The Göbekli Tepe Night Thread (11/17/21)

Göbekli Tepe is an archaeological site near Urfa, Turkey, that is about 11,000 years old (predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years) and consists of massive carved stones (some as tall as 16 feet and covered in carved animal figures) arranged in rings as wide as 65 feet across. Its (modern) discoverer, Klaus Schmidt, is convinced that Göbekli Tepe is the first human temple.

For context, 11,000 years ago, cave lions and sabre-tooth cats still existed, giant short-faced bears and giant ground sloths had just gone extinct, and cattle had not yet been domesticated.

What are they doing down there?

Schmidt was not the first modern archaeologist to stumble across Göbekli Tepe, but where previous explorers dismissed it as the remains of a medieval cemetery, Schmidt is convinced it is “a gigantic Stone Age site.” Essentially, prehistoric humans shaped pillars from local limestone, set them upright, and covered them with dirt, followed by other rings layered in over centuries to create a roughly 50-foot hilltop.

And here I can’t work up the energy to vacuum my house.

Schmidt believes that Göbekli Tepe is a religious site built for the purpose of worship roughly 500-1000 years before significant developments in agriculture and community building — indicating that, rather than humans first attending to the mundane and then considering the spiritual, great construction projects like Göbekli Tepe actually brought people together and “laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies.”

So, what was so important to these people that they were compelled to undertake such an immense project before they’d even figured out farming, and 6,000 years before writing was invented? Schmidt believes it was created as a spot to honor hunters, perhaps even bury them in a paradise of sorts. Given that, as of 2021, less than 5% of Göbekli Tepe has been excavated, it may be a while, if ever, before the truth is uncovered.

Have a great Night Thread, Avocados!