Gobekli Tepe – The Oldest Temple On The Earth

Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe. Photo by CA Eccles

Gobekli Tepe – this is a temple structure, that lies on top of the ridge, about 15 kilometers northeast of the ancient city of Edessa. The entire mountain range is located in Turkey. Stone circles are made of carefully polished stones, which were made before the era of farming. This complex was recognized as the most ancient places of worship.

Gobekli Tepe History

The archaeologists have known about Gobekli Tepe since the early 60’s, but its meaning remained unknown for a long time. An archaeologist from the United States, Peter Benedict thought that under the complex is located Byzantine cemetery. Excavations began in 1994 by the Turkish department of the German Institute of Archaeology. The assistant in this case was a museum Shanlyura under the control of Klaus Schmidt.

Gobekli Tepe: Marshland themed glyphs on semi-buried stone monument

Gobekli Tepe: Marshland themed glyphs on semi-buried stone monument. Photo by CA Eccles

As a child, Klaus Schmidt went to the caves at in Germany, in the desire to find a prehistoric drawings. After 30 years, now as a member of the German Archaeological Institute, he found the temple complex, which is around a factor of 2 over a similar archaeological finds of this type.

It’s like a supernova – says Schmidt. We are standing under a lone tree on top of a windswept hill, 35 miles north of the Turkish-Syrian border. – As soon as I first saw it, I realized that I had two choices: either get out of here and do not tell anyone anything, or the rest of my life exploring this subject.

Behind him, one can see the first slopes of the Anatolian plateau. Ahead of the carpet color dust for many miles is Mesopotamian plain. And in front of him lay a little hidden under the stone circle Gobekli Tepe.

Gobekli Tepe Mystery

These mysterious structures are small when compared with other findings. To date, researchers have unearthed 4 items out of 20. Each of them is 30 meters in diameter. At the same level with facilities found a T-shaped pillars, on which were two stones in 5 meters. There are images of wild boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions on the rocks.

Gobekli Tepe Pictographs.

Gobekli Tepe Pictographs. Photo by Sean Paul Kelley

Gobekli Tepe Pictographs 2

Gobekli Tepe Pictographs 2. Photo by Yvonne Kluin

People, who were created these, images did not know of any agricultural or pottery or writing and the wheel. Residents of Gobekli Tepe lived by settlements and hunting.

Gobekli Tepe Pictographs 3

Gobekli Tepe Pictographs 3. Photo by Tim Ingmire

It used to be that to build such monumental sites only by a complex, hierarchically arranged civilizations that arose only after the emergence of farming – says Ian Hodder, a professor of anthropology, since 1993, manages the excavations at Çatalhöyük. Gobekli Tepe overturns every of our ideas. The objects found there skillfully handled, they are difficult to manufacture and have been made before the appearance of farming. This alone makes this set one of the most important archaeological finds in a long time.

Gobekli Tepe Excavations

After 10 years of work, we have opened only part of the complex, the mission of Gobekli Tepe structures is still unknown. There is a theory that it was a ritual place associated with the cult of fertility, where the two central stones symbolize a woman and a man.

One of the monolithic stone pillars uncovered at Gobekli Tepe by German archaeologist named Dr Klaus Schmidt. These temple pillars have carved animal reliefs on their sides, including lions, bulls, foxes, different types of insects, and birds such as vultures and water fowl.

One of the monolithic stone pillars uncovered at Gobekli Tepe by German archaeologist named Dr Klaus Schmidt. These temple pillars have carved animal reliefs on their sides, including lions, bulls, foxes, different types of insects, and birds such as vultures and water fowl. Photo by LKHS

Schmidt does not trust this theory. He thinks that Gobekli Tepe could be “evidence of the last take-off semi-civilization, which was soon supplanted by farmers.” But the stones are no symbols of fertility, which are on the other monuments of the Neolithic.

Gobekli Tepe Excavations

Gobekli Tepe Excavations. Photo by Horus Neo Ikon Epifanes

“I think we are dealing here with the earliest images of the gods, – says Schmidt – They have no eyes, no mouths, no faces. But there are arms and hands. This is demiurges. I think those who carved them out of the stone, asked most global question: What is this world? Why are we there? “

There were no houses or graves near the stones. Schmidt thinks that the top of this hill was a place of pilgrimage for communities living within a radius of more than 100 kilometers. The highest stones “viewing” on the south-west, as if considering the plain.

Southeastern Turkey, Northern Syria –  this civilization originated is older than the Egyptian in this region.

All conclusions at the expense of temple buildings Gobekli Tepe are preliminary, because excavations are only 5% of the territory. The archaeologists think, that the study will go approximately fifty years.

Gobekli Tepe Excavations 3

Gobekli Tepe Excavations 3. Photo by Horus Neo Ikon Epifanes

The construction of such a large, complex required a huge amount of people forces. It turns, out that for the manufacture and delivery of stones weighing from 10 – 20 tons to  a distance of 500 m without the efforts of the animals had to be 500 people. Other columns have weighed up to 50 tons, which means people need to be more.

Gobekli Tepe Excavations 2

Gobekli Tepe Excavations 2. Photo by Horus Neo Ikon Epifanes

In the early 8th millennium BC temple complex Gobekli Tepe has lost its meaning. But it is not just left, leaving the natural destruction. It was especially filled with 300-500 cubic meters of earth. Why do so? Until today remains a mystery.