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Gobekli Tepe
The Worlds First Temple

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ix miles from Urfa, an ancient city in built cultural/religious structure in the world probably predates settled human life. Its

S south-eastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt is


uncovering one of the most startling
archaeological discoveries of our time;
yet to be discovered, and on the broad
evidence found here we see the beginning
of the human story in a context to which we
initial construction period is referred to as
Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) meaning that
it is pre-pottery and pre-writing; Gbekli
massive carved stones about 12,000 years can all relate. Tepe hails from a part of human history that
old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric is unimaginably distant and at the end of the
people who had not yet developed writing, Discovered by a solitary Kurdish shepherd, last Ice Age. Most importantly, this is in all
metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths Savak Yildiz, in 1994, Gbekli Tepe is one of likelihood a religious or cult site, not a
predate Stonehenge in Great Britain by the greatest archaeological discoveries in settlement site; there is no evidence of
some 6,000 years. The place is called the last 50 years. Others would say one of anyone having lived here. It would also seem
Gbekli Tepe or in Kurdish, Gir Navok, and the greatest archaeological discoveries of all to be associated with the cycles of life and
Dr Schmidt is convinced its the site of the time: a site that has revolutionised the way death, a theme we shall return to several
worlds oldest temple. What was so we look at human history, the origins of times. The construction was a huge effort,
important to these early people that they religion and faith. and Dr Schmidt believes that hundreds of
gathered to build (and ultimately conceal) people came from far and wide for specific
these stone enclosures? The megaliths The most important fact is the staggering cultural or religious rituals over an extended
within the enclosures were placed here by age of the remains. Carbon-dating shows period of time, and then went back to their
people 6,000 years or more before the that the complex is at least 12,000 years territories and their daily lives. The site was
invention of writing. old, maybe even 13,000 years old. That only used for very important events; perhaps
Particular attention was paid to the means it was built around 10,000BC. By rituals associated with birth and death, the
excavations at Gbekli Tepe after the comparison, Stonehenge was built in 3,000 changing of the seasons or to mark the
publication of the book "They built the first BC and the pyramids of Giza in 2,500 BC. migratory patterns of wildlife. While no
temple - the mysterious sanctuary of Stone Gbekli Tepe is thus the oldest such site in burial evidence has been found Dr Schmidt
Age hunters. It was realised that these the world yet to be discovered, and by a says these could be behind the walls; we
were the remnants of the oldest purpose significant margin. It is so old that it must be patient to answer these questions
and only excavate what we need. One representations of human figures. Experts Istanbul academics in the 1960s. As part of
possible use for the site may be the practice believe that the stones were moved, the a sweeping survey of the region, they visited
of sky burials or excarnations. As an same way that the Egyptians moved stones the hill, saw some broken slabs of limestone
interesting aside, excarnation is a funeral to build the pyramids; manpower, levers, and assumed the mound was nothing more
practice of the Zoroastrian faith originating ropes and wooden beams and rollers. than an abandoned medieval cemetery. In
in nearby Iran in which bodies are exposed 1994, Dr Schmidt was working on his own
to the elements and to scavenging birds like survey of prehistoric sites in the region.
vultures, kites and crows in stone structures After reading a brief mention of the stone-
called Towers of Silence; this practice still littered hilltop in the university of Chicago
continues in parts of India. However, the researchers report, he decided to go there
problem with uncovering sites like this is for himself. From the first moment after his
that the very process of excavation actually arrival, he knew the place was extraordinary
destroys the site. The goal therefore, is to and that if he didnt leave then, as he later
protect the site as much as possible while said, he would be there for the rest of his
learning as much as one can. Consequently, life.
the process is going to take a very long time
and is as far removed from the buccaneering A year later he returned with five colleagues
style of archaeology espoused by early and they uncovered the first megaliths, a
archaeologists such as Schliemann in his few buried so close to the surface they were
excavations at Troy and made popular by the scarred by ploughs. As the archaeologists
Indiana Jones films as it is possible to be. bekli Tepe sits at the northern edge dug deeper, they unearthed pillars arranged

