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Earliest Human Settlements and Urban Type Settlements in the Area of Asia Minor and the Levant

Abstract: In the last 50 years historical science has fundamentally changed - starting with the paradigm and ending with the method of interpreting historical events. However, the outlook of urban construction development from the point of view of urbanists (and for urbanists) has remained in essence unchanged. Studies in the field of pre-historic and ancient urban construction are still of peripheral interest to urbanists, including some of those who have quite recently been involved in these issues of urban construction development, such as Hrůza (2013). Therefore, this paper will focus on the development of the earliest human settlements and urban type settlements in the territory of the so-called Fertile Crescent, particularly the previously somewhat overlooked areas of eastern Anatolia in Turkey and the Levant (territory of today’s Syria and Israel). The time period to be referenced starts from Holocene, i.e. from the period around 12,000 to 9,600 BC, and continues through the Neolithic Revolution to the Chalcolithic Age, i.e. the period until around 3 thousand years BC. The paper describes the main development centres of settlements from the world’s oldest "town" of Jericho to other settlements corresponding to the Oasis Theory, such as Jarmo, including the oldest Anatolian cultures with settlements such as Göbekli Tepe, Nevali Çori and Çayönű and somewhat younger settlements on Konya Plain (in particular Çatalhöyük). The subsequent part of the paper focuses on settlements of the earliest cultures in the Levant, such as the Natufian Culture (represented by the settlement of Ain Mallah), Ghassulian Culture (Tulaylat al Ghassul) and the Culture of Beersheba (Tell Abu Matar near Beersheba). This paper attempts to map the development of these settlements and their spatial structures from the perspective of an urbanist (who proceeds from the existing knowledge of history) and strives to present a current view of the earliest phase of the settlement construction development, particularly focusing on the transformation of pre-urban settlements into towns. Subsequently, the paper could assist in today more precisely defining basic town characteristics and their differentiation from "non-urban" building structures.

ŠILHÁNKOVÁ, Vladimíra (2017). Nejstarší lidská sídla a sídliště městského typu v oblasti Malé Asie a Levanty. In: Jiří Kugl, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 10. ČVUT v Praze, Fakulta stavební pp. 112-131. ISBN 978-80-01-06319-4. ISSN 2336-7695.