Skip to comments.Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? ( massive carved stones about 11,000 years old )
Posted on 11/11/2008 5:08:14 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.
(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...
Saw this at the Health Center today as I was waiting for my Doctor’s Appointment.
Great photos in the Magazine....
You’re right, impressive indeed.
Not seeing the map on the website that is in the magazine article....location is above the Syrian border and a bit west of the Syrian / Iraqi / Turkey border point.
This can’t be real, afterall the world is only 6,000 years old.
Urfa is historically presumed to be the home of Abraham of Genesis fame.
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The oldest we've found, but if they were building something this elaborate 11,000 years ago, there have to have been simpler sites even earlier, even if they have not survived. (I'm thinking of the "monolith to El" in Michner's The Source.)
I think that is Ur (in present-day Iraq), not Urfa (in Turkey).
Egad man! You should fined for posting that!
What did you do....you destroyed the sanctity of this thread...../s
Enoch was a grandson of Adam, his son built the first city and named it after his father. There was a temple there. Is it because they have not found it, only stories of it and this is the oldest they “found”.
Need to dig a little deeper.
I have my reasons. :’)
Wiki has some interesting info.
I don’t get the Helen Thomas pic. Guess I’m too slow for that rapier wit. I was kidding about the age of the Earth. It’s probably more like 7000 years. Sorry.
A sincere thanks for your post!
Says the buzzards come there to eat the bodies of the dead. Oh, yeah, it says "Keep your sandals on and watch out for the scorpions".
No doubt they spoke an agglutinative language with its origins in SE India and Sundaland.
Something about bears and big tigers too.
Few folks lived near this place, but no doubt they came well-armed in force to leave their dead.
Great ,...thanks for adding the photos.
Open wideDentists may have drilled teeth to remove decay more than 8000 years ago in prehistoric Pakistan, according to an international team of researchers. Tiny holes drilled in teeth found at Mehrgarh, in Baluchistan, provide some of the earliest evidence of dentistry. Archaeological study of the site suggests that the people who lived there 8000 to 9000 years ago had a sophisticated civilisation. They cultivated crops, kept livestock and created elaborate jewellery from shells, amethyst and turquoise... [L]ast year, Andrea Cucina of the University of Missouri-Columbia was cleaning teeth from the jaw of one man from Mehrgarh when he noticed a perfect, tiny hole on the biting surface of a molar... Under the microscope, they could see concentric grooves left by what was probably a drill with a tiny stone bit... There is no doubt that the people of Mehrgarh had the skill and tools for such delicate work. The holes were exactly the same diameter as those found in beads.\
by Philip Cohen
19:00 11 April 01
All statements about the site must be considered preliminary, as only about 1.5% of the site's total area have been excavated as yet; floor levels have only been reached in the second complex (complex B), which also contained a terrazzo-like floor.
Excavations so far have revealed very little evidence for residential use. Through the radiocarbon method, the end of stratum III could be determined at circa 9,000 BC (see above); its beginnings are estimated to 11,000 BC or earlier. Stratum II dates to about 8,000 BC.
Thus, the complexes originated before the so-called Neolithic Revolution, the beginning of agriculture and animal husbandry, which is assumed to begin after 9,000 BC. But the construction of the Göbekli Tepe complex implies organisation of a degree of complexity not hitherto associated with pre-Neolithic societies. The archaeologists estimate that up to 500 persons were required to extract the 10-20 ton pillars (in fact, some weigh up to 50 tons) from local quarries and move them 100 to 500m to the site.  For sustenance, wild cereals may have been used more intensely than so far; perhaps they were even deliberately cultivated. Residential buildings have not been discovered as yet, but there are some "special buildings" which may have served for ritual gatherings.
Around the beginning of the 8th millennium BC, "Navel Mountain" lost its importance. The advent of agriculture and animal husbandry brought new circumstances to human life in the area. But the complex was not gradually abandoned and simply forgotten, to be obliterated by the forces of nature over time. Instead, it was deliberately covered with 300 to 500 cubic metres of soil. Why this happened is unknown, but it preserved the monuments for posterity.
