Archaeologists at the Kahin Tepe site in Turkey have discovered an ancient temple dating back to the Stone Age, between 7, and 12, years ago. This could have especially important implications for understanding the prehistory of Anatolia. The work has been carried out by archaeologists and students as part of a rescue project before the planned construction of a dam. Kahin Tepe is an Aceramic Neolithic settlement, which means that it existed before the invention of pottery. In a short space of time the Kahin Tepe site has revealed several exciting discoveries.
It was therefore suggested that this could have been some kind of sculpture workshop. They are near the quarries of classical times, making their dating difficult.
Apart from the tell, there is an incised platform with two sockets that could have held pillars, and a surrounding flat bench.
One of these pits has a table-high pin as well as a staircase with five steps. At the western escarpmenta small cave has been discovered in which a small relief depicting a bovid was found. It is the only relief found in this cave.
At this early stage of the site's history, circular compounds or temene first appear. They range from 10 to 30 metres in diameter. Their most notable feature is the presence of T-shaped limestone pillars evenly set within thick interior walls composed of unworked stone.
Four such circular structures have been unearthed so far. Geophysical surveys indicate that there are 16 more, enclosing up to eight pillars each, amounting to nearly pillars in all. Two taller pillars stand facing one another at the centre of each circle. Whether the circles were provided with a roof is uncertain. Stone benches designed for sitting are found in the interior. The pictograms may represent commonly understood sacred symbols, as known from Neolithic cave paintings elsewhere.
The reliefs depict mammals such as lions, bulls, boars, foxes, gazelles, and donkeys; snakes and other reptiles; arthropods such as insects and arachnids; and birds, particularly vultures. At the time the edifice was constructed, the surrounding country was likely to have been forested and capable of sustaining this variety of wildlife, before millennia of human settlement and cultivation led to the near- Dust Bowl conditions prevalent today. Some of the T-shaped pillars have human arms carved on their lower half, however, suggesting to site excavator Schmidt that they are intended to represent the bodies of stylized humans or perhaps deities.
Loincloths appear on the lower half of a few pillars. The horizontal stone slab on top is thought by Schmidt to symbolize shoulders, which suggests that the figures were left headless. Some of the floors in this, the oldest, layer are made of terrazzo burnt lime ; others are bedrock from which pedestals to hold the large pair of central pillars were carved in high relief.
Carbon dating suggests that for reasons unknown the enclosures were backfilled during the Stone Age. Creation of the circular enclosures in layer III later gave way to the construction of small rectangular rooms in layer II.
Rectangular buildings make a more efficient use of space compared with circular structures. They often are associated with the emergence of the Neolithic,  but the T-shaped pillars, the main feature of the older enclosures, also are present here, indicating that the buildings of Layer II continued to serve the same function in the culture, presumably as sanctuaries.
The several adjoining rectangular, doorless and windowless rooms have floors of polished lime reminiscent of Roman terrazzo floors. Carbon dating has yielded dates between and BCE. A pair decorated with fierce-looking lions is the rationale for the name "lion pillar building" by which their enclosure is known. It is 1. The pole features three figures, the uppermost depicting a predator, probably a bear, and below it a human-like shape. Because the statue is damaged, the interpretation is not entirely clear.
Also, an older layer at Gobekli features some related sculptures portraying animals on human heads.
Layer I is the uppermost part of the hill. It is the shallowest, but accounts for the longest stretch of time. It consists of loose sediments caused by erosion and the virtually-uninterrupted use of the hill for agricultural purposes since it ceased to operate as a ceremonial center.
The site was deliberately backfilled sometime after BCE: the buildings were buried under debris, mostly flint gravelstone tools, and animal bones.
The inhabitants are presumed to have been hunters and gatherers who nevertheless lived in villages for at least part of the year. Through the radiocarbon method, the end of Layer III can be fixed at about BCE see abovebut it is hypothesized by some archaeologists [ by whom?
The surviving structures, then, not only predate potterymetallurgyand the invention of writing or the wheel, but were built before the Neolithic Revolutionthat marks the beginning of agriculture and animal husbandryaround BCE. The advent of agriculture and animal husbandry brought new realities to human life in the area, and the "Stone-age zoo" Schmidt's phrase applied particularly to Layer III, Enclosure D apparently lost whatever significance it had had for the region's older, foraging communities.
