What is Göbekli Tepe?

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Göbekli Tepe mound is located in northeast of modern Şanlıurfa that is a city in southeastern Turkey. The hill where Göbekli Tepe relics are in is situated on the highest point of Germuş Mountain 750 meters aboce Harran Plain. The mound with a height of 15 meters is completeley artificial and is spreading on an area of about 9 hectares, measuring 300 meters in diameter.  The hill with huge relics was formed of debris of monumental constructions dated 10000 BC and 9000 BC.

Göbekli Tepe was first found as an archeological site during cooperated research by University of Chicago and University of Istanbul in the 1960 because of extraordinary amount of flint flakes, chips and tools. However the architecture and the mound remained unrevealed until its rediscovery in 1994 by Klaus Schmidt.  The excavations began in 1995 went on until his untimely death in 2014.

As seen from excavations that there were three layers at the site. The oldest layer of the site is recognized with monolithic T shape pillars dated back to 10000 BC which weighes tons and were positioned in circle-like structure as in Stonehenge relics.

The pillars are connected to each other by limestone walls and benches and leaning at the inner side of the walls. There are two big pillars in the center of the rings that the pillars are 5 meters height. The circles measure 10 – 20 meters.

The T shape of the pillars looks like an abstract depiction of human body seen from side. Evidence for this interpretation are the low relief depictions of arms, hands and items of clothing like belts and  loincloths on some of the pillars. Often the pillars bear further reliefs, mostly depictions of animals, but also of numerous abstract symbols. To the spectrum of finds adds a wide range of sculptures of humans and animals.

In an interesting way, Layer III is superimposed by Layer II dating to 9000 BC . However this layer is not characterised by big rings but by smaller rectangular buildings. Both numbers and heights of the pillars are also reduced. In both cases only two pillars remain. Layer I is composed of accumulations of sediments at the thill flanks which were created partly by erosions but mainly by modern farming activities at the ruin hill. The dating of this astonishing monumental architecture is PPN (Pre Pottery Neolithic) between 9600 and 8000 BC and is confirmed by characteristic finds but also by radiocarbon data.

Pre Pottery  Neolithic A (PPN A) denotes the first stage of Pre Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture dating to 12000 – 10800 BC… So, the PPN A rings are the most impressive part of Göbekli Tepe´s archaeology. A geomagnetic survey, including ground penetrating radar proofs that these rings are not restricted to a specific part of the mound but exists all over the site.

When asked Proffesor Mehmet Özdoğan (worldwide known archeologist) about Göbekli Tepe, his reply is that Göbekli Tepe just an archeological site with interesting structures and distinguished archeological finds that has been preserved very well. As said in social media lately, neither it is a place mentioned in holly books nor bit was built by celestial beings.  However, Göbekli Tepe is very important place in terms of giving clues that help us to understand religious belief, mental richness and social order in the related period.

It is interesting point that Göbekli Tepe is on crest of a barren hill and that place has no value for the civilizations coming after them which differs from other pre pottery neolithic places that were excavated already. Other places (archeological sites) were built in plains and on lands with plenty of water.

Found thousands of human remains in Göbekli Tepe during excavations and we will be writing about them in following articles.

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