At present, the complex raises more questions to archaeology and prehistory than it answers. For example, we cannot tell why more and more walls were gradually added to the interiors while the sanctuary was in use.
Wonder how they did root canals?
"The people of Catal Huyuk buried their dead below the platforms of their houses and shrines only after the flesh had been removed, probably for the sake of hygiene. The primary process of excarnation may have taken place in light structures, built of reeds and matting as depicted on the wall of a shrine, or by means of vultures." (p 86)This devouring by vultures was already an old tradition when it was adopted by some of the Zoroastrians, forebears of the Zoroastrians now living in India who are having their vulture crisis.
Catal Huyuk had a thriving economy, apparently based on their monopoly over the obsidian trade from Lake Van into western Anatolia and points west. They made beads and other pieces of craft, using various materials including local greenstone. They mined ochre and used it and other local resources to make paints. They used fossil shells, lignite, copper and iron ores, native copper (that's copper with few impurities that doesn't need to be processed from ore), cinnabar, and galena. They imported "fine tabular flint" as well as obsidian for pressure flaked manufacturing. They made obsidian mirrors. The made textiles, apparently out of wool, as attested by their imitation of the weaving patters found in wood and clay vessels right down to the oldest levels. They imported sea shells "especially dentalia". They bred stock. They hunted wild cattle, Red Deer, wild ass, board, and leopards. They don't seem to have eaten fish (not unlike the Neandertal) but bird bones and eggshells are foun. They grew emmer, einkorn, and "bread" wheat, naked barley, pea, vetch, bitter vetch, and obtained vegetable oil from crucifers, almonds, acorns, and pistachios. Hackberry seeds found in abundance suggest wine production, and "beer can be assumed." (p 84)They ate well, in fact, very well, with a varied diet. This seems surprising until one realizes that humans are ridiculously omniverous mainly due to the climate found in most of the world and the fruiting habits of every edible plant on Earth. There are parts of the rain forests which are like a grocery store basically all year round, but those areas never known frost. Khirokitia in Cyprus was an early Neolithic, Aceramic settlement characterized by domed houses, corridors, workshops, all linked by a main street.
Jericho has a "Proto-Neolithic", Early Natufian level radiocarbon dated to 9551 BC. Agriculture was practiced there. As of 1963 (heh) the evidence was conclusive but indirect, taking the form of sickles and sickle blades, "querns", mortars, pounders, and pestles. Although these Natufians grew crops they also relied on hunting and fishing for a great portion of their diet. (p 23)Note that this site is closer to Tell Hamoukar and antedates it by over 3000 years. Granted it was a far smaller settlement compared to the final greatest extent of the latter, Jericho has been in nearly continuous occupation during the entire interval of over 11000 years.
Hacilar is a site related to Catal Huyuk and about 200 miles west of it. Its seven levels of occupation began circa 7040 BC. They domesticated dogs, ate sheep or goat (may have been domesticated, or pre-domesticated herds in pens), cattle and deer, 2 rowed hulled barley, wild einkorn, and lentils. (p 80) Hacilar II burned circa 5250 BC. Newcomers arrived, remodelled, built the Hacilar I a-b fortress. The fortress was destroyed by fired and the site deserted circa 5000 BC, or about 500 years after the abandonment of Catal Huyuk (west mound, a short-lived successor site across the river from the older, main site). (p 112)These burnings are attributable to conflicts and raids. While Catal Huyuk had some fires, these have not been attributed to warfare. There's a peculiar lack of signs of war at Catal Huyuk, although daggers, spear- and arrowheads were made there. Since Mellaart wrote this book the terminal fire at Catal Huyuk has been interpreted as a destruction by invaders. The destruction of Hacilar took place twice, and Ryan and Pitman see both the fortifications and the fires as consequences of the Black Sea flood.
