that we know Nimrod was one of them; that he was considered “a mighty” man and “a great hunter” and therefore we believe was the leader of the group,- whether from the start or after they arrived, we don’t know.
Babel- More Than Just a Tower
The Biblical account seems to indicate something more than just the building of a tower and a city: GEN 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. The implication is that the people at Babel possessed tremendous knowledge. I dare say the ziggurats and cities at Babylon and Ur reflect nothing of what these people were capable of. Even the pyramids of Egypt, which are even today a great engineering feat, probably can’t compare to whatever was begun at Babel. After all, God said, after seeing the city and the tower, that “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do”.
What could this mean? What were they capable of doing? I don’t know. But there is evidence that man after the flood possessed tremendous knowledge. I suspect that,- and this is just my opinion-, had the people remained united and of one language, with the pre-flood knowledge that they possessed, they would have reached a level of technological advancement in just a matter of years that is equal to that which we have only reached in the last 100 or so years. We’ll soon see that the evidences shows that the earliest peoples in this region possessed very advanced technical knowledge to the puzzlement of the archaeologists and scholars.
What Did the Tower of Babel Look Like?
When Ron found the anchor stones in the village in the area of the ark, there was one that has especially intrigued him. Below one of the large crosses is carved a crude picture of a structure which clearly is meant to represent a tower- see photo at left. The crudeness of the drawing indicates that it was not carved at the time the crosses were placed on the stone and he theorized that it was perhaps a representation of the tower of Babel. No ziggurat has ever been found in Turkey, so it was rather a surprise to find this.
Although based on theory, Ron concluded that perhaps the Babel tower had been built with this design- instead of steps ascending upward, it had a ramp which spiraled around the structure upward. This would have allowed for much easier transporting of materials as the height increased. It also would have allowed the structure to ascend to a greater height- if steps had been used, the angle of the sides would have had to have inclined at a greater angle to accommodate the width of each step from front to back. This can be better understood by looking at the shape of a pyramid as opposed to the much steeper sides of the design seen in the photo at right. A pyramid with a base the size of this one could be no more than half as tall. This is a point to consider because we know that many ancient cities had ziggurats and pyramids.
As far as we know, this is the only evidence in Turkey which is even suggestive of an ancient tower or ziggurat. Who drew it, we can’t know. When, we also don’t know. But it is the only design capable of reaching the great heights indicated in the Biblical account, and it is interesting that it is found on one of the ancient stones in the village of Kazan (the place of eight). In fact, the stone it is on appears to have been one of the anchor stones- the top portion containing the hole is broken away but the presence of a smooth, rounded section at the top center appears to be the remnant of the hole for the rope.
The General Location of Babel- It MUST Be Suitable
To most of us, picking a location for a city may sound like an easy task. But let’s think about a few things. First of all, there were no supermarkets back then- when they chose their site, even BEFORE they began building, they had to first make arrangements for food. This meant planting crops that could be harvested as soon as the supplies they brought with them were used up. They also had to immediately find pasture for their animals and settle them into the land with shepherds. They had to build shelter to protect themselves from both the weather and the predatory animals. I imagine this took a little bit of time, perhaps a month, maybe more. So, we now know that the site of Babel had to have had plenty of pasture land, plenty of land to cultivate crops and of course, a water supply.
THEN, they could set about the business of building a city. To do this, they had to find natural resources. We already discussed the fact that there was certainly a supply of asphalt (bitumen) in the region with which to make mortar. They needed to also find sources for metals and to establish a metallurgical center. They needed to plan the site for their city and insure that it had an adequate water supply.
Is Ron’s Location for Babel a “Suitable” Location?
