Gobekli Tepe Mystery

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Planning to visit Turkey after these lockdowns due to the novel corona virus? Well, consider visiting Anatolia in Turkey where an 11,500 year old Neolithic architectural structure continues to baffle archaeologists until now.

What’s so interesting about the Gobekli Tepe complex in the southeastern part of Anatolia is that it looks like it was based on geometry, which Neolithic researchers say it can’t be because humans at that time were still hunters and gatherers.

Gobekli Tepe complex precedes Stonehenge by several thousands of years. Before the discovery of Gobekli Tepe, Stonehenge was considered by many to the oldest known human temple in the world.

Now, researchers are convinced that Gobekli Tepe is, indeed the earliest known temple in human history and one of the most important discoveries of Neolithic research.

Using the latest tools in architectural analysis, researchers at the Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority says that a sophisticated knowledge of geometry was applied to the construction of the Gobekli Tepe’s impressive round stone structures and enormous assembly of limestone pillars.

Initial studies show that three of the complex’s round structures, the largest of which are 20 meters in diameter,  were initially planned to be just a single structure. Over time, says researchers Gil Haklay of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a PhD candidate at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Avi Gopher of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations the plan became a huge monumental undertaking.

Their findings were published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal in May.

Professor Gopher says Gobekli Tepe is an archeological wonder.  “Built by Neolithic communities 11,500 to 11,000 years ago, it features enormous, round stone structures and monumental stone pillars up to 5.5 meters high. Since there is no evidence of farming or animal domestication at the time, the site is believed to have been built by hunter-gatherers. However, its architectural complexity is highly unusual for them.”

In a press release published by Eurekalert (seelink), Gobekli Tepe was discovered by a German archaeologist Dr. Klaus Schmidt in 1994. Haklay and Prof. Gopher says three of the structures are of complex construction.

from Eureka: see link

“The layout of the complex is characterized by spatial and symbolic hierarchies that reflect changes in the spiritual world and in the social structure,” Haklay explains. “In our research, we used an analytic tool — an algorithm based on standard deviation mapping — to identify an underlying geometric pattern that regulated the design.”

“This research introduces important information regarding the early development of architectural planning in the Levant and in the world,” Prof. Gopher adds. “It opens the door to new interpretations of this site in general, and of the nature of its megalithic anthropomorphic pillars specifically.”

Certain planning capabilities and practices, such as the use of geometry and the formulation of floor plans, were traditionally assumed to have emerged much later than the period during which the Göbekli Tepe was constructed — after hunter-gatherers transformed into food-producing farmers some 10,500 years ago. Notably, one of the characteristics of early farmers is their use of rectangular architecture.

“This case of early architectural planning may serve as an example of the dynamics of cultural changes during the early parts of the Neolithic period,” Haklay says. “Our findings suggest that major architectural transformations during this period, such as the transition to rectangular architecture, were knowledge-based, top-down processes carried out by specialists.

“The most important and basic methods of architectural planning were devised in the Levant in the Late Epipaleolithic period as part of the Natufian culture and through the early Neolithic period. Our new research indicates that the methods of architectural planning, abstract design rules and organizational patterns were already being used during this formative period in human history.”

Next, the researchers intend to investigate the architectural remains of other Neolithic sites throughout the Levant.

 

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