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Is Gobekli Tepe World’s First man-made Temple? Find out!

The place is the site of the world’s oldest temple as convinced by Schmidt, a German archaeologist and the name of the place is Gobekli Tepe

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Göbekli Tepe location map
Göbekli Tepe location map, Wikimedia Commons
  • The place is the site of the world’s oldest temple
  • In the main excavation sites, standing stones, or pillars, are arranged in circles. Beyond, on the hillside, are four other rings of partially excavated pillars
  • the place was a burial ground, the dead laid out on the mound side among the stylized gods and spirits of the afterlife

In an ancient city in South-eastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist has found one of the most stunning archaeological discoveries of the present time. This city found huge carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and organized by the primeval human beings who had not yet developed metal tools. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is the site of the world’s oldest temple as convinced by Schmidt and the name of the place is Gobekli Tepe.

File:Göbekli Tepe, Urfa.jpg
Göbekli Tepe, Urfa. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

“In the main excavation sites, standing stones, or pillars, are arranged in circles. Beyond, on the hillside, are four other rings of partially excavated pillars. Each ring has a roughly similar layout: in the center are two large stone T-shaped pillars encircled by slightly smaller stones facing inward. The tallest pillars tower 16 feet. As we among them, I see that some are blank, while others are elaborately carved: foxes, lions, scorpions and vultures abound, twisting and crawling on the pillars’ broadsides. ” as narrated by Andrew Curry in Smithsonian Magazine.

According to the Schmidt, this is the first human-built holy place.

As imagined by the Curry, how the landscape would have looked like 11,000 years ago, he said “Prehistoric people would have stared upon herds o0f gazelle and other wild animals; gently flowing rivers , which attracted migrating geese and ducks; fruits and nut trees; and rippling fields of wild barley and wild wheat varieties such as emmer and einkorn.”
According to Schmidt, no evidence have been found that people permanently lived there and this was a place of worship which was never known before—humanity’s first “cathedral on a hill.”

Schmidt used ground-penetrating radar and geomagnetic surveys to plot the entire summit and found that at least 16 other megaliths rings linger under the ground across 22 acres.
Anthropologists of the University of Chicago and Istanbul University were the first to scrutinize the Gobekli Tepe in 1960s but was dismissed because they assumed the place was nothing but a deserted medieval cemetery. Later in 1994, when Schmidt read a brief mention about the stone-littered mound in the University of Chicago researchers’ report and decided to go there, he found the place unusual.

View of site and excavation
View of site and excavation, Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Gobekli Tepe which means “belly hill” in Turkish, is 50 feet tall above the surrounding landscape and has a rounded summit dissimilar to the stark mesas nearby. Schmidt said that “It was clear right away this was a gigantic Stone Age site. ”

A year later Schmidt visited the place again with five colleagues and they discovered the first megaliths. As they dug deeper, they found pillars arranged in circles. Although, Schmidt’s team didn’t found any meaningful signs of a settlement: no cooking furnaces, houses or trash pits, and none of the clay fertility figurines that are easily found in the nearby sites belonging to the same age. But the carving on the stones did indicate the use of tools like stone hammers and blades. Schmidt and his team believe that Gobekli Tepe’s stone structure date back to 9000 B.C. since these stone artifacts are similar to others from nearby sites which belong to the same age.

According to Schmidt, primeval stonecutter’s wielding flint instruments could have chipped away at softer limestone outcrops, giving them a shape of pillars on the spot before shifting them a few hundred yards to the top and lifting them upright. And once the stone rings were completed, the ancient architects encrusted them with dirt. And one ring was placed on top of the other repeatedly. Eventually, these layers turned into a hilltop.

Now, Schmidt team has more than a dozen Herman archaeologists, 50 local laborers and a series of students. He works at the site for two months in spring and two months in the fall. In 1995, he bought a traditional Ottoman house with the courtyard in Urfa, a city of nearly a half-million people, to use as a base of operations.

