“Gobekli Tepe is 7,000 years older than Sumeria, which existed 5,000 years ago. This more than doubles what is currently accepted as the wall beyond which no ancient civilization is thought to have existed by mainstream archeology. Gobekli Tepe is older to the Sumerians than Sumeria is to us.”
Over three segments, investigative reporter Linda Moulton Howe discussed the mysterious Gobekli Tepe site in Turkey, where she recently conducted field research along with Prof. of Geology, Robert M. Schoch.
The excavated site, which has been carbon dated 12,000 years old, contains 30 acres of pillar circles, with around 250 pillars, each weighing 7-10 tons, she detailed.
Oddly, the entire site seems to have been intentionally buried about 1,000 years after it was built, and only 5% of the pillars have been uncovered since 1994. The amount of effort to bury the site dwarfs the massive endeavor to originally build it, Schoch commented in a taped interview with Linda. He conjectured that the site’s burial may have been associated with coming Ice Age climate shifts or solar outbursts.
Describing the site as looking like “an alien creation,” Linda pondered whether it might have functioned as a kind of giant machine or tuning fork. She also described some of the bizarre carved creatures on the pillars, as well as eerie totem (see below). One sculpture retrieved from the site labeled “Urfa Man” has haunting black eyes depicted by crystals of obsidian, a sunken chin with no mouth whatsoever, and bears resemblance to some of the Moai heads in Easter Island, thousands of miles away. Interestingly, Schoch noted that the oldest part of the Sphinx may date to a time concurrent with the Gobekli site.
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Linda also updated the Baltic Sea mystery about a strange 180-foot-diameter circular structure discovered by Peter Lindstrom’s company devoted to searching for sunken shipwrecks. Lindstrom told her that new sonar and photographic evidence, as well as firsthand divers’ reports indicate there is a ring of stones on top of the large circular structure, which itself rests on a central pillar. The divers were amazed at how many straight lines, and boxed-shaped features they saw on the object, and Lindstrom said it looked like a type of concrete structure such as a bridge foundation, which suggests it’s artificial or man-made.
His team plans a return visit in July.
Göbekli Tepe is the world’s oldest known religious structure. The site, located on a hilltop, contains 20 round structures which had been buried, four of which have been excavated. Each round structure has a diameter of between 10 and 30 meters (30 and 100 ft) and all are decorated with massive, mostly T-shaped, limestone pillars that are the most striking feature of the site.
The limestone slabs were quarried from bedrock pits located around 100 meters (330 ft) from the hilltop, with neolithic workers using flint points to carve the bedrock. The majority of flint tools found at the site are Byblos and Nemrik points. That neolithic people with such primitive flint tools quarried, carved, transported uphill, and erected these massive pillars has astonished the archaeological world, and must have required a staggering amount of labor.
Two pillars are at the center of each circle, possibly intended to help support a roof, and up to eight pillars are evenly positioned around the walls of the room.
The spaces between the pillars are lined with unworked stone and there are stone benches between each set of pillars around the edges of the wall.
Many of the pillars are decorated with carved reliefs of animals and of abstract enigmatic pictograms. The pictograms may represent commonly understood sacred symbols, as known from Neolithic cave paintings elsewhere. The reliefs depict lions, bulls, boars, foxes, gazelles, donkeys, snakes and other reptiles, insects, arachnids, and birds, particularly vultures. (At the time the shrine was constructed, the surrounding country was much lusher and capable of sustaining this variety of wildlife, before millennia of settlement and cultivation resulted in the near–Dust Bowl conditions prevailing today.)
Vultures also feature prominently in the iconography of the Neolithic sites of Çatalhöyük and Jericho; it is believed that in the early Neolithic culture of Anatolia and the Near East the deceased were deliberately exposed in order to be excarnated by vultures and other carrion birds. (The head of the deceased was sometimes removed and preserved—possibly a sign of ancestor worship.) This, then, would represent an early form of sky burial, as practiced today by Tibetan Buddhists and by Zoroastrians in India.
Few humanoid figures have surfaced at Göbekli Tepe, but they include the engraving of a naked woman posed frontally in a crouched position that Schmidt likens to the Venus accueillante figures found in Neolithic north Africa, and a decapitated corpse surrounded by vultures in bas-relief. Some of the T-shaped pillars picture human arms, which indicate that they represent the bodies of stylized humans (or anthropomorphic gods). The wider stone member atop the T-shaped pillars is thought to symbolize the head; thus the pillars as a whole have an anthropomorphic identity.