The Halaf culture existed from the late sixth to early fifth millennium BC. They built tholos which were domed chambers entered from a long outer room and entrance not unlike the Aceramic structures on Cyprus and the mainland, and for that matter the passage graves found in the British Isle and elsewhere in Western Europe. The Halaf were farmers, growing emmer wheat and hulled 2 row barley, flax for linseed oil and possibly linen cloth, and eventually 6 row barley. The 'Ubaid culture is thought to have had a population explosion due to their use of irrigation. As they moved north up the Tigris and Euphrates they overwhelmed and absorbed the Halaf. (p 119-126)The Halaf use of 6 row barley suggests the use of irrigation, and since Mellaart wrote this evidence of irrigation has been found dated to 14,000 BP (12,000 BC), so this 'Ubaid population explosion is unlikely to have been the first. Settegast notes the combination of the round Halaf structures in the 'Ubaid layers which are mostly characterized by square structures. This shows that the two cultures coexisted, although the 'Ubaid was dominant. Eventually the Halaf disappeared. Of course, some appear to have moved to Cyprus. : )
Earliest Civilizations of the Near East by James Mellaart"In this book we see the first beginnings of agriculture from somewhere around 9000 BC, continuing in cultures in which at first pottery, long thought to be the main criterion of a 'neolithic' culture, was not in fact made, and then before many centuries have elapsed, the first use of metals -- copper or lead or gold, cold-worked from the native metal from the sixth millennium BC. The old technological-evolutionary stages of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and so on are rapidly losing their crisp outlines, but only because we are now able to perceive something which, because it is more muddled and imprecise, is more human." -- Stuart Piggott, general editor's preface.1965, LOC 65-19415 - a volume of the Library of Early Civilizations
No,Abraham's Ur is down toward Basra in Iraq. Urfa is a relatively recent name for Edessa.
Some 8000 year old human cremation urns were just dug up in Istanbul, but I haven’t posted that one yet. Here’s this though:
Excavations put Izmir at 8,500 years old
Turkish Daily News | Friday, October 31, 2008 | unattributed
Posted on 11/03/2008 6:43:13 AM PST by SunkenCiv
Some sources attriute it to the Greeks of the 5th century BC.
Obviously they were wrong.
maybe these were tomb stones and the pictures are an early language showing the names of the burried heroes./American Indians had animal names. Why couldn’t one of these guys be called “Spider Vulture”?
But what is new, and what makes this season's dig at Gobekli so climactic, is the quality of the latest finds - plus that mind-blowing thesis which links them to the Garden of Eden.
The thesis is this. Historians have long wondered if the Eden story is a folk memory, an allegory of the move from hunter-gathering to farming. Seen in this way, the Eden story describes how we moved from a life of relative leisure - literally picking fruit from the trees - to a harsher existence of ploughing and reaping.
And where did this change take place? Biologists now think the move to agriculture began in Kurdish Turkey. Einkorn wheat, a forerunner of the world's cereal species, has been genetically linked to here. Similarly, it now seems that wild pigs were first domesticated in Cayonu, just 60 miles from Gobekli.
This region also has Biblical connections, tying it closer to the Eden narrative. Muslims believe that Sanliurfa, a nearby city, is the Old Testament city of Ur. Harran, a town down the road, is mentioned in Genesis twice.
Even the topography of Gobekli Tepe is 'correct'. The Bible describes rivers descending from Paradise. Gobekli Tepe sits in the 'fertile crescent' between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. The Bible also mentions mountains surrounding Eden. From the brow of Gobekli's hills you can see the Taurus range.
But how does this intoxicating
notion link to the architecture of Gobekli, and those astonishing finds?
About 6200-6500 years ago there existed a civilization located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers near the Persian Gulf. The area was known as Mesopotamia and the city was called Ur. Because of the geographic location the city had fertile soil and was the perfect place to irrigate the land and raise productive crops, as well as domesticate sheep, goats and other animals.