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An archaeozoologist, Joris Peters has studied more than 100,000 bone fragments since 1998 from Gobekli Tepe. He found cut marks and disintegrated edges on them– evidence that the animals were butchered and cooked. Peters has recognized tens of thousands of gazelle bones, which accounts 60 percent of the total, in addition, those other wild animals like boar, sheep, and red deer. Bones of a dozen different bird species, including vultures, cranes, ducks and geese were also found. “The first year, we went through 15,000 pieces of animal bone, all of them wild. It was pretty clear we were dealing with a hunter-gatherer site,” Peters told to Andrew Curry. These remains of wild animals are the signs that the who settled here had not yet domesticated animals or farmed.

File:Göbekli Tepe site (1).JPG
Göbekli Tepe site, Wikimedia Commons

Research at other sites in the region has revealed that within 1,000 years of construction, settlers had corralled sheep, cattle, and pigs. At an ancient village just 20 miles away, geneticists found signs of the world’s oldest domesticated strains of wheat; radiocarbon dating reveals that agriculture developed there around 10,500 years ago, or just five centuries after Gobekli Tepe’s construction.

File:Göbekli Tepe Pillar.JPG
Göbekli Tepe Pillar, Wikimedia Commons

According to Schmidt, to erect and carve the seven-ton stone pillars would have required hands of hundred workers, all needing to be fed and sheltered. Therefore, communities settled in the area around 10,000 years ago. “This shows sociocultural changes come first, agriculture comes later,” says archeologist Ian Hodder of Stanford University who excavated Catalhoyuk, a primeval settlement 300 miles from Gobekli Tepe.

Danielle Stordeur, an archeologist at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France, explained the importance of the carvings of vulture that these birds have long believed to be the transporters of the flesh of the dead up to the paradise. Stordeur has found similar signs at sites belonging to the same time period as Gobekli Tepe 50 miles away from Syria. She said, “You can really see it’s the same culture”.

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Schmidt believes that the secret lies under the surface of the site.Research show that the floors of the rings are made of hardened limestone. To uncover all of the secrets hidden under the ground of Gobekli Tepe, Schmidt, and his team has to dig deeper.

However, Schmidt says, the place was a burial ground, the dead laid out on the mound side among the stylized gods and spirits of the afterlife.

– prepared by NewsGram team.

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White House: Judge’s Decision Halting Travel Ban ‘Dangerously Flawed’

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Travel Ban
A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.VOA

The White House is reacting furiously to a federal judge blocking President Donald Trump’s latest executive Travel Ban order that would have banned entry to travelers from several countries beginning Wednesday.

“Today’s dangerously flawed district court order undercuts the president’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States,” said a White House statement issued Tuesday shortly after Judge Derrick Watson ruled against restrictions on travelers from six countries the Trump administration said could not provide enough information to meet U.S. security standards.

The travel ban order would have barred to various degrees travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Watson’s temporary restraining order does not interfere with restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela.

Justice Department defends White House

The Justice Department “will vigorously defend the president’s lawful action,” the White House said, contending its proclamation restricting travel was issued after an extensive worldwide security review.

The Justice Department called the ruling incorrect and said it will appeal the decision “in an expeditious manner.”

Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke said: “While we will comply with any lawful judicial order, we look forward to prevailing in this matter upon appeal.”

Acting Director of Homeland Security Elaine Duke
Acting Director of Homeland Security Elaine Duke testifies before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

No change for North Korea, Venezuela

The new travel order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the United States,'” Judge Watson wrote in his opinion.

The White House argues that its restrictions “are vital to ensuring that foreign nations comply with the minimum security standards required for the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our nation.”

Officials in the White House are expressing confidence that further judicial review will uphold the president’s action.

Hawaii involved for third time

Consular officials have been told to resume “regular processing of visas” for people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, according to a State Department official.

The suit on which Judge Watson ruled on Tuesday was filed by the state of Hawaii, the Muslim Association of Hawaii and various individuals.

“This is the third time Hawaii has gone to court to stop President Trump from issuing a travel ban that discriminates against people based on their nation of origin or religion,” said Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin. “Today is another victory for the rule of law.”(VOA)

 

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Kurdish Red Crescent: IS Attacks Kill at Least 50 in East Syria

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Syrian Democratic Forces
A female fighter from the Syrian Democratic Forces stands near a military tank in the village of Abu Fas, Hasaka province, Syria. voa

Islamic State suicide attackers killed at least 50 people in a triple car bomb attack on Thursday among a group of refugees in northeast Syria, a medical source in the Kurdish Red Crescent said.