Yes on all counts. It is still today a very fertile region, producing the same size cabbages that are found near Noah’s Ark. There is an immense amount of land suitable for pasturing animals- it is level and well-watered. It is near the Euphrates. It still contains petroleum products 4,000 years after Babel which indicates that there was plenty of “slime” available for the mortar. And it is a plain- level. Perfect for building a city except for one thing. If they built the city on the alluvial soil of the plain along the river without going down to bedrock for the foundations, the structures could shift and sink, causing great damage and instability. I would think that this knowledge had been passed on to them, but perhaps it hadn’t been. In fact, one legend states that after the languages were confounded and the people left Babel, God sent lightning which broke off the top 1/3 of the tower, while the lower 1/3 sank into the plain, leaving the middle 1/3 still intact and above ground. Of course, this is a legend. And there is certainly suitable land in the area for a city and a tower.
The Evidence of the Birth of All Languages
To comprehend events of the past, it helps to place ourselves in their “shoes”. For a moment, let’s consider a town where suddenly many, many different languages are being spoken. In the confusion, what would you do? First of all, everyone would find those who speak their own language. Then, decisions would have to be made about what to do next. If you’ve ever been to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, you’ll realize that it would be almost impossible to live side by side and continue building, planting, harvesting, etc. with those whom you can’t communicate with. Especially back then when there were no translators.
The first order of business would most likely be to find a separate place to live. You’d need room to raise crops: fields for your flocks; and room to begin to build a permanent settlement. Some language groups may set out and settle 25 miles from the original town while others would have to travel 100 or even more before they could find a suitable location. As time passed, the land nearby would already be taken and new groups would have to travel further and further away to find a suitable location. Some would perhaps be more ambitious and travel much, much further- perhaps 1,000 miles away. But as with all things, there would remain remnants of many, many of the original language groups in the general area.
And today, nowhere else on earth can you find so many different tongues being spoken in such a small area: “Many ancient races and tribes still inhabit the Caucasus [the mountains above Noah’s Ark which form the northern barrier of the Araxes plain] and the Armenian plateau of eastern Anatolia. As many as fifty different languages and dialects are spoken in this vast and, in parts, inaccessible region.” (LW, p. 137). ” Strabo informs us (Book XI, 5), that no less than seventy Dialects were spoken in the country, which even then was called the Mountain of Languages” (LH, col. VIII, p. 6,743.) The further one travels from this area, the fewer languages we find being spoken in an area (with the exception of cases of immigration, such as in the US.) This evidence alone is sufficient to show where the languages began.
What About “Writing”?
The evidence also indicates that the fully formed systems of writing were developed a number of years later and therefore, the only written records begin several hundreds of years after the flood. The earliest systems were simply pictures, the easiest way to communicate with almost anyone, even children. Because of the great diversity of languages, it is most likely that members of families as closely related as cousins found themselves unable to understand their relatives. How would we feel if placed in their position? Would we just separate from those we loved and had been close to? I suspect not. It makes sense to me that some would at least try to perhaps settle in adjacent communities. Unable to verbally communicate, pictures and symbols would provide a crude method of communication, which would be better than nothing. In time, I’m sure some people learned to speak different languages and communication between some communities was made possible in this manner. But this would have taken time. Today, we can learn foreign languages because there are those who can teach us. These people had to figure it out on their own. But, I’m sure they were quite capable because as we continue, we’ll learn that these people were quite intelligent- much more so than we are today after over 4,000 years of deteriorating since their time.
When true writing systems were discovered, many times they contained bi-lingual inscriptions, or the same material written side by side in 2 or more languages which indicates the presence of numerous languages in the area.”In Anatolia, at least, the ethnic and linguistic situation seems to have been exceedingly complex… Although few, if any inscriptions are available for this region before the rise of the Hittite empire, about 1800 ,… there were certainly a great variety of languages and cultures functioning within a comparatively small area. Tablets from the Hittite archives at Boghaz Keui are written in at least 17 different languages, several of which cannot be related to any known linguistic stocks.”. (TC, p. 314.) And here we have proof that within a few hundred years, there were people capable of translating “at least 17 different languages”!
Ancient Account of the “Confounding” of the Languages
Just as ancient texts have been found with “paganized” accounts of the creation and flood accounts, so have some been found which tell of a time when all men spoke one language. The following passage from “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta” is from ancient Sumer, the earliest civilization of southern Mesopotamia near the Persian Gulf:
Once upon a time, the lands Shubur and Hamazi,
Many (?)-tongued Sumer, the great land of princeship’s
Uri, the land having all that is appropriate,
The land Martu, resting in security,
The whole universe, the people in unison,
To Enlil in one tongue gave praise. (SU, p.284-5).
