9 Steps to Understanding Gobekli Tepe
1. Gobekli Tepe is The Missing Link
A subject I find fascinating is the evidence of possible ‘missing civilizations’ in our history, which would bring back the origins of human civilization back several millenia.
However, many of these locations (such as the Gulf of Cambay
, and off the coast of Cuba
) are difficult to investigate. Therefore, even if they were proven to be more than oddly-shaped natural rock formations, they would offer little insight into the ancient cultures that built them.
This is what makes Gobekli Tepe so interesting: People armed with arrows and flint knives built a series of temples in the middle of the fertile crescent thousands of years before the earliest civilization, and then deliberately buried
them under thousands of tons of earth.
This archeological site offers insight into early human cultures, and is the missing link that provides many clues on the transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer that created the modern world.
2. What we Know About Gobekli Tepe
a. Gobekli Tepe is located in the northern end of the fertile crescent
. During the time the structures were built, the climate was very mild and wildlife was abundant.
b. The site is huge. There are around 20 groups of pillars
, each group ranging from 30 to 90 feet across. The largest of the stone pillars are 16 feet tall, weighing nearly 10 tons. The site was constructed over several hundred, perhaps several thousand years.
c. Radiocarbon dating places the age of these buildings at around 12,000 years old, which is several thousand years older than any previously discovered complex structures (the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge are around 5,000 years old).
d. The symbols on the pillars “are decorated with carved reliefs of animals and of abstract pictograms … very carefully carved reliefs depict lions, bulls, boars, foxes, gazelles, asses, snakes and other reptiles, insects, arachnids, and birds, particularly vultures and water fowl.” [Source
e. It was buried under 15,000 cubic feet of soil, which is the area displaced by the Big Ben
clock tower. Clearly, the burial of these structures was as much of a ‘team effort’ as their construction.