The Turkish Gobekli Tepe is six millennia older than Stonehenge

By Dan Talpalariu, Science Editor

October 29, Softpedia

During the 1960s, a team of archaeologists from the University of Chicago and from the Istanbul University has come upon what they believed was a regular medieval burial place. Quickly dismissed as such, the place has caught the eye of a German archaeologist, Klaus Schmidt, who knew on first sight that there was more to it. Placed on a human-built hill called Gobekli Tepe (Turkish for “Belly Hill”), only 6 miles (10 km) from the city of Urfa, the location displays the remains of what is perhaps the first temple ever built by any civilization.

Since the late 1990s, Schmidt has gathered a large team working on the project. New carbon dating of the items found at the site placed it in time 11,000 years ago, 6,000 years sooner than Stonehenge, in a time when metal or pottery, not to mention writing, were not even a concept. The monument is made up, somewhat similarly to Stonehenge, of several different circular rows of inward-facing stones, each of these circles surrounding a pair of large T-shaped pillars. The carvings on some of the pillars represent animal life – foxes, carrion birds, lions or snakes, and may yet provide clues on the purpose of the site.

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photo: Gobekli Tepe, probably the most ancient temple in the world
Image credits: Berthold Steinhilber / Smithsonian