Göbekli Tepe: Temples From 10,000 B.C.

Kondoru

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This is news to me.

but its fastinating
 

ramonmercado

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Archaeologist argues world's oldest temples were not temples at all
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-10-arc ... mples.html
October 6th, 2011 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

Ancient structures uncovered in Turkey and thought to be the world's oldest temples may not have been strictly religious buildings after all, according to an article in the October issue of Current Anthropology. Archaeologist Ted Banning of the University of Toronto argues that the buildings found at Göbekli Tepe may have been houses for people, not the gods.

The buildings at Göbekli, a hilltop just outside of the Turkish city of Urfa, were found in 1995 by Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute and colleagues from the ?anl?urfa Museum in Turkey. The oldest of the structures at the site are immense buildings with large stone pillars, many of which feature carvings of snakes, scorpions, foxes, and other animals.
The presence of art in the buildings, the substantial effort that must have been involved in making and erecting them, and a lack of evidence for any permanent settlement in the area, led Schmidt and others to conclude that Göbekli must have been a sacred place where pilgrims traveled to worship, much like the Greek ruins of Delphi or Olympia. If that interpretation is true it would make the buildings, which date back more than 10,000 years to the early Neolithic, the oldest temples ever found.

However, Banning offers an alternative interpretation that challenges some of Schmidt's claims.

He outlines growing archaeological evidence for daily activities at the site, such as flintknapping and food preparation. "The presence of this evidence suggests that the site was not, after all, devoid of residential occupation, but likely had quite a large population," Banning said.

Banning goes on to argue that the population may have been housed in the purported temples themselves. He disagrees with the idea that the presence of decorative pillars or massive construction efforts means the buildings could not have been residential space.

"The presupposition that 'art,' or even 'monumental' art, should be exclusively associated with specialized shrines or other non-domestic spaces also fails to withstand scrutiny," Banning writes. "There is abundant ethnographic evidence for considerable investment in the decoration of domestic structures and spaces, whether to commemorate the feats of ancestors, advertise a lineage's history or a chief's generosity; or record initiations and other house-based rituals."

Archaeological evidence for domestic art from the Neolithic period exists as well, Banning says, such as the wall paintings at Çatalhöyük, another archaeological site in Turkey.

Banning suggests that the purported temples may instead have been large communal houses, "similar in some ways to the large plank houses of the Northwest Coast of North America with their impressive house posts and totem poles."

"If so, they would likely have housed quite large households that might provide an extremely early example of what the French anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, called 'house societies,'" Banning said. "Such societies often use house structures for competitive display, locations for rituals, and explicit symbols of social units."

Banning hopes that more excavation at the site will ultimately shed more light on how these buildings were used. In the meantime, he hopes that researchers will not automatically assume that the presence of art or decoration in structures at Göbekli and elsewhere denotes an exclusively religious building.

"It is … likely that some of these buildings were the locus for a variety of rituals, probably including feasts, mortuary rites, magic, and initiations," he writes. "Yet there is generally no reason to presume a priori, even when these are as impressive as the buildings at Göbekli Tepe, that they were not also people's houses."

More information: E. B. Banning, "So Fair a House: Göbekli Tepe and the Identification of Temples in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of the Near East." Current Anthropology 52:5 (October 2011).

Provided by University of Chicago
 

oldrover

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PeniG said:
I can resign myself to Atlantean elements, watching it as a fantasy; but saber-toothed cats in the old world are a pretty big hurdle for me to get over.]
Why's that?
 

PeniG

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I mean that a stone floor was found in the Clovis layer (circa 13,000 years ago) at the Gault site, which is less than a two hour drive from me.
http://www.gaultschool.org/History/OurHistory.aspx

You mustn't imagine a smooth layer of flagstones or anything like that. The clay there becomes a boot-swallowing morass in heavy rains (as I know from experience!) and the floor consists of largish creek pebbles pressed into the matrix to form a firm surface. The first time I camped there I had to do the same thing, and I wasn't even in the creek bottom. I did have nice large flat construction debris to work with, though.
 

rynner2

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Göbekli Tepe, Turkey: a new wonder of the ancient world
Göbekli Tepe, a soon-to-be inundated archaeological site near the banks of the Euphrates, leaves Jeremy Seal awestruck.
By Jeremy Seal
2:26PM BST 23 Apr 2013

"Wow," exclaims the visitor from New Zealand, a place, after all, with a human history shorter than most. For from a wooden walkway we’re gazing down at an archaeological site of giddying age. Built about 9000 BC, it’s more than twice as old as Stonehenge or the Pyramids, predating the discovery of metals, pottery or even the wheel. This is Göbekli Tepe in south-eastern Turkey, generally reckoned the most exciting and historically significant archaeological dig currently under way anywhere in the world, and there are neither queues nor tickets to get in.