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However, the complex was not simply abandoned and forgotten to be gradually destroyed by the elements. Many animal and even human bones have been identified in the fill. Radiocarbon dating as well as comparative, stylistical analysis indicate that it is the oldest known temple yet discovered anywhere. Butchered bones found in large numbers from local game such as deer, gazelle, pigs, and geese have been identified as refuse from food hunted and cooked or otherwise prepared for the congregants.
Though no tombs or graves have yet been found, Schmidt believed that graves remain to be discovered in niches located behind the walls of the sacred circles. Schmidt also interpreted the site in connection with the initial stages of the Neolithic. With its mountains catching the rain and a calcareousporous bedrock creating many springs, creeks, and rivers,  the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris was a refuge during the dry and cold Younger Dryas climatic event 10,-9, BCE.
He presumed shamanic practices and suggested that the T-shaped pillars represent human forms, perhaps ancestors, whereas he saw a fully articulated belief in deities as not developing until later, in Mesopotamiathat was associated with extensive temples and palaces.
This corresponds well with an ancient Sumerian belief that agricultureanimal husbandryand weaving were brought to humans from the sacred mountain Ekurwhich was inhabited by Annuna deities, very ancient deities without individual names.
Schmidt identified this story as a primeval oriental myth that preserves a partial memory of the emerging Neolithic. In addition to its large dimensions, the side-by-side existence of multiple pillar shrines makes the location unique. There are no comparable monumental complexes from its time. Since its discovery, however, surface surveys have shown that several hills in the greater area also have 'T'-shaped stone pillars e.
2 days ago Archaeologists at the Kahin Tepe site in Turkey have discovered an ancient temple dating back to the Stone Age, between 7, and 12, years ago. This could have especially important implications for understanding the prehistory of Anatolia. Moreover, it appears that there may be links between Kahin Tepe and the famed Gobekli Tepe, which has changed our understanding of the . Gobekli Tepe once excavated to its original self is not "a mound or pot belly" shape. To achieve that, one must deliberately fill in the site to form the belly of a pregnant woman, or woman with child. It may be a fertility site. If so, it would make sense the distance to the . Sep 19, The paper analyzes the evidence regarding the dating of the Gobekli Tepe complex. First, it examines the C14 dating information supplied by the archeologist in charge of the Gobekli Tepe.
Its 'T'-shaped pillars are considerably smaller, and its rectangular ceremonial structure was located inside a village. It remains unknown how a population large enough to construct, augment, and maintain such a substantial complex was mobilized and compensated or fed in the conditions of pre-sedentary society.
Scholars have been unable to interpret the pictograms, and do not know what meaning the animal reliefs had for visitors to the site.
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The variety of fauna depicted - from lions and boars to birds and insects - makes any single explanation problematic. As there is little or no evidence of habitation, and many of the animals pictured are predators, the stones may have been intended to stave off evils through some form of magic representation. Alternatively, they could have served as totems.
The assumption that the site was strictly cultic in purpose and not inhabited has been challenged as well by the suggestion that the structures served as large communal houses, "similar in some ways to the large plank houses of the Northwest Coast of North America with their impressive house posts and totem poles.
Human burials may have occurred at the site. The reason the complex was carefully backfilled remains unexplained. Based on current evidence, it is difficult to deduce anything certain about the originating culture or the site's significance. Future plans include construction of a museum and converting the environs into an archaeological parkin the hope that this will help preserve the site in the state in which it was discovered.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism responded that no concrete was used and that no damage had occurred. The pattern is an equilateral triangle that connects enclosures A, B, and D.
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The authors suggest that enclosures A, B, and D are all one complex, and within this complex there is a "hierarchy" with enclosure D at the top. Third, the idea that each enclosure was built and functioned individually seems less likely - at least in planning and their early stages - given their findings. But they maintain that their suggestions that enclosures A, B, and D being a single complex makes it unlikely that each enclosure was built separately.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Gobeklitepe near Sanl?urfa Southeast Turkey. Oldest Temple in the World
Animal sculpture c. Pillar 27 from Enclosure C Layer III with the sculpture of a predatory animal in high relief catching a prey in low relief. The rest of the staggering arrangement of stone circles were found with ground penetrating radar.
