Gobekli Tepe- World’s Oldest Megalith & Possibly World’s First Temple
Gobekli Tepe- World’s Oldest Megalith & Possibly World’s First Temple: Gobekli Tepe is considered a site of great importance to archaeologists as it belongs to the early Neolithic period when humans were still hunters and gatherers. It is located to the north of the Fertile Crescent, a roughly crescent-shaped region in present-day Egypt and in west Asian countries where agriculture and early human civilizations flourished. Made with massive stones, the structure is a marvel and a puzzle to archaeologists who wonder how a society that predates pottery, metallurgy, writing, or the invention of the wheel could build it. According to current observations, Gobekli Tepe, which is 6,000 years older than Stonehenge, could be the world’s first temple and has the oldest known megaliths.
Gobekli Tepe is an archaeological site located in the southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey that was first discovered in 1963 during a survey by Istanbul University and the University of Chicago. The excavation work started in 1996 by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt.
Gobekli Tepe, or “Potbelly Hill” in Turkish, is a tell or an artificial mound that is 15 meters high and about 300 meters in diameter. When it was first discovered, American archaeologist Peter Benedict identified the stone tools collected from the surface as Aceramic Neolithic. However, he believed that the stone slabs were gravestones and that the prehistoric site was just overlaid by a Byzantine cemetery. Klaus Schmidt, who was previously working at Nevalı Çori, re-examined the 1963 records of the site in 1994, and he and his team began excavation works in collaboration with Şanlıurfa Museum until his death in 2014.
The site dates back to 10th-8th millennium BCE and is believed to have been used for ritual purposes. It consists of 200 massive, T-shaped stone pillars up to six meters high erected in 20 circles making them the world’s oldest known megaliths.
The tell is believed to have seen used during two phases: Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). The larger stones, each weighing up to 20 tons, were believed to have been erected during the first phase and were fitted into sockets that were hewn in the bedrock. Archaeologists estimate that the pillars would need up to 500 individuals to extract them from the quarries and move the 100 to 500 meters to the site.
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