At 12,000 years old Göbekli Tepe predates Stonehenge by at least 6000 years. That’s a long time. That’s as long ago as Stonehenge was built compared to where we are now. So, if people from the era of Stonehenge found Göbekli Tepe, it looked to them like Stonehenge does to us today. That’s old. The site sits over 8 hectares on an artificial mound in what is now Southern Turkey and draws in researchers from around the world.
The structures qualify as architecture by any definition:
Architecture: the art or science of building
specifically : the art or practice of designing and building structures and especially habitable onesMerriam Webster Dictionary
The buildings our ancient ancestors erected were stylized, functional and habitable. That counts as architecture on all fronts. The current thinking around Göbekli Tepe’s function is that it served as a temple (or group of temples) and meeting area. Goods were likely exchanged and gatherings certainly occurred here for religious purposes. This is all occurring at a time when farming and agriculture is not supposed to exist. Which is the first of many mysteries surrounding Göbekli Tepe.
These buildings were erected during what is considered the “Pre-Pottery Neolithic” era, but that term (and what it indicates) was invented prior to discovering Göbekli Tepe. Clearly, we see a civilization far ahead of where scientific theory thought early man was prior to understanding the significance of Göbekli Tepe in 1994. The layout of the various buildings show an understanding of geometric shapes and the layout of three main structures follow an equilateral triangle.
The art at Göbekli Tepe depicts a variety of animals and events carved in reliefs on massive stone pillars up to 5 meters high. The art shows a style and aesthetic far more advanced than would have been expected in this period (This is supposed to be Pre-Pottery Neolithic era). Of particular interest among the carvings is “The Vulture Stone.”
The Vulture Stone includes a depiction of a vulture holding an orb, egg or sphere. The significance of the sphere is debated. Some scholars say it points to the existence of a Vulture cult and the structure is a temple to this cult. Yet, further down the rock we see a relief of a scorpion and headless man. The headless man is thought to represent a catastrophe and a team of scientists from the UK think they may understand this special rock.
The Edinbugh team ran computer simulations and found the carvings on the Vulture Stone likely represented constellations. In fact, Göbekli Tepe may not have been a temple. It was likely an ancient observatory. This observatory appears to have predicted and recorded a mini ice age known as “The Younger Dryas” which occurred around 12,900 to 11,700 B.C.E..
The Younger Dryas was an incredibly important event in the history of humanity. It is believed the colder climate forced humanity to switch from nomadic hunter and gatherers to a more sedentary agriculture-based civilization. The rise in agriculture and large societies is what allowed us to create cities and share knowledge. Resulting in the evolution of our technology and science.
Yet, here in Göbekli Tepe we find a civilization which existed prior to (or on the edge of) the Younger Dryas which undoubtedly was able to process wheat. The existence of agriculture during the building and occupation of Göbekli Tepe is still debated.
We at Fortean Winds would guess that a structure of that size was not erected without some form of agriculture to feed its people. We’d go so far as to guess…they grew the #$%@ wheat.
Scientific theory can be slow to change…
Göbekli Tepe was occupied for roughly a thousand years before, for completely unknown reasons, the occupants filled it in and left. Leaving us with yet one more history mystery to uncover, and it is still literally being uncovered. If you were taught history prior to the mid-1990s you never heard of the place, and everything your history teacher was telling you about pre-pottery man…was about to change.
The history books still haven’t caught up, and they can’t. This place changes everything we knew about ancient man. So, if you’re someone who is fascinated with our ancient past. Or, if you just love the fact science is always changing…keep an eye on the discoveries being made at Göbekli Tepe. We’ve given you some good links here to start researching, but the significance of this place is still being uncovered, and there are mysteries here YOU can help uncover. Here’s a good one to start.
In 2003, Researcher Klaus Schmidt found the mound is positioned in a location filled with geomagnetic anomalies.
In 2003 a geomagnetic survey could demonstrate thatKlaus Schmidt (NEO-LITHICS 2/03)
the prediction based on the archaeological surface investigations at Göbekli Tepe, that round or oval enclosures
exist all over the site and are not restricted to a specific
part of the mound, was right. More than ten large enclosures could be located in the geomagnetic map
The connection between the Vulture Rock and the constellations was made in 2019. Our past is constantly changing and with it comes a new understanding of our present. Göbekli Tepe is a reminder to all of we still have much to learn and must continue to learn. To us at Fortean Winds, that is just plain EXCITING.