All searches must begin with a plan and Ron’s plan was simple- just locate the area where the Euphrates River intersected with the southern edge of the Taurus Mountains in south central Turkey because he had noticed the enormous plain that was in that location. From there, begin to look for very large “tells” located near the river. His search began as his flight into Diyarbakir started to descend as it came over the mountains. He photographed an extremely large “tell” which was located along the dry riverbed of the Euphrates (it changes it’s course over time as do all rivers.)
As we mentioned earlier, Turkey has a staggering number of archaeological sites (about 40,000), most of which remain unexplored. When Ron, Ronny and Bob arrived and got a taxi to drive them throughout the region, everywhere they looked, they saw this perfectly flat plain was filled with “tells”, “tells” and more “tells”. Around the city of Diyarbakir is a region of farming, sparsely populated and still politically unstable. Ron knew they had to confine their investigations to daylight hours for safety’s sake. Like some of our farming states, there were few major roads and lots of fields so they were limited in approaching the sites of interest to some degree.
Taking a road from Diyarbakir which twisted around until it was in the general area Ron wanted to go, he saw a “tell” which was much larger than the others they had seen. It wasn’t the one he had seen from the air, but this one he felt was certainly worthy of investigation. Most of the very old traditions about the tower at Babel tell how a portion of it was struck by lightning and fell to the ground. If this was factual, he felt there would be a “tell” which displayed evidence of such. And this “tell” did have two segments- one that appeared to be structured and relatively symmetrical, like a city; it was much taller than the other “tells” in the area; and the other segment was right next to the first, graduating downward in size away from the main section like a pile of blocks that fell outward and were covered in dirt. Climbing this “tell”, they found where a small excavation had been (not recently) done which allowed them to see some of the internal structure. Since this was on the uppermost portion of the “tell”, it was either the topmost level of many levels built on the same site, or it was a very ancient site which had very, very high structures within it.
Brick, Burned Thoroughly, for Stone, and Slime for Mortar
The first thing that Ron found was a section of extremely old baked-brick wall. But what was so exciting was the fact that the bricks were 70 cm. X 70 cm (about 28 ” by 28″) and a little over 5 ½ inches thick. As far as we have been able to find, the largest baked bricks found to date are about 20″ x 20″, 8″ smaller than these. The mortar between the bricks is black asphalt or tar mixed with what appears to be sand. So far, these things agreed with what we are told about the construction of Babel. This section of structure is angled upward, not straight like a vertical wall. He obtained samples of a portion of a brick, some mortar and some clay from the area for comparison. See color photos.
He also found several artifacts which indicate the time of the occupation of the site in comparison with other sites in the region. He found several “shaped” stone objects which appear to be some sort of tools. One, with a hole in it, is termed a “palette” by archaeologists though we aren’t sure what it was used for. It has a shaped hole through it and Ron believes it was perhaps used for starting fires- by twirling a flint or other object in order to get a spark, flammable materials such as twigs or dry grass placed underneath the hole were ignited while stray sparks were prevented from flying outward. Just a theory- we haven’t tried it yet since it’s been so damp here.
Other objects found were made of pottery material and one we think was a shuttle used in weaving. If placed in a little bag attached to a thread, it could have pulled that through the vertical strands. Another object has the appearance of a small wheel such as have been found in the same general region attached to small carts probably pulled by oxen. Ron’s specimen matches, in color and size, several complete carts found in the same general region (within about a 70 miles radius). Those features in AA, vol XXXVI, p. 165-171 are all made of a pale, buffish white clay with wheels from 7.5 cm. to 8.5 cm.- Ron’s is made of the same material of a light reddish buff and measures 7.75 cm. Because of the number of these found, it has been suggested that these early people had a belief similar in concept to some found in Voo-doo; that by fashioning small models of objects, they had a certain power over the true object the figurine represented. (EB, vol vii, p. 691). This may have been true to some degree that we do not understand because we know that the Egyptians believed that after a person was dead that their “spirit” needed certain objects to return to after “flying around”, such as statues of the dead person. They also believed that a person’s name, written on the wall of their tomb, was insurance against being cast into oblivion. When people wanted to “curse” someone already dead to this sort of doom, they would chisel away their name. They also knocked off the noses of the statues of those deceased because they believed their “spirit” entered the statue through the nose. So, perhaps these models of carts represented some paganistic belief concerning things related to commerce or farming.
