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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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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Really interesting to know this. There would be some other isolated part which might have even more evidences of such events

Next Story

Militants Regrouping to Attack in Syria, Iraq and Around the World even after Final Victory

“If we don’t get rid of the extremism, IS can come back at any time and destabilize our lands"

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IS, islamic state, syria
Many children are growing up in camps since they fled Islamic State militants, missing out on their education, pictured in Hassan Sham, Iraq on Feb. 21, 2019. VOA

In October 2016, Umm Aysha and her three children huddled on the ground outside a bombed-out shopping plaza with a crowd of other women, all wearing the black veils required by Islamic State militants.

They were on the outskirts of Mosul city in Iraq, fleeing a battle as Iraqi, Syrian and coalition forces pummeled IS across the region from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city and village to village. “Our house was bombed,” she told VOA, explaining why she fled.

That battle subsided and bit by bit, IS lost the lands they captured over the previous three years. On Saturday, after five years of fighting, the militants lost their last sliver of land, a bombed out camp in Syria. What was once a self-proclaimed “Caliphate,” occupying vast territories in Iraq and Syria and bent on the destruction, is now once again an elusive insurgency.

 But besides broken hearts, homes and families, IS is leaving a new threat in its wake, said Badran Chiya Kurd, an advisor for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which declared the final victory. Militants are regrouping and hope to continue to attacks in Syria, Iraq and around the world, he said.
islamic state, IS, syria
In the final weeks IS held a camp near Baghuz, Syria thousands of people evacuated the area, far more than any militaries or aid groups expected, pictured near Baghuz on March 10, 2019. VOA

Recovery for now-destroyed former IS holdings, including major cities in both Syria and Iraq, will require political will, investment and education, according to Kurd. If cities and towns remain in shambles without services or economies to speak of, extremism will continue to thrive, no matter who is officially in charge, he said.

“If we don’t get rid of the extremism, IS can come back at any time and destabilize our lands,” he added, speaking on the phone from his office in Qameshli, Syria.

Over the last few months, SDF forces battled for Baghuz, the last IS stronghold. Militants fought bitterly as IS supporters poured into camps and prisons, often vowing that IS will rise again.

But even back in 2016, when IS’s imminent demise was just becoming apparent in Mosul, Umm Aysha could see members of the group plotting their survival.

“There were two militants wearing veils among the women we came with,” she whispered. “They were wearing makeup and everything.”

Unveiled

The next time we saw Umm Aysha was only a few weeks later in November 2016, but we didn’t recognize her at first. She had cast off the black full-body and face veil and replaced it with a pink headscarf and a smile.

islamic state, syria, IS
In the final weeks IS held a camp near Baghuz, Syria thousands of people evacuated the area, far more than any militaries or aid groups expected, pictured near Baghuz on March 10, 2019. VOA

She was at one of the camps housing displaced families in northern Iraq, and the weeks without bombings had been a relief. The camp was quickly filling up and others were opening across Iraq and Syria. Millions of people would flee their homes as the fighting continued.

“It’s this one,” she said, showing us the tent her family would make a home for the winter, despite the increasingly cold and rainy weather.

She didn’t know then, that this tent would become her only home.

Over the course of the next 28 months, IS-held towns and cities fell to Iraqi, Syrian and coalition forces. Thousands of civilians were killed in airstrikes, and the bodies of militants were left strewn across the region.

In the final few months of fighting, many of the most devoted IS fighters finally surrendered after retreating for months or years with the group before their “last stand” in Baghuz.

Syrian camps and prisons are now packed with IS supporters, including thousands of foreigners–fighters, their wives and their children–from countries that are hesitating, and in some cases refusing, to take them back.

islamic state, syria, IS
“Of course they will grow up with the same ideologies as their fathers,” she said. “I tell my children not to talk about these things.” VOA

Many areas once occupied by IS have been rebuilt, but many have not. Locals whisper that they still fear IS and describe circumstances that lead to the rise of the group that are still present. The region remains unstable, poor and people often feel neglected by authorities.

“It was lucky we escaped early,” Umm Aysha told VOA in late-February this year as the final battles raged on in Syria. We sat in a small space secluded by tarps and blankest outside her tent, as she held her youngest child. Aysha was born only six months before and has never lived outside a camp. “If we had stayed with IS, who knows what my children would be like?”

Future adults

Umm Aysha’s older three children played in the sun, vying to pose for pictures. They were not in school for different reasons. Marwa is 12, and stays home to help with household chores. Nahida, is 4. “I don’t have a backpack,” she said, explaining why she doesn’t go.

Mahmoud, 8, finds some of the children at school to be bullies and his mom fears the ones whose fathers were IS fighters could teach him extremist ideas.

syria, islamic state, IS
More than 90 percent of the population of al-Hol camp are women and children, and most are related to IS members, in al-Hol camp, Syria, March 4, 2019. VOA

“Of course they will grow up with the same ideologies as their fathers,” she said. “I tell my children not to talk about these things.”

At the al-Hol camp in Syria a week later, as IS was in the final throws of battle in Baghuz, children there said they were also not attending school. With about 62,000 new arrivals at the camp since December 4, 2018, the camp is in crisis, short of tents and other far more urgent supplies.

More than 90 percent of the newly-arrived people at al-Hol are women and children, and camp workers say they are nearly all related to IS. Several mothers told us they plan to raise their children to support the next generation of IS, and hope their sons will join the insurgency.

islamic state, IS, syria
Iraqi Federal police tour a neighborhood shortly after a battle, still littered with rubble and bodies of militants in Mosul, Iraq on March 16, 2017. VOA

“My children are free to be fighters or not,” said Umm Mohammed, a mother of five with her black veil fully covering her eyes. “But Islamic State was good.” Like Umm Aysha, Umm Mohammed does not know when, how or if she will be able to move her children out of the camp.

ALSO READ: No Evidence of Trump ‘Collusion’ with Russia in 2016 Elections: Mueller in Final Report

 

And across the border in Iraq, Umm Aysha says although she fears IS will soon regroup, that is not the real reason she still lives in a camp, more than two years after she fled her home. She used to live in the suburbs of Mosul, but her neighborhood was destroyed and she doesn’t have the money to rebuild.

“Where would we go back to?” she asked, shrugging. (VOA)