More on Gobekli Tepe

This extract is from an article in Archaeology, A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America  Abstract Volume 61 Number 6, November/December 2008 by Sandra Scham ARCHAEOLOGY’s Washington, D.C., correspondent and a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science

[image] It is likely the megaliths at the Neolithic site of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey once supported roofs. Archaeologists have found floors constructed of burnt lime and clay within the stone circles–the earliest such floors ever discovered. (Haldun Aydingün)

Göbekli Tepe’s circles range from 30 to 100 feet in diameter and are surrounded by rectangular stone walls about six feet high. Many of the pillars are carved with elaborate animal figure reliefs. In addition to bulls, foxes, and cranes, representations of lions, ducks, scorpions, ants, spiders, and snakes appear on the pillars. Freestanding sculptures depicting the animals have also been found within the circles. During the most recent excavation season, archaeologists uncovered a statue of a human and sculptures of a vulture’s head and a boar.

As we walk around the recently excavated pillars, the site seems at once familiar and exotic. I have seen stone circles before, but none like these.

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Left to right: T-shaped pillars at Göbekli Tepe depict two boars accompanied by ostrich-like birds, a crocodile-like creature, and vultures flying above a scorpion. (Haldun Aydingün)

Excavations have revealed that Göbekli Tepe was constructed in two stages. The oldest structures belong to what archaeologists call the early Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period, which ended around 9000 B.C. Strangely enough, the later remains, which date to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, or about 8000 B.C., are less elaborate. The earliest levels contain most of the T-shaped pillars and animal sculptures.

Archaeologist Klaus Schmidt downplays extravagant spiritual interpretations of Göbekli Tepe, such as the idea, made popular in the press, that the site is the inspiration for the Biblical Garden of Eden. But he does agree that it was a sanctuary of profound significance in the Neolithic world. He sees it as a key site in understanding the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and from tribal to regional religion.

Schmidt and his colleagues estimate that at least 500 people were required to hew the 10- to 50-ton stone pillars from local quarries, move them from as far as a quarter-mile away, and erect them. How did Stone Age people achieve the level of organization necessary to do this? Hauptmann speculates that an elite class of religious leaders supervised the work and later controlled the rituals that took place at the site. If so, this would be the oldest known evidence for a priestly caste–much earlier than when social distinctions became evident at other Near Eastern sites.

Read more on the Archaeology website here.

Another interesting viewpoint is presented by Nassim Haramein of the Resonance Project. He writes:

In 1994, a shepherd in Turkey discovered what may be one of the most important archeological sites to confirm the hypothesis of historic events in humanity’s evolution presented in the DVD set, “Crossing the Event Horizon.” There I discuss the concept that an advanced civilization was present on our planet prior to our written history and described in many different cultures as the Sun Gods coming from the stars, of which other evidence is found as well on previous posts in this blog. What this Turkish Bedouin found, and that was later excavated and investigated by a German archaeologist, Klaus Schmidt, is an 11,000 to 13,000 year-old elaborate structure from which only the supporting pillars remain. This makes the Gobekli Tepe site the oldest organized structured site ever discovered, pre-dating Stonehenge by approximately 6,000 years. It is important to understand that these dates refer to the end of the Stone Age period, where humans were barely out of caves and still only achieved very rudimentary tools and capacities. This period is commonly referred to as well as the hunter-gatherer period. Yet, this site shows a high level of sophistication complete with a floor and stone pillars, an average of 7-10 tons each and in some cases up to 50 tons, which have been moved from a local quarry at least ¼ mile away. Further, these remaining pillars, which only a few have been uncovered to date, are dressed with very intricate etchings and carvings including obvious written symbolic language which has yet to be deciphered and which predates the archeological model of the first writing by thousands of years.

Archeologists, in a rare occurrence of agreement, seem to all concur that the site is of great importance. However, there are many disagreements on how it came to be. Some try to associate the monuments with the hunter-gatherer population that seems to have been present at the time. Others attempt to rewrite archeological theories and hypothesize that humans settled in sedentary community structures much earlier than previously believed. In both cases, archeologists agree that it would have taken hundreds and hundreds of workers to accomplish such a task, and it is clear to me that the complexity, the technological means to move such large stones and the sophistication necessary to do the job was certainly not there in the human communities at the time, whether or not they were hunters or gatherers, or farmers. Furthermore, interestingly, this site is in the appropriate geographic region to be associated with what is described in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the Garden of Eden. From my research point of view, the Garden of Eden as described in the texts of the Bible is one of many traditions’ description of this early advanced civilization that seemed to have left its mark in our evolution all around the world in various structures and manuscripts, from the Egyptian tradition and Vedic texts to Mayan and Inca codices. I am excited about this archeological site and I look forward to further discoveries, as most of the monuments still lie under the sand, and maybe tombs will be found furthering our understanding of this evolution.

To read more about Nassim and his work visit his site at theresonanceproject.org.