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What is Göbekli Tepe?

What is Göbekli Tepe?

Located in the high desert of Turkey near the Syrian border, you will find the ancient site of Göbekli Tepe.

In 1964 it was noted in an American survey that the hills at Göbekli Tepe's location could not solely be a natural feature of the area, but it was assumed that it must be a Byzantine cemetery that was buried in the hillside. It wasn't until 30 years later that locals became aware of stone rectangles surfacing from the sands. Thinking this must be important, they contacted the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul. It was soon after, in late 1994, that archaeologist Klaus Schmidt was sent to lead the excavation of the site now known as Göbekli Tepe.

(A glimpse of the megalithic stone circles of Göbekli Tepe -

Created thousands of years before Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, Göbekli Tepe is believed to have been erected approximately 11,500 years ago in the 10th millennium BC. Only a small percentage of the site has been excavated so far, which has unveiled stone circle rooms. So far, only one of these "rooms" has been cleared out right to its floor. As many as 20 stone circle structures are thought to exist under the site. The stone circles have large T-shaped pillars. Some of the heaviest stones weigh up to 50 tons! The theory is that Göbekli Tepe was constructed by a hunter-gatherers society. Remarkably, the period of time when the megalithic stone circles of Göbekli Tepe were erected is far earlier than evidence for the first agriculture in the region. This time period also predates things like the knowledge of pottery or even metal tools!

Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known temple in history and is now providing scientists with important new information about our evolution. Because it is believed to be the oldest human-made place of worship, Göbekli Tepe has even been given the nickname: Garden of Eden.

The concept that Göbekli Tepe and its surrounding region could be the historical reality behind the biblical Garden of Eden may not be as ludicrous as it seems. At the time Göbekli Tepe was constructed, the surrounding countryside was very lush and not the dusty terrain that exists there today. It wasn't long after the last ice age and the environment there was exceptionally fruitful. There were massive herds of wild animals everywhere, and there was access to all kinds of different plants and foods.

The Göbekli Tepe site was deliberately buried for some reason sometime after 8000 BC.

Today, Göbekli Tepe continues to undergo excavation by German and Turkish archaeologists, and it will continue for many years to come.

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