Wow for a number of reasons, then, though it’s neither the access nor the staggering implications of the site’s age that has particularly impressed the man from distant Auckland. Neolithic Göbekli Tepe is also remarkably beautiful. From the partially excavated pit rise circular arrangements of huge T-shaped obelisks exquisitely carved with foxes, birds, boars and snakes or highly stylised human attributes including belts, loincloths and limbs. We’re profoundly moved by this glimpse into a radically recast prehistory, and mystified too. Even the archaeologists hard at work on this September morning can only speculate about its function, not least because the stones appear to have been deliberately buried.

“This series of sanctuaries is the oldest known monumental architecture,” explains the excavation leader and approachable on-site presence Professor Klaus Schmidt. “Maybe burial was already part of their concept from the very beginning.”

Two years ago a bare trickle of visitors found their way to this remote hilltop revelation. Now, however, visitors are building their entire itineraries around Göbekli Tepe, surest of shoo-ins for future World Heritage Status, and foundations are already in place for a protective site canopy, a nearby visitors’ centre and a ticket office. Numbers are set to explode here, the more so because the surrounding Euphrates region centred on the ancient cities of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa happens to boast an exceptional wealth of cultural draws.

It helps that another spectacular summit monument, the vast stone heads in honour of Roman-era King Antiochus on nearby Nemrut Dagi, has figured prominently on must-see lists for decades. In recent years, however, there have been further momentous discoveries such as the mosaics at Roman Zeugma, which were rescued from the rising waters of the dammed Euphrates before being installed in the magnificent new museum at Antep – the locals don’t bother with the “Gazi” prefix – in 2011.

etc [mostly general tourist stuff]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/activ ... world.html

I'll repeat what I said on page 1: there's an earlier thread on this site:
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28978

Also a wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe
(Last modified yesterday!)
 

ramonmercado

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World's oldest temple built to worship the dog star
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... hC_6JJ4JBw
16 August 2013 by Anil Ananthaswamy
Magazine issue 2930.

THE world's oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, may have been built to worship the dog star, Sirius.

The 11,000-year-old site consists of a series of at least 20 circular enclosures, although only a few have been uncovered since excavations began in the mid-1990s. Each one is surrounded by a ring of huge, T-shaped stone pillars, some of which are decorated with carvings of fierce animals. Two more megaliths stand parallel to each other at the centre of each ring (see illustration).

Göbekli Tepe put a dent in the idea of the Neolithic revolution, which said that the invention of agriculture spurred humans to build settlements and develop civilisation, art and religion. There is no evidence of agriculture near the temple, hinting that religion came first in this instance.

"We have a lot of contemporaneous sites which are settlements of hunter-gatherers. Göbekli Tepe was a sanctuary site for people living in these settlements," says Klaus Schmidt, chief archaeologist for the project at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin.

But it is still anybody's guess what type of religion the temple served. Giulio Magli, an archaeoastronomer at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy, looked to the night sky for an answer. After all, the arrangement of the pillars at Stonehenge in the UK suggests it could have been built as an astronomical observatory, maybe even to worship the moon.

Magli simulated what the sky would have looked like from Turkey when Göbekli Tepe was built. Over millennia, the positions of the stars change due to Earth wobbling as it spins on its axis. Stars that are near the horizon will rise and set at different points, and they can even disappear completely, only to reappear thousands of years later.

Today, Sirius can be seen almost worldwide as the brightest star in the sky – excluding the sun – and the fourth brightest night-sky object after the moon, Venus and Jupiter. Sirius is so noticeable that its rising and setting was used as the basis for the ancient Egyptian calendar, says Magli. At the latitude of Göbekli Tepe, Sirius would have been below the horizon until around 9300 BC, when it would have suddenly popped into view.