Ur is known in the Bible as Ur of the Chaldees. This biblical name, Ur of the Chaldees, refers to the Chaldeans, who settled the area about 900 B.C. It is known as the ancient city of the Sumerian civilization and the home of Abraham, father of the Hebrews. Its ruins are between the modern city of Baghdad, Iraq, and the head of the Persian Gulf. The site is now known as Tall al Muqayyar, Iraq. The site of ancient Ur is located 140 miles south of Babylon. It was the capital of a small wealthy empire during the third millennium B.C. Most of the great ziggurat of Ur is still standing.
Archaeologists were spurred by biblical accounts to excavate mounds in what is now Iraq. There they uncovered the ancient civilizations of Assyria, Babylonia, Sumeria, and Ur. These excavations, along with others, confirmed and expanded on the historical accounts offered in the Bible.
See the update above.
Knocked out the tooth, dug out the offending tissue, and jammed it back in. ;’)
Sahara's abrupt desertificationGerman scientists, employing a new climate system model, have concluded that this desertification was initiated by subtle changes in the Earth's orbit and strongly amplified by resulting atmospheric and vegetation feedbacks in the subtropics. The timing of this transition was, they report, mainly governed by a global interplay among atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and vegetation... the model led to the conclusion that the desertification of North Africa began abruptly 5,440 years ago (+/- 30 years). Before that time, the Sahara was covered by annual grasses and low shrubs, as evidenced by fossilized pollen.
by Harvey Leifert
7 Jul 99
The Mormon texts helped create that view, and of course maintain it. I think more sources beleive Urfa to be Abrahams home.
Turns out there’s a Gobleki Tepe folder inside the Anatolia folder, which is inside the History and Prehistory folder... anyway, here’s a bunch of links I’d accumulated during one of the earlier posting flurries about this site. There’s also a bunch of graphics in there, but I’m too lazy to do anything about it.
The bear/fox/cat carving is at the top and that could be part of a standard nomenclature ~ you have a carving with an animal of a given size. You look out over the top to the horizon. If an animal of that kind is there YOU LEAVE because it's getting dangerously close.
I suspect ground penetrating radar is going to reveal many more Ice Age, and immediate post Ice Age temples and burial structures just like these all over the place.
Wheat is important to me.
By K. Kris Hirst, About.com
There are many kinds of wheat in the world today. The two most common are common wheat, Triticum aestivum, also known as bread wheat and accounting for some 95% of all the consumed wheat in the world today; and durum wheat T. turgidum ssp. durum, which is that used in pasta and semolina products.
Urfa is an A.D. Name for Edessa. It isn’t Abraham’s Ur. Urfa was Edessa at the times of the Apostles and even later. It became Urfa under Islamic rule.
I sure feel like reporting you to abuse for that.
Where Was Abraham’s Ur?
Alan R. Millard
Where Is Abraham’s Ur?
by Cyrus H. Gordon
The notice in the December 1976 BAR (”The Promise of Ebla,” BAR 02:04) that a new Ebla tablet refers to “Ur in Haran,”a reopens the discussion of where Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham’s birthplace, was located. While we would welcome the full publication of the Ebla tablet, the Biblical evidence is by itself conclusive in placing Ur of the Chaldees in the Urfa-Haran region of south central Turkey, near the Syrian border, rather than in southern Mesopotamia where it is located on so many “Biblical” maps.
Genesis 11:31 relates that “Terah took Abram ... and they went out ... from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.” Then Terah died (Genesis 11:32) and Abram went on to Canaan (Genesis 12:15). This means that Haran was en route from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan. By no stretch of the imagination would anyone go from Sumerian Ur (in southern Mesopotamia) to Canaan via Haran. A glance at the map shows that Haran is much too far out of the way.
We ought to be careful since territories then didn’t have political boundaries. Noah knows.
Very cool stuff. Thanks.
The fun starts when goofy theories (like those arising from Stonehenge) emerge. :’)