How do they give the site a cultural and


historical context? With no pottery and no
G of the Fertile Crescent an arc of
mild climate and arable land from
the Persian Gulf to present-day Lebanon,
in circles. They found no signs of a
settlement; no cooking hearths, houses or
domestic rubbish pits, and none of the clay
writing there can be no indication of how Israel, Jordan and Egypt and would have fertility figurines that litter nearby sites of
these ancient people perceived themselves. attracted hunter-gatherers from Africa and about the same age. The archaeologists did
The team had to compare archaeological Levant. Dr Schmidt has found no evidence find evidence of tool use, including stone
sites, taking materials from Gbekli Tepe and that people permanently resided on the hammers and blades. Even without metal
other sites which are related by archaeology summit of Gbekli Tepe itself. Neolithic chisels or hammers, prehistoric masons
and which can be carbon dated and communities rarely established domestic
compare these findings. The practice of site environments on hill tops, preferring valleys
burial also gives an indication of age and or possibly caves and other sheltered spots
suggests a cultural context that is replicated nearer to supplies of water; he believes that
in other parts of the Fertile Crescent area. this was a place of worship on an
Gbekli Tepe was in use, in its various unprecedented scale humanitys first
phases, for a period of about 2000 2500 cathedral on a hill. Gbekli Tepe means
years. To give this some perspective, only Belly Button Hill or Hill of the Navel. The
2000 years have elapsed since the birth of reference to the navel is frequent amongst
Christ. ancient peoples in the naming of places that
are central to their world view or to the
Because it is so ancient and so unexpected, importance of life, death and renewal. For
Gbekli Tepe has been, and remains in many example, the natives of Easter Island in the
respects, an enigma to archaeology. Pacific, and on the other side of the world,
Consisting of a series of stone circles (and referred to their island as Te Pito O Te
some rectangles) containing T-shaped pillars Henua- the Navel of the World; in other wielding flint tools would have chipped
bearing exquisite carvings of animals, birds, words, a source of life and an intimate away at softer limestone outcrops, shaping
insects and abstract human figures, this connection with a Great Mother. Is the them into pillars on the spot before carrying
ritual complex was constructed at the end of name Gbekli Tepe, a modern Turkish name, them a few hundred yards to the summit
the last Ice Age by unknown individuals, an echoe of a distant and ancient cultural and lifting them upright. The entire hill and
who rose far beyond the conventional memory? its surrounding area is littered with the
understanding of the hunter-gatherers who remnants of these ancient tools.
occupied the Eurasian continent at this time. n what must be one of the great ironies,
Many of the T shaped stones which stand
within the stone walled circles are clearly I Gbekli Tepe was first examined (and
dismissed) by University of Chicago and
oris Peters, an archaeozoologist from the

J Ledwig Maximilian University in Munich,


specialises in the analysis of animal
remains. Since 1998, he has examined
hundreds of thousands of bone fragments
from Gbekli Tepe area. Peters has found
cut marks and splintered edges on them,
signs that the animals from which they came
were butchered and cooked. He has
identified tens of thousands of gazelle
bones, which make up more than 50% of
the identifiable total, plus those of other
wild game such as boar, sheep and red deer.
Also present in large numbers are the
remains of Aurochs, a very large, aggressive
and now extinct breed of oxen once
common across the near east and Europe.
He also found bones of a dozen different
bird species, including vultures, cranes, ducks
Dr Schmidt says that the monuments could not uncommon to use old and abandoned
and geese. These bones indicate that the
not have been built by ragged bands of dwellings as burial sites. Gbekli Tepe's
people who lived here had not yet
hunter-gatherers. To carve, erect and bury buried temples give rise to a
domesticated animals or farmed land in a
rings of seven-ton stone pillars would have misunderstanding. If this social and cultural
systematic manner. These, of course, are the
required hundreds of workers, all needing to pattern were re-enacted at Gbekli Tepe
creatures we see carved on many of the stele
be fed and housed, hence the eventual then this would explain the burial of site
at Gbekli Tepe. It is interesting to note that
emergence of more settled communities in buildings and the destruction, or ritual
the animalistic and mystical themes
the area around 10,000 years ago. Stanford breaking, of pillars and sculptured objects
represented at Gbekli Tepe are
University archaeologist Ian Hodder says that appears to have been the case. The
progressions not so far removed from the
This shows social cultural changes come result would have been what was actually a
extraordinary cave paintings left by man in
first, agriculture comes later. Another small working complex since, as time
other regions and from much earlier times.
important requirement would have been a passed, the bulk of it would have been
Fragmentary human bones were also found
life and economy that was bountiful enough buried under mounds which of course would
in the mix offering a tantalising hint at what
to provide the leisure time for people to have added to the mystery of the site for
may have gone on here.
contribute the time and resources for such a those who came here. The life of site was
construction over such a long period of time. experiencing a cycle of construction/
Clearly the site represents the cusp between redundancy/burial/ reconstruction that
nomadic hunter gatherer life and settled life, paralleled the lives of the people over
although there has never been a clear break; thousands of years. What these cycles were
nomadic and semi nomadic lifestyles still and how they were determined can only be
exist today, for example, in spite of the guessed at but it is clear that it all occurs
growing urbanisation of this region. within a pattern that could have been
Similarly, hunter gatherer and settled motivated by life cycles, calendar cycles or
lifestyles must have co-existed and possibly even clan or tribe politics. We are seeing it
competed for many generations. exposed in a very short period of time and
this gives a somewhat distorted view of the
The use of the site covered both PPN periods site's time line of construction and use. The
A and B when there were marked changes in real curiosity about the site is that as time
economy, social structures and lifestyles; passed the quality and sophistication of the
these changes are reflected in the structures work declined. Possibly, these hunter
on site. If you look at Gbekli Tepe as part of gathers had more time to devote, on a
an arc of peoples from Iraq through seasonal basis than more settled agricultural
Syria/Southern Turkey and down through communities who, with few exceptions, have
Jordan and Israel you will notice that it was much harder lives, often poorer diets and
a common practice to literally bury old certainly less time. The very first grains to be
houses when building a new one. It was also cultivated can be traced back to a range of
hills about sixty kilometres away and one
should not forget that even semi nomadic
peoples would sow wild and semi wild
grains to be harvested at a later time.
Transition was gradual and patchy and this
seems to be reflected in the decline of
Gbekli Tepe. Certainly the changes in shape
of the structures are matched by the
changes in traditional dwelling construction
that marked the transition from PPNA to
PPNB.