"I propose that the temple was built to follow the 'birth' of this star," says Magli. "You can imagine that the appearance of a new object in the sky could even have triggered a new religion."

Using existing maps of Göbekli Tepe and satellite images of the region, Magli drew an imaginary line running between and parallel to the two megaliths inside each enclosure. Three of the excavated rings seem to be aligned with the points on the horizon where Sirius would have risen in 9100 BC, 8750 BC and 8300 BC, respectively (arxiv.org/abs/1307.8397).

The results are preliminary, Magli stresses. More accurate calculations will need a full survey using instruments such as a theodolite, a device for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. Also, the sequence in which the structures were built is unclear, so it is hard to say if rings were built to follow Sirius as it rose at different points along the horizon.

Ongoing excavations might rule out any astronomical significance, says Jens Notroff, also at DAI. "We are still discussing whether the monumental enclosures at Göbekli Tepe were open or roofed," he says. "In the latter case, any activity regarding monitoring the sky would, of course, have been rather difficult."

This article appeared in print under the headline "Stone Age temple tracked the dog star"
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Highly speculative article containing precious little evidence to support his theory.

From what I've seen of this amazing site, especially those stunning carvings, it looks like Gobekli Tepe was devoted to some form of totemic animal-worship.

Over 90% of the site is still to be explored though. Astonishing stuff, which has made us reconsider how sophisticated such Stone Age civilisations really were.
 

Xanatic*

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As I recall, Sirius is important for being the pole star. It's Vega that is the brightest star in the sky. Interestingly, I believe due to the wobble, Vega was actually the pole star 15.000 years ago.
 

EnolaGaia

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As I recall, Sirius is important for being the pole star. It's Vega that is the brightest star in the sky. Interestingly, I believe due to the wobble, Vega was actually the pole star 15.000 years ago.
It's the other way 'round ... Sirius is the brightest star overall, and Vega was the most visible star near the celestial pole circa 12,000 years ago

Sirius lies near the celestial equator and therefore could not have served as a pole star. However, its non-circumpolar position meant that it appeared and disappeared from view during the course of the year - making it a useful reference point for seasonal / calendar reckonings.
 

Jim

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The findings at Gobeckli Tepe are fascinating. They finally and concussively move back the clock of collective construction (in this case temple building) to between 11 - 12 thousand years ago. The Temples consist primary of large monoliths surrounded by stone circles. Elaborate carvings of animals were made on the Monoliths. The monoliths weight in at ~12 tons. However some not yet erected weigh 50 tons. The site is large > 9 football fields in size. The find is located in southeast Turkey. Some yet to be unearthed finding may be several thousand years older. Kudo's to the late archaeologist Klaus Schmidt who pioneered and oversaw the dig.
The next oldest signs of proven civilization are Jericho and Damascus and are dated at several thousand years younger.
I personally believe some other structures may be as old as the find at Gobeckli Tepe, I.E. the Sphinx and Tiahuanaco, but the age of these find is still contested, where the age of Gobeckli Tepe isn’t.

The 1st video is w/o words, it just present the stunning find ~ 6.5 minutes


Short video with Graham Hancock~ 3 minutes

 
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PeteByrdie

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Love the comedy monastic singing parody in the first video. :D A fascinating place, about which I know too little. I haven't heard much of Graham Hancock in recent years. Nice to see him still at it. He always struck me as genuine, and we need people willing to question the established view. I'm sure some of the world's alternative historians are only interested in selling books.
 

Jim

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Love the comedy monastic singing parody in the first video. :D A fascinating place, about which I know too little. I haven't heard much of Graham Hancock in recent years. Nice to see him still at it. He always struck me as genuine, and we need people willing to question the established view. I'm sure some of the world's alternative historians are only interested in selling books.
Hi PeteByrdie, Graham Hancock was lecturing as recently as the fall of 2015. I agree whole heartedly there are many frauds and sensationalist out there when it comes to new - unconventional twist on history. Pls spare me the aliens did it.
However there's some really great stuff going on there currently.
 

chris138

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I'm sure some of the world's alternative historians are only interested in selling books.
I think Graham went into writing fiction for a while there. He has just released a follow up to Fingerprints.....I think.

