Gobekli Tepe

Uncovered in 1994, the archaeological site at  Gobekli Tepe (Turkish for “Hill with a Belly”), is believed by some to be the oldest religious complex known to modern man, dating back 13,500 years, to the tail end of the Stone Age. While the exact purpose of the site is still to be discovered, evidence indicates the inhabitants were hunter-gatherers from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period who used the site for religious rituals and sacrifices.

The site itself consists of a large number of circular structures supported by massive stone pillars, perhaps the world’s oldest known megaliths, as they pre-date Stonehenge by nearly 6,000 years! These megaliths are richly decorated with reliefs of animals, clothing, and other anthropomorphic details from the period, and can tower as much as 16 feet high and weight as much as seven to ten tons. The structures found here, particularly the large T-shaped pillar with animal carvings, huge stone rings, and vast number of rectangular rooms, seem to suggest the site was built by hundreds of workers who must have settled in villages nearby, hence calling into question the generally accepted theory that hunter-gatherers roamed the Earth without ever settling down. 

 

 


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