History Unwritten

Gobekli Tepe

The facts of Gobekli Tepe.

Gobekli Tepe, meaning “Potbelly Hill” is an archaeological site located in Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey.  It's a man made hill with a height of 15m (49ft) and is about 300m (980ft) in diameter.  The site is dated to the Neolithic era and was inhabited for approximately 4000 years, starting at the 10th century BCE and abandoned at the 8 century BCE.

The mound of Göbekli Tepe. view from south. (Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Klaus Schmidt)
The mound of Göbekli Tepe. view from south. (Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Klaus Schmidt)

Tree layers are discovered, respectively situated:

Layer III.

In the oldest layer, T-shaped monolithic pillars were discovered which, together with crude stacked brick walls, form circular or oval shaped structures.  In the center of each structure two even larger T-pillars reside.  Until this day four such structures were unearthed with cross-sections of 10 – 30 m.  With the use of geophysical research, researchers suspect there are sixteen more structures to be found.  With the use of c14 dating techniques, this layer is situated between 11.000 BCE – 9.000 BCE.

Layer II

In the younger Layer II multiple adjacent square rooms were found with floors of grind chalk that remind of the Roman Terrazzo floors.  This layer was dated at 8.000 BCE.

Layer I

The youngest Layer I consist of sediment and is the layer that was used as farming ground before the excavations.  At the start of the eight millennium BCE the complex got out of use, but was not abandoned before carefully being buried.  The reason for this is unknown, but it's the reason this site is so well preserved.

Although only 1,5% of the site is uncovered, a map was made using ground-penetrating radar.  Only at the second structure, ground level of layer III was reached.

  • Meticulously carved reliefs of lions, gazelle, bulls, bores, snakes and birds.
  • Abstract pictograms.  Unknown if these symbols are writing or sacred symbols.
  • Some pillars have arms, which could conclude that the pillars represent people.

The academic theory.

Gobekli Tepe is THE archaeological find of the century, although it's open for interpretation.

Klaus Smidt the leading archaeologist believed that the site was a sanctuary where people from a wide region periodically congregated, not a settlement.  The generally accepted idea is that the neolithic revolution still had to take place, so Gobekli Tepe wasn't build by farmers but of nomadic hunter gatherers.  It's strange though to build this kind of complex, it must have taken at least 500 people and a lot of organisation.  Klaus Smidt believes that building this complex forced the workers to grow weeds and work together to keep the foods from being eaten by wild animals.  Building this temple was the jump-start to the neolithic and not the other way around.

More recent finds state that the neolithic had already started in the middle east and Anatolia in 10.900 BCE, which means these structures where build by the first neolithic farmers.  They fed on cultivated grain.  Experiments with grain processing could have started as early as 20.000 BCE.

View into Göbekli Tepe’s Enclosure C. (Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Nico Becker)
View into Göbekli Tepe’s Enclosure C. (Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Nico Becker)

The alternative theory.

“No, the problem at Göbekli Tepe is the pristine, sudden appearance, like Athena springing full-grown and fully armed from the brow of Zeus, of what appears to be an already seasoned civilization so accomplished that it “invents” both agriculture and monumental architecture at the apparent moment of its birth.”

Back in the 90’s graham Hancock spoke of an advanced ice age civilization they laughed at him.  Robert Scoch says the sphinx is 12000 years old, he’s been ridiculed.

What about the story of Plato's Atlantis that is situated 9.000 years before his time (427 BCE – 347 BCE).

The mother-culture that got destroyed and who’s survivors spread across the planet taking their knowledge to the local cave dweller and try to reboot there society.

Anyway, the craftsmanship and engineering is astonishing for the period, where is the trial and error of these people.  It makes you think.

Who's to say what hunter gatherers are or aren't capable of doing?  I would like to think that there was a mother-culture, I've been fascinated by the stories of Atlantis since childhood.  The concept isn’t completely unimaginable, humanity evolved from hunter gatherer to primitive farmer in the last glacial maximum, maybe discover the principle of the wheel (rolling logs), learn to use animals, cows for milk, chickens for eggs.  Learns to stack stones and  learns to live together as a community and finally gets destroyed by the rising sea levels as earth was warming up or maybe even a cataclysmic comet.  Whatever the case may be, academics need to set the records straight, humankind was working together as a community and past the point of ignorant cavemen far longer than ancient Egypt and even Stonehenge.

View of Göbekli Tepe’s so-called main excavation area, Enclosure D in the front. (Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Nico Becker)
View of Göbekli Tepe’s so-called main excavation area, Enclosure D in the front. (Photo: German Archaeological Institute, Nico Becker)

Featured image:  German Archaeological Institute, Klaus Schmidt

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