Göbekli Tepe

Gather 'round, children, for I am about to tell you something you did not know beforehand. Maybe. I didn't know about this place until a few months ago, and I think I'm well versed on the subject. It's incredible! Here's a wiki link, and I encourage you to read it. To wit: This recently discovered temple - massive temple - is one of the oldest structures ever found. Begun in 11000BCE during the neolithic hunter-gatherer era of humanity, it is forcing a complete re-write in early human history.
 Here's the site, near Turkey's border with Syria, it's estimated that only 5% of the site has been excavated to date. It's huge! And hard to explain in many ways - so far, there's no evidence anyone lived there. No cooking, no waste piles, no apparent residences. Instead, it seems entirely devoted to seasonal worship - hunter-gatherer tribes from all around would gather there for their religious functions. Furthermore, the age of this complex predates not only cities and other religious temples, but even agriculture. In fact, a working theory is that agriculture was domesticated at this site, because of this site (there's good evidence to support it - the oldest wheat we can trace back is in this region, as is the domestication of the pig and several other animals. Furthermore, ancient Mesopotamian myths told the story of the gods and agriculture being brought to Earth at a far off mountain site - possibly, this site.).

The operating theory previously was: Hunter-Gatherers gradually grouped in bigger and bigger numbers, and through some luck, began domesticating food and animals, and that allowed more complex cities to be developed, which in turn caused more central organization to be required, which in turn led to the creation of castes, and eventually the Priestly caste, who used religion as the organizing principle.

With this discovery, all that gets tossed aside, as the temple came before the city, before the farm, before anything. Someone had to have organized this construction - it involves 50 ton pieces of stone. How would a bunch of un-affiliated hunter-gatherer tribes been able to pull that off? Maybe we'll find out with further excavation.

The artwork found throughout the site is very different than later cultures - it appears to be entirely totemic, and without any evidence of war or violence. The site was continuously used for thousands of years, but something clearly happened in the region around 6000BCE, since not only was the site completely abandoned, but very oddly, it was entirely buried under many feet of dirt. I'm sure those were interesting times!

This burial is a blessing to us, though, since it preserved much of the site. And now it's just a matter of pick-axes, muscle, and brushes, and time, till we find out more. Stay tuned!

One final picture: There are very few depictions of humans at the site, but here's one striking example found so far. You'll note the similarity to ancient "Venus" statues that our ancestors worshiped way, way, way back in our past:


l.e.s.ter said...

Wow. Indeed, I had never heard of that, and can't quite believe it exits. I guess it wouldn't take that much effort to drop a huge hoax on Wikipedia. Hmm, did I just come up with a great prank? Anywhoo, totally amazing and fascinating. Reminds me a little of Chaco Canyon, which was the largest structure in North America until relatively recently, and was much larger proportionately than the population it served -- suggesting that it may have been a seasonal or ceremonial destination. Okay, now I want to go Turkey.

Redshirt said...

I know! I was shocked to read about this, as I felt I had a great idea in this area. This discovery is going to eventually re-write all our ideas of early human history, and I suspect there are many incredible discoveries yet to be made here.

I'll join you on that trip to Turkey.

AlphaBitch said...

Just happened on this site on the day you post NASA's pictures of a space walk. Doesn't the "Venus" look more like a person in a space suit ?
Can't decide what the big cat next to the chair means-maybe it's a precursor of the Esso "tiger in your tank".

Redshirt said...

Ha! I never thought about the possibility of space suits. Could be - if History Channel has taught me anything, it's that Ancient Aliens are responsible for everything awesome in mankind's past.

We're just morans given gifts from the gods. Gods being Aliens, of course.

Antirion said...

Other than obesity (which could be considered "attractive" to a culture periodically faced with famine) the statute is virtually identical to statues of the Anatolian Cybele. Throne, feline armrests, posture, everything. There are thousands of similar statues found throughout Neolithic settlements worldwide. It suggests worship of a mother/earth goddess from the beginning of our history.

Redshirt said...

So true. And it makes sense - other than weather/natural phenomena, what makes more sense to worship than the miracle of birth, and motherhood in general?