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Gobekli Tepe

Getting to know Göbekli Tepe

While we have covered the Turkish archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe for a very long time here on the Grail, it has really launched into the public consciousness in recent months after featuring in an episode of Graham Hancock’s extremely popular Netflix series Ancient Apocalypse in late 2022.

This extraordinary site with its massive, T-shaped megaliths dates back to 11,500 – 10,000 years ago, right after the end of the most recent Ice Age – more than twice as long ago as the established dates for the Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Egypt. And while I don’t necessarily agree with the theories about Göbekli Tepe that featured in Ancient Apocalypse, there is no doubting that its discovery was a historical game-changer, and there is still so much that we don’t know about the site.

And that’s why it’s a great idea to explore and learn a little more about this Turkish site. For a start, you can familiarise yourself with its layout and features by taking this excellent virtual tour of Göbekli Tepe that allows you to get right down into each of the enclosures (the site can be a little bit slow, but your patience is certainly rewarded with the close-up views).

And for some context about Göbekli Tepe and a summary of what archaeologists have learned so far about the site, I highly recommend the interview below with Jens Notroff, who has worked on the site as part of the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, or DAI).

Conducted by Stefan Milosavljevich (whose YouTube channel provides a wonderful catalogue of videos exploring various aspects of human prehistory – worth a subscription!), the interview reveals plenty of information that you might not have known about the site – from the revelation that there are unexcavated versions of the iconic T-shaped pillars in a nearby quarry, through to the fact that these types of pillars had already been found back in the 1980s at another (younger) site just to the north, Nevalı Çori (sadly, since drowned beneath the waters of the Atatürk Dam).

T-pillars in reconstruction of Nevalı Çori at Urfa Museum

And to keep up with the latest developments and discoveries at the site, be sure to keep an eye on The Tepe Telegrams, a recently revived blog by the Göbekli Tepe Research Project.

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