One question posed by many of those who


read about Gbekli Tepe is simply related to
the how rather than the why. Without
written accounts it is impossible to be sure
of the why; we can speculate and indeed,
there has been a great deal of speculation,
much of it of a mystical nature. The how
is a rather more straightforward matter.
Gobekli Tepe comes from a period that is
referred to in common parlance as the
Stone Age. This is a term we are much
more familiar and happier with. After all, we
see Stone Age remains around us and they
are a part of popular culture - think of
Stonehenge in Wiltshire. It might help
therefore, to make some comparisons.
Gbekli Tepe is far older than anything else
to date but there are only so many ways in
which one can sensibly and intelligently
work with stone and as the popular
terminology suggests, these were people
who were good with stone.

There are many examples: Seen below astounding place, a place of worship, built sophisticated, even modern in
Map details are not important here; basic when the surrounding countryside was lush appearance. Some designs are highly
design and layout are. There are obvious and fertile. Only 5 - 6% of the site has been stylised while others are far more
similarities due to the limitations placed on excavated so far, and radar scans show that representational. Some may be simple
construction by the raw material. that there are at least a further 20 such representations of animals; others may
Specifics of design are far more cultural in structures under the soil. Some of the huge represent scenes of the hunt or of animal
nature although this too can generate monoliths weigh as much as 50 tons each, life.
themes and stylistic similarities across showing carved reliefs of animals and
regions and times. Clearly this is a most figures many of which are extraordinarily

Cgantiija Temples, Malta 3500BC Scara Brae, Orkney Islands Scotland 3200BC Gobekli Tepe 10,000 BC
odern fox in typical mid leap as

M depicted on stele at Gobekli Tepe


with its prey (a small rodent?)
marked by an arrow. This stele is simply the
depiction of fox hunting and given the
location of the image and the work involved
one might suspect that this stele identifies a
clan or tribe by a fox totem or by what they
may have believed to be shared
characteristics. Interestingly, although foxes
do feature in the mythical and religious
spectrum in south west Asia, they are almost
entirely absent in the near east. Foxes
however are prolific and adaptable
creatures, the remains of which do feature
quite strongly in the in-fill material used to
bury the enclosures at the site.

