Located about 500 miles away from the crowded streets of Istanbul, is Sanliurfa in eastern Turkey. There over a dusty hilltop in 1994, a Shepard noticed a piece of stone sticking out of his field. He began to dig around the stone, eventually unearthing a 19 foot pillar. Its edges were precise and rising from the middle was a relief carving of a very strange animal. Upon closer examination it was determined that the finely chiseled stones have been carved by expert stone masons, using advanced tools. When the news of this discovery reached the scientific community, one fact became obvious, a Kurdish Shepard has stumbled upon the whats could be the most astonishing archeological discovery in modern times. A site called Göbekli Tepe.
Göbekli Tepe is the oldest human-made place of worship yet discovered. Until excavations began, a complex on this scale was not thought possible for a community so ancient. The massive sequence of stratification layers suggests several millennia of activity, perhaps reaching back to the Mesolithic. The oldest occupation layer (stratum III) contains monolithic pillars linked by coarsely built walls to form circular or oval structures. So far, four such buildings, with diameters between 10 and 30m have been uncovered. Geophysical surveys indicate the existence of 16 additional structures.
Stratum II, dated to Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) (7500–6000 BC), has revealed several adjacent rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime, reminiscent of Roman terrazzo floors. The most recent layer consists of sediment deposited as the result of agricultural activity.
The monoliths are decorated with carved reliefs of animals and of abstract pictograms. The pictograms may represent commonly understood sacred symbols, as known from Neolithic cave paintings elsewhere. The carefully carved figurative reliefs depict lions, bulls, boars, foxes, gazelles, asses, snakes and other reptiles, insects, arachnids, and birds, particularly vultures and water fowl. At the time the shrine was constructed the surrounding country was much lusher and capable of sustaining this variety of wildlife, before millennia of settlement and cultivation resulted in the near–Dust Bowl conditions prevailing today.
Vultures also feature in the iconography of the Neolithic sites of Çatalhöyük and Jericho; it is believed that in the early Neolithic culture of Anatolia and the Near East the deceased were deliberately exposed in order to be excarnated by vultures and other birds of prey. (The head of the deceased was sometimes removed and preserved—possibly a sign of ancestor worship.) This, then, would represent an early form of sky burial, as practiced today by Tibetan Buddhists and Zoroastrians in India.
Few humanoid forms have surfaced at Göbekli Tepe, but include a relief of a naked woman, posed frontally in a crouched position, that Schmidt likens to the Venus accueillante figures found in Neolithic north Africa; and of at least one decapitated corpse surrounded by vultures. Some of the pillars, namely the T-shaped ones, have carved arms, which may indicate that they represent stylized humans (or anthropomorphic gods). Another example is decorated with human hands in what could be interpreted as a prayer gesture, with a simple stole or surplice engraved above; this may be intended to represent a temple priest.
For the last 15 years the German archeological team has been excavating this land and they have been performing ‘carbon dating’ as fat as they go. And it has taken them 15 years to uncover about 5%-7% of a gigantic civilization. So far the archeologists have been able to locate circles upon circles, perfect circles – with carved stone pillars 19 feet tall and weighing 15 tonnes each. Each of these pillars have been carved out of single block of stone and have been intricately decorated with relief feature of animals and birds. Tests have proved that Göbekli Tepe is almost 12,000 years old. Almost 7,000 years older than Mesopotamia, long heralded as the cradle of human civilization. No other site is this advanced and its this old. The chance discovery of Göbekli Tepe has doubled the age of human civilization.
In words of Graham Hancock, “We have this gigantic site with huge circular megalithic structure, that stands there as a mystery, asking us to go figure how was this done, whats the background to this. We have no idea, who made them. They just come out of the dark of the last ice age, about which we know nothing, and enter this stage of history already fully formed. And to my mind this is indicative of a major forgotten episode of human history”. Could the discovery of Göbekli Tepe, change our understanding of human history, and might prove that mankind’s most puzzling myths might just be based in facts. To put things into perspective, the site of Göbekli Tepe is more than 12000 years old, that’s 7000 years earlier than Stonehenge and Great Pyramid. So clearly we have something that contradicts the global understanding of the evolution of Human Civilization.
Curiously, after 15 years of serious excavation, archeologists have failed to recover a single stone cutting tool, nor have they found any agricultural implements. The history of Göbekli Tepe is further compelled by ancient stone carvings found throughout the site. Located about 300 miles from Mount Ararat, the site many Biblical scholars believe to be the resting place of Noah’s Ark, the relief carvings of Göbekli Tepe suggest a time in the region’s history when the indigenous animal population may have been of a totally different origin. But do these provide any evidence of the great flood as described in the Bible. According to Graham Hancock, “Archeologists are aware of more then 2000 myths about the great flood”. Scholars believe that stories of a cataclysmic flood as described in the Bible is also found on the pillars of Göbekli Tepe. If this is true, that would push the date of the Great Flood, to the end of the last ice age. That’s thousands of years earlier than the Biblical period.
Perhaps more compelling than that is the question, who built Göbekli Tepe? What was its purpose? And how did such a site remain in such pristine condition, for more than 10000 years? Philip Coppens seems to have an answer to this. According to Coppens, “If you look at Göbekli Tepe, this site was carefully placed under the sand. It was actually buried”. However no answer has been found to why the site was buried. It could have been to save the site from invaders, or perhaps to preserve it, in a hope to return to it some day. No matter what the reason is, the fact remains that the site of Göbekli Tepe is more then 12000 years old, and that has logically pushed the genesis of human civilization by more then 70000 years. And this could well be just the beginning. If human civilization could have thrived and existed 12000 years ago, would it be too outlandish to believe that, there were very advanced human civilizations existing in the highlands of Bolivia about 17000 years ago.
Your call. After all I am convinced.