The T-shaped standing stones were placed in the center of each stone enclosure. The largest of the stones are up to 17 feet high. Half-a-mile across a limestone plateau from the main mound is a 22ft-long T-shaped monolith. It was never finished or moved to the main temple site. Beyond the sheer scale, the site is geographically aligned to the north-south poles. Other researchers are revealing possible astronomical alignments and purposes. One including, as an observatory for Sirius. There are both high relief and low relief carvings found throughout the site.
The precision and skill associated with these carvings are nothing short of remarkable. A high relief carving means that the stone is cut on the outside of the larger piece.
It is a complicated and advanced technique in stone masonry even by modern standards. Precision high relief stone masonry of Gobekli Tepe. The many animals depicted include foxes, birds, lions, scorpions, snakes, and boars. There is a scorpion the size of a small suitcase, and a jackal-like creature with an exposed rib cage. The exact meanings of the carvings appear to be unknown. Another relief consists of the simple contour of a fox also with a distinct penis.
Perhaps the most debated composition portrays a vulture carrying a round object on one wing; below its feet, a headless male torso displays yet another erect penis.
The materials used to fill the site were unusually uniform and dated to the same period. If this occurred naturally, there would be a spread of dates found in the material of the soil. The entire complex is also built on a hilltop, which usually means that soil should erode and not be deposited.
This site was active for about to years until the entire complex was buried around 10 years ago. During their centuries of use, the circles and pillars were built and filled with debris.
New pillars were started on top of or alongside the old ones.
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The circles thus stand at different depths and layers in the hill. Today, they have been connected by various wooden scaffolds, ladders, and walkways. After one stone circle complex was completed, it was covered up, and a new one built. This mysterious feature of the site is entirely without explanation. What makes it all the more difficult the grasp is that the stages appear to get worse and worse.
The earliest enclosures are the largest and most sophisticated. Not only artistically but also technically. These progressively drop as the site gets younger and younger. It earliest inhabitants were the Hattians, who were earth-based goddess worshipers, with roots in the stone-age, who flourished from around BC to BC. The jigsaw, irregularly shaped blocks, with some weighing in at more than twenty tons apiece are a unique style that were once thought to only exist in that part of South America, but on my travels I have seen them all up the west coast of Italy, on Easter Island, and in Egypt, plus they have been photographed in Delphi, Greece, Albania, Saudi Arabia, and Japan.
Although separated by many millennia and vast distances, this style is possibly the most difficult style to accomplish, as each block needs to be carved extremely accurately so they fit together and stay together over the years, even through earthquakes. This begs the question, was there a global megalithic stonemason elite in prehistory? Did they diffuse this influence around the world and construct specific sites?
And with so many similarities to sites in Peru and Bolivia, there was only one thing to do.
It was the perfect team to try and get some answers to this prehistoric mystery, and look out for any clues that these ancient cultures might be connected.
On the flight to Lima, I looked carefully through my film footage and photographs from Costa Rica, where I had visited the previous December I went there mainly to investigate the enigmatic stone spheres, but while I was in the San Jose Museum, I was struck by some other intricate stone items on display. There are some beautifully engineered animal reliefs on some 8ft - 9ft rectangular stone slabs. Around the edges of some of them, there were remarkable carvings, that jump out at you in 3D.
My attention was also drawn to a strange ghostly statue at one end of the museum.
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It had gormless eyes, broad shoulders and hands reaching towards the navel. There, a famous discovery stands on display. A similar base exists on the Costa Rica statue, and although there is a mouth, the arms and hands point towards his navel - a feature that also exists in Sulawesi in Indonesia, and on the Moai on Easter Island.
Cuzco is a megalithic city. Even on the streets of busy Cuzco, you can spot relief carvings, mostly of serpents. On high bluffs, always with a steep climb up to them, these towers are a mystery, made with startling engineering precision, obviously meant to last for several generations.
The most famous example is Sillustani, a site I have visited many times. The mystery here is that it is an almost perfect match of one of the platforms on Easter Island, some 2, miles away across the Pacific ocean.