In two of the pillars, cranes or ibis are


depicted as a part of a wider scene.
However, a cursory glance at these particular
birds will produce a sense of a mistake. The
legs of all birds, and this is particularly
noticeable in large long legged birds, have
legs that articulate forwards. These birds
have legs that articulate backwards. This is
particularly noticeable in the picture below.
Clearly, what we are not looking at is a
depiction of a large bird; it is the
representation of a man dressed as a bird. It
is inconceivable that the makers of these
reliefs could have made such a fundamental
error as familiar as they would have been
with the creatures they depended on for life, altered states of mind the shaman crosses from the earliest of times to relatively
so why this depiction? There could be a over to a spirit world where revered animals recently. Secondly, they could be depictions
number of reasons. Firstly, given the location and humans somehow merge; this is of cultural events such as dance at festivals.
of these particular pillars they could have a something that is depicted in cave and cliff Thirdly, they could be depictions of other
ritualistic or shamanistic context where in paintings by primitive peoples that go back central events such as the hunt. Looking at
the stone on the left, the bird is a part of a
wider scene that includes a fox and, at the
top, an auroch. It is common amongst
people who are familiar with hunting to use
subterfuge to approach prey. Human beings
are not fast or strong; they have to use guile.
In the left stele a person, a hunter is
approaching the auroch using a disguise. A
fox is in the picture maybe there as a totem
of the hunter or a symbol of luck- or simply
a companion in a spirit world.

part from straight forward depictions

A of familiar animals the stones at


Gobekli Tepe are clearly rich in
symbolism, including for example swarming
snakes with representations of spiders which
were considered powerful totems and while
the significance of spiders may be somewhat
elusive, snakes play a prominent part in the
folklore of this region to this day.

On the right is a depiction on the side of a


stele of symbols representing the sun and
the moon, both crucial indicators of the
passage of time and the appropriate
messengers of the months and seasons.

The pillar below contains an image of what


appears to be a net full of snakes. Snakes
were considered to have powers of
immortality because the shedding of skin
was seen as a renewal of life. This theme is the access stone. This stone has a central
Enclosure A, the first circular structure to be
extremely ancient and comes to life most passage of 70 centimetres in width, and one
excavated, is referred to as the snake
powerfully in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the side of the U is topped with a depiction of a
column building because depictions of the
boar; the other side unfortunately is missing.
snake dominate the carvings on the T-pillars.
Again, the U shape and the boar underline
One is of a net containing snakes. Another
the craftsmens technical expertise in
pillar, however, depicts a triad of bull, fox
carving, which is shown even more so on
and crane, positioned one above the other.
pillar no. 27, featuring the earlier-mentioned
three-dimensional reptilian creature.
Enclosure B measures nine metres in
diameter when measured from east to west,
Enclosure D is referred to as the Stone Age
and 10 to 15 metres north to south. It is the
zoo. Pillar no. 43 has a very curious
only complex dug to floor level, revealing the
constellation of images that includes, on the
terrazzo floor surface. Two central pillars
left hand side, a vulture holding an orb or
have a large fox depicted on them. One
egg in an outstretched wing. Equally curious
central pillar, no. 9, is 3.4 m high; pillar no.
is the possibility that this particular image is
10 is 3.6 m high; their weight is 7.1 and 7.2
tonnes respectively. The complex was clearly
built to house these monolithic pillars,
Sumerian Deluge Epic in which a herb that
which prove how well-versed our ancestors
gives immortality and which was given to
were in working with large stones, not
the hero Gilgamesh by the Flood Survivor
merely in quarrying them but in shaping,
Utnapishtim is stolen and consumed by a
moving and decorating them. Archaeologists
serpent. The theme of the serpent lives on in
believe that about 200 T-pillars originally
this region today in the tales of the
stood at Gbekli Tepe.
Sahmaran a mystical creature living in
caverns far beneath the earth.
Enclosure C is referred to as the circle of
the boar, as it depicts various wild pigs. This
enclosure contains some of the finest reliefs
The Site Layout
discovered so far. There remain nine pillars
The various stele and carved stones
around the wall, but several were removed
described above are grouped together in a
at some point in the past. One pillar shows
number of enclosures that cover a relatively
a net of birds. As later cultures are known to
small area. The images on them, as can be
have caught migratory birds in nets, could
seen from the photographs are raised reliefs
this be a custom that was practised much
but some are actual freestanding sculptures.
earlier than assumed? Complex C is also of
The enclosures are grouped on the south
interest because a U-shaped stone has been
facing slope of the hill with their entrances
found there which is deemed to have been
facing south.
Pillar 43 from the stone age zoo.
of a man dressed as a vulture since, like the
crane images, the legs do not articulate
correctly for a bird. Lower down the pillar
there is a scorpion and the imagery is further
complicated by the image of a headless
ithyphallic man. While all the animal images
at Gbekli Tepe look to the enclosure centres
one image of a bird on this stone (possibly a
rock partridge or other prey bird) looks
outwards to the edge- it is the only one to
do this. Some pillars are indeed so profusely
decoratedmuch more intensively than in
the other complexesthat zoo is quite an
apt description. Once again, there are two
central pillars (numbers 18 and 31), though
other pillars reveal symbols, like one in the
shape of the letter H as well as one with an
H turned 90 degrees. The site has revealed
other symbols, specifically a cross, a resting
half-moon and horizontal barspossible
evidence that the origin of writing is likely to
be much older than is currently assumed.