While “Enlil” was the “god” to whom “the whole universe” gave praise, we next learn from a fragment of another ancient Sumerian text, that it was “Enki”, sometimes called “the son of Enlil” (WM, p. 58) who was responsible for the “confounding of the languages”:
Enki,,, Changed the speech in their mouths/
brought(?) Contention into it/
Into the speech of man that (until then) had been one. (PC,p.144.)
Metallurgy Near Babel
Referring to the map on page 3, note the black dot which says “Babel”- this is the general location of where Ron believes Babel was located. We know that highly sophisticated metal-working was done near Noah’s home. But when the group left for Babel, we would expect that they too “set up shop” right away. And the evidence absolutely confirms that this is exactly what occurred. A few miles east of the black dot on the map showing Ron’s site for Babel, on the banks of the Tigris River, is Diyarbakir. And here is found another very ancient metallurgical center! “Early metalworking in the region of Diyarbakir (`Copperland’)… is indeed suggestive, and needs investigation.” (EC, p. 120). The extreme importance of this is that, once again, this is by far the earliest instance of metallurgy in the region. It is no coincidence that these earliest sites are found near Noah’s home and near Babel.
Sources of Copper
The early metallurgy throughout the region is very impressive evidence of a technologically advance people who just suddenly appear on the scene. Where did they get their copper? In AA, vol XXVIII, p. 99, article on “Metal Sources in Ancient Anatolia”, all the known ancient copper sources are given on a map. At right is shown a segment of that map where it can be seen that in the immediate area of Ron’s site for Babel are located a large number of copper mines. This many mines being exploited in one region is good evidence of a very large population being here at one time. The time these early mines were operated could only have been the time of Babel, for after the dispersion from there, the settlements in the area are too small and too scattered to have supported such extensive mining operations.
One Obstacle of the Story of Babel is Eliminated
One concept that is found again and again in the journals and books on Turkish archaeology is that from the earliest times the people there HAD to have had contact with some other peoples from another region because of their use of tin in making bronze. The problem was, you see, that they knew of no source of tin in Turkey. Their conclusion was that other nations were in existence at the same time, which would NOT be the case if the story of Babel is true. Ron and I wondered if Noah had brought an extremely ample supply of tin on the ark, but the problem was that it has been found in such a widespread area and in such large amounts that this wouldn’t have been a feasible explanation. It remained a problem and we had searched all the journals and researched as thoroughly as we could. The question kept arising: “Regarding the source of the tin used in Anatolia, no one is yet certain from where it came…. the Anatolian tin in antiquity that has so far remained an enigma for us.” (AA, vol. XXVIII, p. 101). If there was no tin in Turkey, the only plausible explanation would have to be that the people DID indeed have some outside contact with someone from another region- but there wouldn’t BE anyone else if the Biblical account is true, right?
Two 1994 articles by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago tell about the recent discovery of a very, very large ancient tin mine at Kestel, about 60 miles north of Tarsus. “The underground mining system at Kestel measures more than two miles….The mine probably produced about 5,000 tons of ore during it’s1,000 years of operation…”. And it is in southern central Turkey. Thus, another barrier is removed. The people had tin and they didn’t need to get it anywhere else.
After Babel- Where Did all the People Go?
As we have researched and pored over the archaeological journals, there is one concept which we keep coming across in reference to the earliest sites. It is in regards to the surprising (to them, not to us!) extent of technical knowledge possessed by these peoples. You must remember that today it is taught that man began as an apelike critter who stumbled across fire after a lightning strike; he then progress to man-like but was extremely primitive, hunting with crude stone implements, eating the flesh off the bones because he had no pottery or utensils; and then one day he suddenly began to plant crops and raise herds. Keep this in mind when you read archaeological reports and completely disregard the dates and areas they assign different sites. What we have to do is concentrate ONLY on the evidence and what it alone reveals.
