Since 1994, archaeologist Klaus Schmidt has overseen an astonishing archaeological dig called Gobekli Tepe. Located in southern Turkey, South African palaeolithic art expert David Lewis has called Gobekli Tepe “the most important archaeological dig anywhere in the world.” Why? Schmidt explains, “Gobekli Tepe is staggeringly old. It dates from 10,000 BC, before pottery and the wheel. By comparison, Stonehenge dates from 2,000 BC. Our excavations also show it is not a domestic site, it is religious – the world’s oldest temple. This site proves that hunter-gatherers were capable of complex art and organised religion, something no-one imagined before.”
In part, Gobekli Tepe is thought to be a temple, or funerary complex, because of the human bones installed in the open niches beside its standing stones. Forty or so T-shaped standing stones – two to four meters in length, and weighing anywhere from 5 to 50 tons – have been unearthed thus far at the main site; and geomagnetic surveys suggest at least another 250 stones have yet to be uncovered there. However, the largest stone discovered thus far – nine meters in length – was recently found about a kilometer from the main site, so there may be many more.
Age alone isn’t the site’s only Wow! factor. Since there’s nothing I can say which would adequately descibe this article’s photos, I suggest you take a look for yourself, and read why some people are even speculating that Gobekli Tepe could almost literally be the Garden of Eden: Pages one, two, three, four, five, and six.
As always, feel free to post your thoughts.