Combined, these four complexesand


others, some under excavationare a series
of ovals and resemble the layout of the oval-
shaped Stone Age complexes found on
Malta. This is all the more remarkable as
Maltas oval shapes were considered unique.
A rock temple lower down on the slope is
equally oval in shape and has an opening to
the burial chamber. Whereas at other sites
these openings are so narrow that a human
could not navigate to the interior, here it is Ithyphallic man from Gbekli Tepe
wide enough to enter. Elsewhere on the site,
on the northern slope of the hill, there is a Gobekli Tepe Plan regarding the place of Gbekli Tepe in the
rectangular complex named the lion Excavations at Gbekli Tepe are an on-going cosmic scheme of things with all sorts of
column building. Its four pillars have process with many years of careful work and possible linkages being made with other
depictions of leonine creatures, which could study ahead. Only about a quarter of the ancient sites that have supposed mystic,
also be tigers or leopards. One flat stone has suspected 200 T-pillars have been even magical properties.
a 30-cm-high graffito of a squatting woman discovered so far, and not all the structures
who appears to be in a birthing position or have been unearthed. In short, further Some people in archaeo-astronomy think
possibly prepared for ritual coitus. This surprises are undoubtedly in store. The site that the site may have been linked with the
particular representation seems to be a later clearly demonstrates that things which we stars in a way similar to that which has been
addition to the Lion Pillars enclosure as a thought were much more recent are in fact tentatively suggested for the 7500 year old
bench plate and it is of a different style and far older, and all present in one site, located stone circle at Carahunge in Armenia. Dr
quality to the other images. This last image in a region which shows that a civilisation Schmidt says he wouldnt exclude this but
is, so far, unique at the site as all the images worthy of that name existed there in the has not found any evidence to date and it is
of humans and animals (where gender is 10th millennium BC, millennia before always possible that the site, like others, has
identifiable) are male. In addition, there anyone would have dared to imagine just a a duality of purpose. The site is clearly
were numerous statues displaying phalluses, few decades ago. orientated, but the enclosures are orientated
either as ithyphallic images or as free southwards and down the plain where the
standing phalluses on their own around the In an ancient and important site such as this people might have come from and not in
site and on one important pillar. much speculation has been produced relation to the night sky or any apparent
astronomical feature; looking at the
topography of the area an orientation based
on an approach or ceremonial path is most
likely. This would seem reasonable and
certainly consistent with other ancient
monuments around the world such as the
orientation of Stonehenge in England with a
sister Henge along a ceremonial pathway.
The same may be said about the monuments
at Nazca in Peru. Even within the Christian
tradition we have an understanding of the
ceremonial pathway- the maze at the centre
of Chartres Cathedral in France represents
one such pathway, a journey to Jerusalem-
and mythology around the idea of a
labyrinth is very ancient. The urge to
process as a part of ritual is as old as
humanity itself it would seem.
Each year since excavations began new
stones and reliefs are uncovered which help evidence shows that the people were hunter World and 7000 years ago in Asia. We know
us to both understand the meaning of the gatherers or at least pastoral and nomadic. from genetic studies that the very first
site and its people as well as posing even These people were inventing new cycle of cultivated grasses or grains come from this
more questions. And as there are still many life and new farming societies; previously locality and looking around you today you
questions to answer, the archaeological they would hunt, gather their kills and move will see the huge importance that
teams and their local excavators will be here from area to area. This was the slow start of agriculture and specifically wheat
for at least another 20 years. As already a structured farming community. The production, spurred on by the massive South
mentioned, we know that the site was hypothesis is that Gbekli Tepe was a East Anatolian (GAP) irrigation project, still
intentionally buried because of the nature of cultural and religious focal point for these has to the people of this land. Gbekli Tepe
the in-fill material and this is a fact which people and a new and evolving way of life. is where it all began; in a sense, history has
has clearly contributed to the excellent state This was the first time and the first region in come full circle.
of preservation of the standing stones, their the world to make this giant leap, and we
images and carvings. Importantly, the act of know this from evidence from sites around Certainly looking at the architecture of the
burial of this important site was no mean the globe. It took a long time for other enclosures at Gbekli Tepe they are
feat and would have taken a considerable regions around the world to independently reminiscent of the dwellings of the people of
