Solnitsata: The Oldest, Richest Town in Europe

Some of the Varna treasure, believed to be associated with SolnitsataFor today’s article we have ‘Oldest’ European Town News Misses the Obvious, by Brian Thomas. This is one of those rare archaeology articles, which tend to be unusual in other aspects beyond simply their broader subject matter.

The background here is that the ruins of (what is believed to be) the oldest known ‘town’ in Europe have been discovered in the Varna province of Bulgaria, near to the present-day city of Provadia. The town’s economy is believed to have been based around it’s salt mines, salt having been a very important commodity in the fifth millennium BC. Indeed, the value of said mineral cannot be overstated – the BBC article that Thomas uses as one of his references notes:

[The town's] discovery in north-east Bulgaria may explain the huge gold hoard found nearby 40 years ago.

Salt really was worth something back in the day.

Brian begins his article with this:

Researchers are calling an ancient ruin near Provadia in Bulgaria Europe’s oldest town. Its carbon age between 4700 and 4200 B.C. predates the accepted calendar age of ancient Greece by about 1,500 years. Investigators have uncovered enough clues from the intriguing site to attempt reconstructing the lives of its ancient inhabitants, but it appears that they left out a key conclusion.

The part that sticks out is that second sentence. I often get confused between the claimed young Earth creationist date of creation and age of the Earth. According to the popular Ussher chronology, the Earth is only around six thousand years and was created in 4004 BC – in other words, this town is older than the universe. Good on them.

As you can see, Brian barely comments on this. He makes it sound like the carbon dates contradict the “accepted calendar age of ancient Greece,” when of course the people of Solnitsata did not belong to that civilisation. His source for that point, by the way, is the aforementioned BBC article:

Archaeologists believe that the town was home to some 350 people and dates back to between 4700 and 4200 BC.

That is about 1,500 years before the start of ancient Greek civilisation.

In addition it doesn’t seem to be the case that the date of the site is uncertain but within that range so much as that the town probably existed for that period of time. 1500 years before 4200 is ~2700 years BC, still much too early for Ussher as the Flood was yet to work its magic. I do wonder, then, what the significance of Thomas’ addition of the word “accepted” might actually be.

At any rate, the precise age of the town is not the topic of the article even despite the scarequotes around “oldest” in the title. Skipping past a brief rundown of the site, including the treasure, we read:

Vasil Nikolov of the National Institute of Archaeology in Bulgaria told the AFP, “At a time when people did not know the wheel and cart, these people hauled huge rocks and built massive walls.” But how does anyone know that they did not know the wheel? Maybe they had wheels and carts made of materials that did not last for thousands of years, or maybe they did not bury their wheels.

An absence of wheels from an ancient site does not mean they did not have wheels back then. The inhabitants of Europe’s oldest town certainly made circle-shaped jewelry and round pottery, so making a wheel would not have been difficult for them.

Certainly, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But nevertheless it is a good clue, as is the sudden appearance of the technology in the following millennium. Neither using biodegradable materials nor failing to intentionally bury the things would prove all that effective in masking its existence, as a circular impression in the earth where a wheel once rested is still evidence. There is also quite a difference between making a pot that’s vaguely round and constructing a working chariot (you may as well ask why they didn’t make coins out of that hoard, the idea may have simply never occurred to them).

Brian concludes:

This culture was complete, having religion, burial, commerce, construction, and art. There is no hint here of the “pre-wheel” time that evolutionists imagine. Both the world’s oldest gold hoard and Europe’s oldest town reflect the veracity of the world’s oldest recorded history, as transmitted in the Bible. In its first appearance on the continent, mankind appears just as fully human as living Europeans.

Ah, but they didn’t have the Internet.

Brian’s argument here is fallacious, though I don’t know exactly what to call it. It’s one thing to claim that you can’t say with certainty that the people of Solnitsata didn’t have wheels – I dispute that, but I don’t know enough archaeology to tell you exactly why we think the wheel appeared later on. However, Brian has apparently taken this to mean that they probably did have wheels, which is an even shakier ‘proof claim’ than the alternative. What’s more, his argument that the “culture was complete” is based on them having all these technological and societal advancements – but the ones he gives (some of which are incredibly ancient) don’t automatically mean that they also have the wheel. Appropriately enough for the subject matter his argument is looking dangerously circular. “How do we know that the culture was advanced?” “Because they had the wheel, along with all those other things.” “How do we know they had the wheel?” “Because they were clearly advanced.”

