0009 If Carol Hill is on target, then the stories of Adam and Eve (1) connect to history and (2) demand a new scientific understanding of how that history connects to human evolution.
0010 Is this an ironic target?
If Augustine is correct, then the stories of Adam and Eve (1) entangle all humanity and (2) demand a theological understanding of our current Lebenswelt.
0011 Hill examines the opening of the stories of Adam and Eve. Genesis 2.4 on paints a landscape, rich in details, pointing to the Ubaid archaeological period in southern Mesopotamia. The Ubaid settles during the Wet Neolithic, when four rivers feed into the infilling Persian Gulf. Two of the rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates. The other two rivers later become dry beds as the Wet Neolithic slowly ends. Ubaid villages eventually become Uruk townships. Uruk townships eventually give rise to Sumerian city-states. In sum, the Ubaid marks the start of a one-way trend towards the world’s first civilization.
The precise start of the Ubaid is hard to pinpoint. I place the marker at 7800 years ago. The Ubaid is the first culture on Earth to manifest the potential of unconstrained social complexity (that is, of civilization). In other words, from its inception, the Ubaid marches towards greater and greater labor and social specialization, eventually culminating around 5000 years ago, in the Sumerian Dynastic.
0012 What is going on in southwestern Asia at this time?
0013 Hill identifies two material trends.
One is Neolithic (or “new stone”) tools. These are associated with agriculture. Wheat cultivation is evident as far back as 12,000 years ago. The primary agricultural revolution slowly spreads from southwest Asia to all Eurasia.
The other is Chalcolithic (or “copper stone”) tools. Sometime around 7000 years ago, someone invents a technique for transforming copper ore into copper. The recipe passes through the Fertile Crescent, and then spreads into Eurasia.
0014 From the Genesis story, Adam associates to the Neolithic. After all, God creates him and puts him in a garden. Gardens are cultivated.
0015 Adam precedes the Chalcolithic, but not by much.
Cain starts a city. Urbanism begins with the Uruk period, following the Ubaid.
Noah associates to a great flood in ancient Mesopotamia, during the late Uruk period.
0016 More importantly, a cultural change starts in the Ubaid, potentiates civilization, and then radiates outwards from southern Mesopotamia to the rest of Eurasia. The Neolithic sets the stage. The copper-making business may be one of the opening acts.