amount of work and organisation. move from being hunter gatherers to being the region at this time and even of the
Where did these people get their technology farming communities in what was a very dwellings and holy places of other peoples
from? There are a number of settlements gradual process, 6000 years ago in the New far removed in time and place. Our ancient
being excavated in the region now and history has certainly become much more
interesting and complex. The cultures that
subsequently followed Gbekli Tepe had
domesticated pigs, sheep, cattle and goats
and cultivated wheat species. Other
domesticated cereals such as rye and oats
also originated here. But another site,
Karahan Tepe, 63 kilometres east of Urfa in
the Tektek Mountains, deserves attention.
Discovered in 1997, it has been dated to
about 95009000 BC, which puts it firmly in
the same time frame as Gbekli Tepe. It also
has a number of T-pillars as well as high
reliefs of a winding snake and other carvings
similar to those at Gbekli Tepe. Covering an
area of 325,000 m2, Karahan Tepe is much
bigger than Gbekli Tepe. The stone pillars whereby the times spent at gatherings discovered in Jericho. After a period of time
are spaced 1.5 to 2.0 metres apart and became longer and longer until eventually bodies were exhumed, skulls removed and
protrude above ground level, waiting for there was some community remaining at a then, with faces reconstructed from plaster,
archaeologists to expose them fully. Other meeting or sacred place almost seem to have been kept as ritual objects.
carvings include a torso of a naked man and continuously. At Neolithic sites across the What is interesting is that at Jericho, with
polished rock with stylised goats, gazelles near and middle east this seems to be the one single exception of five skeletons, the
and rabbits. The T shaped pillars were also pattern and the ritualistic nature of the bodies of infants and children remained
discovered but in conjunction with domestic gatherings continued in proximity to or even undisturbed. The practice of removing the
arrangements at Neval ori just a few within the domestic spaces of the new skull as a ritual object would seem to
kilometres away from Gobekli Tepe at a communities. Gbekli Tepe is unique, so far, indicate that unless a person survived to a
location which is now submerged by the in that there is no associated domestic certain age, life in the community both
lake which formed behind the Ataturk Dam. environment nearby. before and after death was not assured. This
It is the close interaction of the domestic practice, following on from the practice of
with the ritual at Nevali Cori that makes the It is simply too early to draw any conclusions abandoning old dwellings as burial sites, is
total absence of domestic structure or from these sites, except from the fact that repeated across the region at the time and
evidence of domestic activity so marked at our history has been pushed considerably would have obvious implications for some
Gbekli Tepe. Indeed, in other later Neolithic further back. For example, in the case of phases of Gobekli Tepes life.
sites such as atalhyk near Konya, the Jericho, which produced great excitement
close interaction between the sacred and the because of its Biblical connections Since the 1950s new discoveries, coupled
domestic is a marked factor of the newly archaeology produced a mixed, and in some with modern techniques and advancing
emerging urban and village life of close knit instances, a disappointing picture. science and technology have contributed to
settled communities. The process that led to Excavations at Jericho, early enthusiasm our knowledge of the period between
communal settled life was a long drawn out notwithstanding, did not produce mighty 10,0004000 BC. This relates specifically to
one and was probably initially driven by walls that had been destroyed by the the level of civilisation our ancestors had
improvements in climate that made the trumpet blasts of Joshua. What it did achieved during this time frame and without
business of gathering food and hunting produce was a complex picture of its early question, across south eastern Turkey even
easier. Nomadic peoples have always met at inhabitants living a life in the PPN A period older towns and holy places are waiting to
certain times in specific places to exchange that featured bizarre and disturbing funereal be uncovered. However, it is equally clear
information, celebrate life and death, practices where people lived with and that entering into the mind-set of these
perform religious rituals and arrange amongst their dead; burials were associated hunter-gatherers and how they saw the
marriages and partnerships. As conditions with buildings and they were to be found animals they depicted on stone and what
improved and food was easier to gather, below floors, under houses, between walls they believed happened to the dead is a
hunt or produce one can envisage a process and within the large central tower difficult subject and for which there are no
definite answers. Gbekli Tepe will certainly
produce many more surprises in the years to
come but already, other sites both in Turkey
and beyond are competing for Gbekli
Tepes fame. Although few can be quite as
enigmatic its likely they will all reveal that
they are part of our history and relevant to
our understanding of our origin, but not as
we know it.
Hill of the Navel

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