I'm sure he his name has become more active on this board recently.
 

Xanatic*

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Jim: Damascus is the oldest continually inhabited city. However I don't believe there are not older ones, which simply aren't inhabited anymore.
 

Jim

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Jim: Damascus is the oldest continually inhabited city. However I don't believe there are not older ones, which simply aren't inhabited anymore.
Although it may not have been continuously inhabited I've heard claims for Jericho as well. I believe they are both quite close actually, but it may be Damascus?
 

Xanatic*

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Depends on where you draw the line, but Catalhuyuk dates back around 9000 years.
 

Jim

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One might consider Gobeckli Tepe Neolithic as is Catalhuyuk? Seeing as they didn't find signs of agriculture near the site. But the find is so much more elaborate. I believe that's why the find is so startling.
 

Xanatic*

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Neolithic perhaps, but we were discussing the age. Catalhuyuk seems to beat Damascus by a few thousand years.
 

Jim

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Neolithic perhaps, but we were discussing the age. Catalhuyuk seems to beat Damascus by a few thousand years.
Evidence of early settlement for Damascus dating back to 9000 BC exists, although no large-scale settlement was present within Damascus walls until the second millennium BC. Source "Wikepedia"

Excavations at Tell Ramad on the outskirts of the city have demonstrated that Damascus was inhabited as early as 8,000 to 10,000 BC. Source "UNESCO World Heritage Centre"

So apparently Damascus is fairly close as is Jericho.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Hal Tarxien, south of Valetta in Malta has existed as a village for at least 5,000 years. If you're ever in Malta, the Tarxian temple complex and nearby Hypogeum are a must-visit.
 
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Jim

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Hal Tarxien, south of Valetta in Malta has existed as a village for at least 5,000 years. If your ever in Malta, the Tarxian temple complex and nearby Hypogeum are a must-visit.
I'd love to but unfortunately it not in the budget any time in the near future. Darn!
 

Ermintruder

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If your ever in Malta, the Tarxian temple complex and nearby Hypogeum are a must-visit.
For definite, plus the Upper Baccarra Gardens, as an after-visit antidote to the soul-freezing depths of the Hypogeum.
 

Jim

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A letter from Dr. Schoch on dating Gobekli Tepe, as follows:

I've forwarded your note to my husband and offer some of his comments in return.

Regarding Gobekli Tepe: The site is enormous. The intentional burial of the numerous stone circles comprises, literally, an artificial mountain. Stones were packed into place to support the large pillars, then soil was placed over everything to cover it all (possibly for long-term protection) – and it is this soil, the final stage of burial, that offers some of the strongest dating. With time and weathering comes the formation of tiny stalactites and stalagmites in the soil, and these contain carbon. The dates that have been derived from these (and other aspects of the site) span the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago. However, this merely points to the end of the last ice age as the site's burial. The site itself could be thousands of years older. One doesn't know at this time, as only a small fraction of the site has been excavated.

I hope these comments help.

We appreciate your interest in and kind support of our work.

Best wishes,

Katie and Robert Schoch
 

Jim

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The esteemed Archeologist Klaus Schmidt gives a 37 minute presentation on Gobekli Tepe. Dr. Schmidt was responsible for the archeological dig of Gobekli Tepe for some 19 years, until his recent death. During this time the ground breaking finding were uncovered and verified. The site (mound) is gigantic ~300 x 300 meters in size and because the builders purposely buried it, it is in excellent condition. The site goes back to around the end of the last ice age ~11,600 years old and is perhaps older (see previous post #55).

 

gellatly68

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I really wish I'd had the opportunity to visit that site when I lived over in Turkey - it looks utterly fascinating.
I used to know the guy leading the Catalhoyuk excavation - he reckoned there was enough to excavate there to keep archaeologists busy for the next 500 years.
 

Jim

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The big problem with Turkey is that it's beginning to come apart politically.
At some point, the government may become hostile towards western archaeologists.
I'm glad they dug up the site when they did.
Unfortunately there's some radical elements in Turkey. It would be a shame because apparently they have funding for a lot more work at Gobekli Tepe.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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If Turkey falls to the Islamic State, then the site will be destroyed just as the barbarians have done elsewhere.
 
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