24 April 2008

Gobelki Tepe

Gobelki Tepe is a hilltop sanctuary built on mountain ridge not far from the town oSanlurfa in southeast Turkey. Klaus Schmidt is a German archaeologist who has found something astonishing: a temple complex almost twice as old as anything comparable on the planet.

"This place is a supernova," said Schmidt "Within a minute of first seeing it I knew I had two choices: go away and tell nobody, or spend the rest of my life working here."

Compared with Stonehenge (Why doesn’t cite Carnac or Avebury for once!) , they are humble affairs. None of the circles excavated are more than 30 metres across. T-shaped pillars like the rest, two five-metre stones tower at least a metre above their peers. What makes them remarkable are their carved reliefs of boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions, and their age. Dated at around 9,500BC, these stones are 5,500 years older than the first cities of Mesopotamia, and 7,000 years older than Stonehenge.

The people who erected them did not have pottery or domesticated wheat. They lived in villages but they were hunters, not farmers. "Everybody used to think only complex, hierarchical civilisations could build such monumental sites, and that they only came about with the invention of agriculture", said Ian Hodder, a Stanford University professor of anthropology. "Gobekli changes everything. It's elaborate, it's complex and it is pre-agricultural. That alone makes the site one of the most important archaeological finds in a very long time."

With only a fraction of the site opened up after a decade of excavation, Gobekli Tepe's significance to the people who built it remains unclear. Some think it was the centre of a fertility rite, with the two tall stones at the centre of each circle representing a man and woman. Schmidt is sceptical. He agrees Gobekli Tepe may well be "the last flowering of a semi-nomadic world that farming was just about to destroy", and points out that if it is in near perfect condition today, it is because those who built it buried it soon after under tons of soil, as though its wild animal-rich world had lost all meaning.

"I think here we are face to face with the earliest representation of gods," he said Schmidt "They have no eyes, no mouths, no faces. But they have arms and they have hands. They are makers.In my opinion, the people who carved them were asking themselves the biggest questions of all. What is this universe? Why are we here?"


Nunyaa said...

I have no great knowledge of these areas but always find it interesting , thank you Jams, great post.

jams o donnell said...

It certainly is an amazing discovery Nunyaa

James Higham said...

Quite significant to the Anzacs too, Jams.

jams o donnell said...

To the Anzac? Were they in that part of Turkey?

TorAa said...

Universal and fundamental questions asked here.
My brain do not have the capacity to find out. Who has?

CherryPie said...

Wow! fascinating.

jams o donnell said...

It will be interesting to see what is found about teh site Tor,

It sure is Cherie!

Anonymous said...

Myslím si, že jde o podzemní chrám oslavující plodnost a zároveň ukazující např. v době rovnodennosti
na některé souhvězdí na tehdejší obloze - viz např. vyobrazení štíra pod vyobrazením samce ptáka vejce a samice ptáka.Chrám byl nejprve postaven, poté zasypán zeminou - ponechán pouze úzký vchod po boku stavby.Ve zdech či zemině nad chrámem byly ponechány malé otvory pro přístup světla, které byly nasměrovány určitým směrem na souhvězdí či dobu rovnodennosti v té době platnou.Totéž se nalézá zbudováno v Anglii-stejný princip.
Tehdejší lidé tak věděli, kdy přijde jaro atd.
Ahoj from Czech republic