Who has an educated opinion on the earliest scientifically acceptable civilization?

Our answer:

A “civilization” is defined as a society which possesses at least these basic institutions: ceremonial centers for social and cultural activities, writing, at least one city. Other definitions also include the development of technologies and arts. The mainstream view of “civilization” is further conditioned by the widely-accepted Darwinian evolutionary theory, where not only organisms, but also civilizations evolve in a clear linear pattern, from primitive to fully evolved. This means that any discoveries which contradict such linear development are either discarded or re-interpreted, rather incomprehensibly.

It is this brushing aside of “inconvenient evidence” which many non-mainstream researchers object to and – resultantly – all are branded as quacks or conspiracy theorists. For the longest time, Egypt was considered the cradle of civilization, i.e. from around 4,000-3,000 BC. At length, however, the Mesopotamian areas (e.g. Sumer) became accepted at the de facto birthplace of civilization as we know it. Even among the mainstream archeologists, the dates aren’t quite agreed-upon as yet, generally hovering between 6,000 and 4,000 BC. Today, however, there is a lot of new evidence which pushes the origins of civilization even further back.

Discoveries such as Gobekli Tepe in Turkey suggest highly controversial dates going back at least to 12,000-10,000 BC, and ongoing research in South America and China sometimes suggests dates as far back as 15,000 BC and – on occasion – MUCH further back than that. 15,000 BC is considered scientific heresy. Anything greater than that – and your career as a historian or archeologist is OVER.

  1. There are many alternative theories which posit multiple civilizations going back hundreds of thousands of years (!) then decaying – possibly due to some wars or cataclysms – and starting all over again. The evidence for these assertions DOES exist, but it IS open to interpretation. The mainstream view is INVARIABLY to re-interpret such findings and bring them forward in time. Alternatively: to dismiss them entirely and not even acknowledge their existence!
  2. The arch-conservative approach by the mainstream science is understandable. Any fool can babble on about sensational finds. Science needs rock-solid proof. I completely agree with that. I don’t however, agree with the way anomalies are dealt with, as well as the a priori dismissal of anything which is at odds with the linear history theory.
  3. A true scientist needs an open mind. But… not so open that his mind falls out. I understand and support erring on the side of caution, conservatism in expressing opinions, and balanced approach to any subject of research. I do NOT support dogma, however – for ANY reason.

Answering the above question in any kind of a definitive or authoritative way is impossible. I am limited by the available data. This said, basing on what I know so far I can venture to say that a civilization around the Caspian Sea, reaching as far as Turkey, is a very likely candidate. I’m also inclined to accept far older origin dates for some South American civilizations. But a short-and-sweet answer to the above question is: Gobekli Tepe, with our current state of knowledge.

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