Summarizing the importance of the archaeological site at Gobekli Tepe (Turkish, “Hill with a Belly”) is a formidable task
In 1994, German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt and his team unearthed a handful of findings that continue to revolutionize the way archeologists think about Stone Age man.
The site dates back 11,500 years, to the tail end of the Stone Age. The predominant understanding was that during this time, hunter-gatherers roamed the Earth, never settling, living as each day came.
The huge Gobekli Tepe complex, however, brings this view into question.
It consists of large, T-shaped pillars with animal carvings, huge stone rings, and a vast amount of rectangular rooms, many believed to have religious importance.
One theory is that this site was not used for domestic purposes, but for rituals and sacrifices.
The site at Gobekli Tepe is believed by some to be the oldest religious complex known to modern man. Equally curious is the fact that before this discovery, there was no evidence of hunter-gatherers ever erecting large monuments and buildings, making this some of the world’s oldest known architecture.
It’s theorized that Gobleki Tepe could be showing us a transition period, depicting nomadic cultures’ first attempt to farm (which would later bring about permanent settlement). The one acre excavation site has raised more questions than it has answered, and astoundingly enough, the site is believed to extend some 22 additional acres.
Around 8,000 B.C., the site was filled with soil and mysteriously abandoned.