Göbeklitepe, a unique prehistoric site (called belly hill because of a depression which looks like a belly button) is one of the most significant archaeological discovery of the 21st century. Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist who rediscovered it in south-eastern Turkey in 1994, believed that it is the site of World’s oldest temple. The megaliths, T-shaped pillars found at Göbeklitepe predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years and were built before agriculture.
Till its discovery we used to think that agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now, it is accepted as an early evidence to claim that hunter gatherers built it to worship before they made pottery and even before the rise of agriculture.
However, Göbeklitepe people were true artists of their time. They knew how to represent their tékhnē, art work. They adorned their T -shaped pillars with the reliefs of totem animals, such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, leopards, vultures, eagles and wild boar. Today, when one visits the site and starts looking at them can be easily caught up with a quick evolutionary journey of humankind. She or he admires the creativeness of such a stunning primitive impulse . Yet, it is still hidden in the land of Mesopotamia which became the cradle of civilizations. Thanks to Archaeology: The more we travel into the future, the more we learn about the past.
If you want to learn more about Göbeklitepe, World’s oldest temple so far, you can watch the documentary on it below and meet Klaus Schmidt who passed away in 2014.
May he rest in peace.