One tower that is partly intact shows a beautiful, but very weathered lizard that can only be seen at certain times of day when the sun reaches round to its location on the tower. There are several other examples dumped outside the site museum, next to an old Volkswagen Beetle and a camper van!
Dec 01, Radiocarbon dating of Layer II using humic acid from soil samples gives that Layer II dates back to ±60 BCE. Layer I. Layer I is the surface layer. It is mainly comprised of erosional sediments. Filling Event. An interesting characteristic of Gobekli Tepe is that the enclosures seem to have been intentionally backfilled. Nov 01, Indeed, Gobekli Tepe sits at the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent-an arc of mild climate and arable land from the Persian Gulf to present . Jun 22, Dating sites and finds is the backbone of archaeology. Regarding Gobekli Tepe, we get lots and lots of questions about its chronology. These questions are absolutely legitimate (as actually really most of them are), and even more so with a site that claims to be the 'first' or 'oldest' (yet known) in many respects, the accuracy of dating becomes paramount.
Someone, some time ago, obviously spotted their archaeological significance and placed them outside to one day be exhibited in the museum, but they never made it inside, and are now suffering with severe weathering. However, they are still there and give a glimpse into the mindset of the megalith builders of this area. Perhaps as the sun revolved around the circular towers, the reliefs get exposed only at certain times of day. Could this have been a useful clock, or had some other shamanic meaning?
Cutimbo is another chulpa site further around the lake, about 25 km from Puno, the nearest major town. Near the entrance to Cutimbo amongst piles of broken stone, a unique relief of a cheeky critter sits upon a lump of rock, that was once part of one of the towers. I flicked through looking for further clues and the megalith statues look remarkably like ones I have seen In Guatemala and in Colombia.
The quest was on. However, the last picture blew my mind, as the feline or critter of Cutimbo, had a close relation in Indonesia, this time it was on a gargantuan stone pot, with a beautifully carved lid, where the relief carvings can be seen. But it had an unusual face. The face that also features on the great megalithic statues of this part of the Bada Valley, as though it was designed to show the shamanic connection between the humans and animals.
The earliest dating of the area points to a time around 6, years ago. The statues all have their hands on their waist pointing towards their navels and their faces and style are a close match those of San Augustin in Colombia, with some similarities to Easter Island.
At San Augustin there is a statue that simply looks like a mini Moai, with the topknot or hat, the white eyes and a unique stance, but this one has fangs. These sites are separated by some miles across the Pacific. However, farming methods were in full swing at around 9, BC, with the domestication of figs near Jericho 3.
In the highlands of Peru, the same skills were being practiced, at the same time. Anthropological archaeologist Tom Dillehay from the Vanderbilt University revealed that the squash seeds he found in ancient storage bins on the lower western slopes of the Andes are almost 10, years old.
He also discovered evidence of cotton and peanut farming and what seem to be garden hoes, with irrigation canals nearby ibid.
Meanwhile, at Stonehenge in England, giant wooden posts were being placed in the ground 10, years ago. However, attempting to prove what was going on at this period is beyond the scope of this article. The relief carvings found in Peru, Turkey, Indonesia, Costa Rica and Easter Island, all raise some interesting points, and certainly indicate that some re-dating may need to be carried out at these sites to get some clarity on the origins of this ancient elite.
Jun 04, Gobekli Tepe's presence currently predates what science has taught would be essential in building something on the scale such as those structures. For instance, the site appears before the agreed upon dates for the inventions of art and engravings; it even predates man working with metals and pottery but features evidence of all of these. Mar 13, Such is the case of Gobekli Tepe which puts human history as we know it into question. First uncovered in by a local shepherd in Turkey, Gobekli Tepe contains megaliths weighing 7 to 10tons and stands 18 feet high. Carbon dating firmly establishes its age at 12, years old - 7, years older than Stonehenge. It is now understood that Gobekli Tepe was built in various stages. After one stone circle complex was completed, it was covered up, and a new one built. This mysterious feature of the site is entirely without explanation. Radiocarbon dating of Gobekli Tepe has revealed the different ages of the stages and layers. Enclosure C - BC.
Who these people were is difficult to ascertain, but some controversial clues have been emerging from the ground for several centuries.