For example, they have excavated sites in central and eastern Turkey which show absolutely no evidence of evolving from a primitive civilization through the various stages to that of a people who possessed advanced technical knowledge. “In these centres, up to now, no trace of an older civilization has been discovered….A great problem remains unsolved. How are we to account for the fact that in these regions these [earlier civilizations that we believe ought to have been there] have left no traces whatsoever?” (MA, p. 52).
After Babel, there were obviously groups that left the region entirely and some that settled in the immediate and nearby regions. Taking into consideration the fact that the abilities of those within the individual groups would now be limited- some groups would have those experienced in metallurgy, some in pottery, some in art, some in construction, etc.- we must expect to find at least some diversity in the earliest settlements. And that is exactly what is found. However, this has caused puzzlement to the archaeologists who continue to try to date each site based on the premise that man had uniformly developed through various stages. One site, Çatal Hüyük, about 150 to 200 miles west of the Babel region, built their homes with no doors- they were entered via ladders. Was this perhaps as protection from the wild animals?
Other sites revealed homes with very thick walls entered through doors. And here we see the diversity that suddenly arose when the people were divided by the language barrier. Everyone, as Ron says, “has a theory” as to how they think everything out to be done. And each group now had no choice but to do it the only way they knew how for they no longer had access to that great “pool of knowledge” that man had once possessed when all spoke the same language. And these homes weren’t primitive. Common building practices included wooden frames with mud-bricks then plastered with lime. Many times they show evidences of having been replastered many, many times, much like we would paint our homes when they begin to flake.
The pottery, which is used as a basis for dating, has also thrown a wrench into the works, is also baffling for these early sites display much variation in their styles and decoration. At one site, when they reached the earliest level they found almost no pottery, leading them to believe these people were primitive and used no eating utensils. But then, they discovered carbonized wooden dishes and vessels along with basketry. The styles of pottery vary considerably from site to site. Some are made without straw while some are made with straw. Some are one color, some are another. Some have beautiful multicolored designs while some have none, or simply geometric designs drawn into the clay without any color at all. If archaeologists were correct, this would mean that each site represented a different time period in the evolution of mankind. Yet, these same sites present some very obvious similarities which show that they existed during the same time period. For example, almost all except some of the small villages show evidence of metallurgy, which is also quite puzzling to the archaeologists. At one site in southern Turkey the statement is made: “The perforation of large objects like maceheads presented no difficulty; but it was another matter with the drilling of some of the stone beads, including those of obsidian, which have perforations too fine for a modern steel needle. It is quite uncertain how this was achieved:…” (PH, p. 21).
The bottom-line is this- in the regions extending out from south central Turkey (Ron’s site for Babel) the archaeological evidence reveals very early villages and towns whose earliest level (on virgin soil) presents concrete evidences of people who possessed very advanced technical knowledge. “…recent, revolutionary finds have left no doubt that it is in the Southern regions of Central Anatolia that Neolithic civilization achieved its greatest progress.” (MA, p. 18).
The Great “Pool” of Knowledge- Divided Up Among the People
Archaeologists have designed their own little system for dating the age of sites that they excavate. Theses systems are based on the premise of evolution and the idea that man gradually progressed from an ape to a primitive hunter, to a crude agriculturalist, then on to a farmer who domesticated animals, etc., etc. But that is NOT what the evidence shows! In fact, when simple, factual evidence is removed from the theories that are presented with it as fact, a very clear picture emerges. The evidence shows that when man first appeared in northeastern Turkey, he appeared with very advanced knowledge, as is evidenced by the sophisticated metallurgy of the region as well as the completely developed masonry and construction techniques.