However, the wheel(?) also resembles whorls used for spinning. One author, when writing of these same objects found in the same region, states: “Spindle-whorls of stone, baked clay and bone and impressions of textiles on pottery are found in many sites… Spindle-whorls are indeed commonplace at ancient sites all over the Near East; and one common type is shaped like a miniature wheel and made of pottery…. The function of these small wheels is not always certain; they have bilateral hubs, giving them the appearance of belonging to model carts. Such carts are known from a number of sites in or near the Early Trans-Caucasian zone, and discs of hubbed form are even more widespread, occurring at sites in [Soviet] Georgia, Armenia, the Nakhichevan region, and eastern Anatolia…. The very number of the discs, however, mitigates against their invariable interpretation as parts of model carts or wagons…. It seems improbable that these people spent so much of their time making toys. Though some of these discs belong to model vehicles, most of them could perfectly well have served as one type, though not the only one, of spindle-whorl.” (PH, p. 74). What is at question here is whether these model carts were toys or for cultish purposes.
The most important fact we learn here is that these forms are the most widespread in the area that Noah’s family originally lived in. This indicates that this object, whether spindle-whorl or cart wheel, was brought to the Babel area from the original home of Noah’s family. And by “brought” I mean the “knowledge and use of” was brought here, not the actual object.
The Leg of a “Goddess”
Another object he found was a funny-looking longish object, seen in the photo at right, which we pondered a bit. It looked like a leg, but we weren’t sure. Then, we discovered the archaeological books on excavations in eastern and south central Turkey contained many, many examples of this same object. It is the leg of one of the well-known “mother-goddess” figurines so common to this earliest period. The sketches below, are of similar legs found in Hacilar.(AA, vol. VIII, p. 147). These have been found by the hundreds, not only in Turkey but in every early civilization in some form or another.
The most important object that he found was a small piece of metal which upon examination is seen to be 2 flat pieces of metal welded together. And it is iron. We will have it examined by electron microscope at a later date and will report on the results in a future issue.
This was his first investigation in the region and for now, we have no conclusions except that this site provides some very interesting evidence that dates it to the earliest time period. The tools are similar to those found in all the early sites throughout the region that are called “Neolithic”. The “mother-goddess” is certainly one of the earliest types of figurines or idols found. But the baked brick is far larger than that found at other sites, even those dated to a
much later date. This indicates construction on a larger scale or people who were used to handling larger objects, such as the 36″ sword blade we mentioned earlier that would be almost impossible to hold with one hand by people today. The presence of iron, not even considering the fact that it appears to be welded, would date it, according to secular archaeologist, to over 1,000 to 1,300 years later. This indicates that the knowledge of metallurgy was “advanced”, declining among certain peoples when they were isolated into groups by language barriers. Combined with the evidences of metallurgy near Noah’s home and the Araxes Valley (Ararat Plain), there can be no denial of the technical abilities of these earliest of peoples on the post-flood earth.
Plans for Continued Exploration in the Babel Region
While the site Ron examined is quite large, he feels that the “tell” he photographed from the plane is a better candidate for Babel based on its immense size. Locating and investigating this particular site will be the next order of business and we will keep you posted as things progress. But whether or not the tower itself can ever be identified, the facts already demonstrated through the archaeological research of others are enough to show the Biblical account to be accurate. The assumption of scholars and archaeologists has been that man progressed through various stages uniformly all over the world, even though they admit that in certain areas of the world today there are people who are termed “paleolithic” or “neolithic”. Yet, in Turkey and the regions extending out around from it are evidences of people who appear “on the scene” with knowledge and abilities rivaling that of thousands of years later. All this in the land which contains people who speak over 50 different languages and dialects.