That being said, Brian doesn’t spell any of that out and instead has an argument that simply does not follow. His article comes across as attempting to deny technological progress, something which is obviously futile. What’s so special about the wheel? What about the “pre-horse collar” time that historians like to imagine, when will we hear about that one?

Oh, and that last sentence: even many tens of thousands of years ago our ancestors were “fully human” by any decent definition. This isn’t about biology, this is about technology – best not to get them confused.

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9 thoughts on “Solnitsata: The Oldest, Richest Town in Europe

  1. I thought “pre-wheel time” was hilarious, then I read the bit about the first humans moving into Europe ~4,000 years ago and laughed even more. Seriously, these guys have no sense of scale. There’s the temple article I’ve talked about before, where they point to 12 kya ruins as “early man” and some spears from Germany made by heidelbergensis/neanderthals ~400/500 kya which prove “early man” had advanced technology. All of this forgetting that “early man” appeared between 7 – 14 million years ago.

    I feel like drawing up a timeline of human evolution for the creationists’ benefit.

    • There are remains of towns/settlements older than strict Bible chronologies in Turkey.

    • Although to my knowledge nobody still lives in those Tell sites. My understanding is Solnitsata is significant because its still inhabited.

    • I didn’t get the impression that people still lived in Solnitsata itself, though I could be wrong. I have to admit that the “first appearance on the continent” actually flew completely over my head – I missed the absurdity completely!

    • This mentions Homo heidelbergensis: http://www.youroriginsmatter.com/conversations/view/meet-your-not-so-ancient-relatives/74
      I DID respond in detail to the enquiry at the bottom from the frauds at Your Origins Matter but despite TWO reminders there continues to be both silence and deliberate CENSORSHIP of my response from YOM (see here, at 1.31 pm GMT on 14 November: http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3100&p=42541#p42541)

      Feel free to point out to them their deception of their fans! They want them to think that they ‘won’ – because I could not or would not reply to their questions.

    • Not looking hopeful, is it? Here’s what I wrote:


      My friend above is complaining that his comments aren’t getting through, so if you don’t mind I’ll take up the challenge of answering your concerns.

      On the main ICR site Mr Brian Thomas recently published two articles on the same Mary Schweitzer protein-preservation paper. Despite this attention he in both cases fails to so much as mention that the paper also contains a discussion on how the preservation might have occurred – the factors that mean that cells deep within a bone might last much longer than the meat that lies unprotected on top of it. Schweitzer, at least, sees no “discrepancy” between her results and the age of the fossils. You are always so keen to accept her discoveries at face value, but you then ignore her explanations of how they could have come about.

      When it comes down to it the issue of soft tissues comes down to whether or not they are more reliable as an age indicator than the usual methods, i.e. radiometric dating. Another recent Thomas article reported on measurements of a half-life for DNA, research which I’m sure will not be the last word on the matter as DNA decay varies significantly with different conditions. Overlooked in Thomas’ article was the fact that the observed rate of decay was around 400 times slower than was predicted from measurements in the lab. Truth be told, we have no reliable data on how long organic material can be expected to last in the ground, in stark contrast with radioactive decay. To claim that the soft tissues should be given more weight is laughable, to say the least.

      As for the carbon dating issue, I’d like to direct you to one of your own articles: Gerald A. Aardsma’s “Myths Regarding Radiocarbon Dating” in Acts & Facts. 18 (3) (March 1989), specifically myth #4 which deals with that topic. While times have changed since the late 80′s I don’t see anything in your post above that goes beyond what Aardsma said.

      I submit that scientists don’t often talk about this subject as it is not, and they do not regard it as, a problem. Nobody is infallible, no, but that doesn’t mean that they are wrong here.

  2. He must think that the wheel is “so simple” that it must have been made by cavemen… just like they assume evolutionists think the cell was the first organism… they have no sense of complexity. Maybe this is why they rant and rave about “irreducible complexity”,,,

Thoughts?

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