But for a moment, we must consider another aspect of the confounding of the languages. While the population as a whole possessed a wide variety of knowledge and abilities, when they suddenly were cut off from one another by the language barrier, they would no longer have had access to the great “pool” of pre-flood knowledge. Each language group would only have the knowledge and abilities of those within their own group. Therefore, we would expect some to excel in metallurgy while others excelled in animal husbandry or crop cultivation. Some groups would have people who were talented artists while others would have those who were knowledgeable in engineering and construction. From this point on, we would expect more diversity in the early settlements- even those relatively close to one another. Secular archaeologists and paleontologists, not believing the Biblical account but instead believing in evolution, classify these various groups of people who may excel in one aspect and display a total absence of another. Those who mainly hunted (using spearheads and arrowheads of flint, etc.) but did little or no farming are classified as “Paleolithic” or stone age. 20 miles away another settlement that farmed and had domesticated animals are classified as “neolithic”, thousands of years later than the other group. One group whose pottery was painted nicer and with more colors than their neighbors down the way whose pottery-maker wasn’t an artist and whose designs were crude were dated maybe 1,000 years apart. And etc., etc. But in fact, these folks all lived at the same time.
This situation can be distinctly seen in the region around Ron’s site, the area of southeastern Turkey. Some settlements had round houses while others were rectangular. Their pottery varied- some displayed great artistic flair while others were sensible and usable, but not works of art.
Art and Religion
These early settlements demonstrate some very interesting features. For one, there is no evidence of invaders. It appears that they lived here for a while and then simply disappeared, packing up and leaving. But certain evidences give some indication where at least some of them went. In all of the early sites have been found strange, grotesque figures of a woman, some standing, some sitting, some with animals, some with children, etc. The indication is that she represents the “mother goddess of fertility”. This concept is represented in the other early religions by the Egyptian Isis, the Assyro-Babylonian Ishtar, the Phoenician Astarte, the Iranian Ashi, the Greek Aphrodite and the Roman Venus, to list a few. But by the time the concept of a goddess of fertility, be it regarding children, animals or crops, these just listed appear in an organized system of gods and goddesses. This early goddess (seen at right in a figure found at Çatal Hüyük) found in Turkey is the original from which the others “evolved” (I hate using that word, but sometimes it is appropriate).
Once Noah’s family began to slip from the worship of the true God and fell into paganism, it makes sense that one of their biggest concerns and focal points would be that of fertility. Remember that they started out on an earth devoid of everything- animals, crops and people. Their survival depended upon crops and animals, and they of course wanted a large family. The more children, the more to help with the work and things that had to be done. And the fact that these figures are found in all of the early settlements indicates that “she” was a common “goddess” among the people prior to Babel. The homes and pottery may differ, but the good old “goddess” is always identifiable.
After the early peoples left Turkey, we know they eventually scattered all over the world. But some things can be identified with more precision. For example, this “mother goddess” is found not only in the Mediterranean region, but also in eastern Europe and parts of Spain and France. The photo above shows a statue found in Austria. But amazingly, the date given is 30,000 years ago! (LE, p. 150). The figure at right comes from Czechoslovakia and has been dubbed “the Venus of Vstonica”. (EB, vol vii, p. 691).
Here we can see the direct influence of those who lived in south central Turkey. Since the archaeological evidence shows that these early settlements weren’t destroyed or conquered by a foreign people, the logical explanation is that at least some of them headed west to Europe, taking their “mother goddesses” with them.
It is the tendency of scholars today to take evidences such as these and view them in light of their own theories and not the Bible. They want to say that, for example, the Hebrews got their flood story from the ancient Babylonians, and other such nonsense. The reason they claim this is because some of the Babylonian written account appear to have been written before the Biblical account was written. The first books of the Bible were not written until the time of Moses (who wrote them), about 900 years after the flood. With these things in mind, we understand that by the time writing came along, the civilizations doing the writing were completely paganized. Yet, their accounts include certain elements of truth, albeit completely misconstrued. So let’s keep this in mind. In the great unseen battle, God has given Satan every advantage to try to prove his case. He’s been given the opportunity to corrupt the truth and present his lies. But now is the time that we can look for God’s truth to be vindicated. The pieces are all falling in place. The clearness and accuracy of what Moses wrote shows that the important elements of the beginning and development of life in earth was carefully remembered and passed down the lineage of those loyal to the Creator. Of course, they were aided by the “perfect memory” of God.