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Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.

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Oldest wheat found in Catalhoyuk
The oldest known wheat was grown in Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, experts have found.
A series of DNA analyses conducted on ancient wheat samples have led scientists to conclude that the oldest known wheat was grown in Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in southern Anatolia.

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As a child, Klaus Schmidt used to grub around in caves in his native Germany in the hope of finding prehistoric paintings. Thirty years later, a member of the German Archaeological Institute, he found something infinitely more important: a temple complex almost twice as old as anything comparable on the planet.

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As a child, Klaus Schmidt used to grub around in caves in his native Germany in the hope of finding prehistoric paintings. Thirty years later, representing the German Archaeological Institute, he found something infinitely more important -- a temple complex almost twice as old as anything comparable on the planet.
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The excavator, Klaus Schmidt, has engaged in some speculation regarding the belief systems of the groups that created Göbekli Tepe, based on comparisons with other shrines and settlements. He assumes shamanic practices and suggests that the T-shaped pillars may represent mythical creatures, perhaps ancestors, whereas he sees a fully articulated belief in gods only developing later in Mesopotamia, associated with extensive temples and palaces. This corresponds well with the Sumerian tradition of an old belief that agriculture, animal husbandry and weaving had been brought to humankind from the sacred mountain Du-Ku, which was inhabited by Annuna-deities, very ancient gods without individual names. Klaus Schmidt identifies this story as an oriental primeval myth that preserves a partial memory of the Neolithic.

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Gobekli Tepe.kmz

Göbekli Tepe
Expand (66kb, 800 x 494)

Latitude:  37°13'25.69"N Longitude:  38°55'18.81"E

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Çatalhöyük
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Spiral motifs may reveal Çatalhöyük migration
Motifs discovered in the wall paintings may shed light on the migration routes of the people who lived in Çatalhöyük (Turkey), a 9,000-year old Neolithic site. The excavation is sponsored by Boeing and Yap Kredi and is led by Professor Ian Hodder, who has been conducting the excavations since 1993 in order to better understand how and why people first domesticated plants and animals and established cities.
More than 100 experts from various disciplines and archaeologists from the US, England and Poland have been working jointly in laboratories next to the excavation site. Archaeologist Banu Aydnolugil noted that the most significant difference of Çatalhöyük from other Neolithic sites is the presence of preserved reliefs and pictures on the walls. Saying that Çatalhöyük displays urban planning and an egalitarian societal structure.

 "The houses in Çatalhöyük were made of sun-dried brick and there were doors and roofs on these houses. The houses were adjacent and no house was superior to another, which can be indicated as a sign of their egalitarian structure of society. They did not have a leader and they lived in peace" - Banu Aydnolugil.

In Çatalhöyük, only 5 percent of which has been excavated up to now, a group of archaeologists from Polands Poznan University recently discovered the first burial chamber at the site. Dr. Arek Marciniak said that they came across skeletons buried in the floor of the room and they were quite happy to see a specially designed burial chamber for the first time.

"On the walls of this room we saw some motifs, which we first thought to have been carved out by a bone. We saw spiral motifs that we had seen on seals and kitchen utensils before. We predict that these motifs on the walls are the source of the motifs that are used on kitchen utensils" -Dr. Arek Marciniak.

Marciniak highlighted that they had seen these motifs on seals and kitchen utensils that were found in mounds in Central Anatolia.

"What is more important is that the objects bearing these motifs will be analyzed and thus we can maybe find the migration routes of people living in Çatalhöyük - Dr. Arek Marciniak .

Source: Today's Zaman

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A team of archaeologists working at the Göbeklitepe tumulus in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa (Turkey) came across human figures without heads as well as reliefs of scorpions, snakes and wild birds on obelisks belonging to the Neolithic period, the head of the team said. Speaking at a press conference at the ancient city, excavation team leader Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin stated that Göbeklitepe was an 11,000-year-old site of worship established by the hunter-gatherer people of the time.

"During this year's excavations we came across human figures without heads, and we discovered a human figure for the first time since we started working here 12 years ago. This is a remarkable development. Remains give us important clues regarding the future of the excavations" - Klaus Schmidt.

He said excavations in Göbeklitepe brought to light the monumental architecture and the advanced symbolic world of the hunter groups that existed prior to the period of 'transition to production.' Schmidt said they also discovered the remains of nearly 20 round or elliptical structures 30 meters in diameter in the area. According to Schmidt, the animal figures on the obelisks unearthed this year in Göbeklitepe have different characteristics.

"Animal figures drawn by the people of the Neolithic era may represent the 'watchman' of the period" - Klaus Schmidt.

Similar human figures were previously encountered in the ancient tumulus of Çatalhöyük, which is 2,000 years younger than Göbeklitepe.

Source Turkish Daily News

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The world's oldest temple, dating back around 12,000 years, is located on Göbekli Hill in Turkey's province of Sanliurfa.
The temple was discovered by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt.
Stone figures and columns were discovered at the excavation site, suggesting that hundreds of people had worked to transport and erect the columns.

The temple stands around 15 meters in height and 300 m in diameter, and located on a hill upon which a single tree stands.
Local people considered the lone tree a 'will tree' in keeping with the idea that the temple was one of the most important sacred places of ancient times.

The site is located 15-km northeast of Urfa on the top of a range of limestone-hills that forms the south-eastern extension of the Taurus-mountains.
Göbekli is located on top of an 800m high hill. The name means "hill with a navel".
The site was discovered in 1963 during a survey. Since 1995, excavations have been conducted by the museum Urfa and the German archaeological institute (DAI ) Istanbul.



The temples are round megalithic buildings. The walls are made of unworked dry stone and include numerous T-shaped monolithic pillars of limestone that are up to 3 m high. Another, bigger pair of pillars is placed in the centre of the structure. The floors are made of terrazzo (burnt lime), and there is a low bench running along the whole of the exterior wall.

The reliefs on the pillars include foxes, lions, cattle, wild boars, herons, ducks, scorpions, ants and snakes. Some of the reliefs have been deliberately erased, maybe in preparation for new pictures.
There are freestanding sculptures as well that may represent wild boars or foxes.



The quarries for the statues are located on the plateau itself, some unfinished pillars have been found there in situ. The biggest unfinished pillar is still 6,9 m long, a length of 9m has been reconstructed. This is much larger than any of the finished pillars found so far. The stone was quarried with stone picks. Bowl-like depressions in the limestone-rocks have maybe been used as mortars in the epipalaeolithic already. There are some phalli and geometric patterns cut into the rock as well, their dating is uncertain.

Previously a 9,000-year-old temple in Jordan was considered to be the world's oldest temple.

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