A large number of people were also injured by the three car bombs, the source said.

The attack took place at Abu Fas, near the border of Deir el-Zour and Hasaka provinces, said a war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said earlier that at least 18 people had been killed.

The dead included refugees fleeing the fighting in Deir el-Zour as well as members of the Kurdish Asayish security force, the observatory reported. Syrian state television said dozens had been killed in the attack.

The jihadist group has lost swaths of its territory in both Syria and Iraq this year and is falling back on the towns and villages of the Euphrates valley southeast of Deir el-Zour.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias is pressing it from the north, and a rival offensive by the Syrian army, supported by allies including Iran and Russia, is attacking it from the west.

On Wednesday, Islamic State said it had carried out an attack in the capital, Damascus, where three suicide bombers detonated their devices near a police headquarters, killing two people and wounding six.

Aid agencies have warned that the fighting in eastern Syria is the worst in the country this year and that airstrikes have caused hundreds of civilian casualties.(VOA)

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Syria Turns the School Playgrounds into Vegetable Gardens to Feed Hungry Children

The ongoing crisis in Syria is having a devastating effect on the health and nutrition of an entire generation of children

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A boy sells vegetables and fruits along a street in the Damascus suburb of Qudsaya, Syria
A boy sells vegetables and fruits along a street in the Damascus suburb of Qudsaya, Syria. VOA
  • Young children are often the most vulnerable to malnutrition in a crisis
  • Good nutrition is a child’s first defense against common diseases

School playgrounds across Syria are being transformed into vegetable gardens where children whose diets have been devastated by six years of war can learn to grow and then eat — aubergines, lettuces, peppers, cabbages, and cucumbers.

Traditional Syrian cuisine is typical of the region and rich in vegetables. Its mainstays include hummus, minced lamb cooked with pine nuts and spices, varied salads, stews made with green beans, okra or courgettes and tomatoes, stuffed cabbage leaves and artichoke hearts.

But the six-year war has changed that for much of the population, and many now live mainly on bread or food aid.

According to U.N. figures, unemployment now stands at more than 50 percent, and nearly 70 percent of the population is living in extreme poverty, in what was once a relatively wealthy country.

“The ongoing crisis in Syria is having a devastating effect on the health and nutrition of an entire generation of children,” Adam Yao, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) acting representative in Syria, said on Tuesday, ahead of the start of the school year.FAO is helping some 17 primary schools in both government and opposition-controlled areas to plant up to 500 meter-square fruit and vegetable plots in war-torn areas including Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus.

FAO is helping some 17 primary schools in both government and opposition-controlled areas to plant up to 500 meter-square fruit and vegetable plots in war-torn areas including Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus.Young children are often the most vulnerable to malnutrition in a crisis, which can have serious and long-lasting effects on their growth and future development.

Young children are often the most vulnerable to malnutrition in a crisis, which can have serious and long-lasting effects on their growth and future development.

“Good nutrition is a child’s first defense against common diseases and important for children to be able to lead an active and healthy life,” Yao added.

The primary schools, which began planting in May, have produced 12 tons of fruit and vegetables. Another 35 schools are expected to start transforming their playgrounds soon in Aleppo and in rural areas around Damascus.

Also Read: Ground Report: How ISIS is ruining lives of people in Syria and Iraq

Rising prices, falling production

The price of food has risen since the start of the war — agriculture production has plummeted, and the country now relies on food imports to make up the shortfall. Transporting food around the country has also become difficult and costly.

About 13.5 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of those, 7 million are unable to meet their basic food needs.

Some 5 million people receive international food aid, but not everyone in need can be reached, and the World Food Program says it has had to cut a number of calories in its family food baskets because of funding shortages.

“The donors are generous, but we don’t know how long they can continue to be generous and rely on taxpayers’ money,” the FAO’s Yao told Reuters.

Vulnerable families are receiving help from FAO to grow food at home, so they can become less reliant on food aid.

“Food aid is very important, but … we should combine both, in a way that people grow their own food and move away from food aid gradually,” he said.

In a country where more than half the population has been forced to flee their homes, many moving several times, investing in agriculture helps people to stay put for as long as it is safe, Yao added.

“Agriculture has become a hope for [many] because they can grow their own food and survive — even in the besieged areas.” (VOA)