The temple that rewrote history: Gobeklitepe
Gobeklitepe is a place 22 kilometers from Şanlıurfa. Ten years ago, if you looked from afar, you would only see fields and little hills. But those hills attracted the attention of archaeologists. The villagers were already saying that they found strange stones. Was there something inside of those hills?
Indeed, in 1963, American archaeologists discovered something underground. But for some reason they don't attach much importance to those findings. But in 1994, German scientist Klaus Schmidt and Şanlıurfa Museum archaeologists dug the ground and found amazing things here.
They found huge flat stones arranged in a circle in large spaces. These stones were not just ordinary pieces of rocks. They were stones shaped by human hands, carved with various pictures and raised on their feet. They were a kind of sculpture actually. These stones are called "obelisks", or megaliths in archeology, because they are erected by human hands.
The common feature of the works in Gobeklitepe is that the stones are T-shaped. Some of them are up to 6 meters tall. And they are very heavy: starting from 10 tons to 20 tons! All of them standing around in a circle facing the center. A wall is built between each one of them. In the center of the circle, there are two opposite obelisks of higher height.
In the carbon tests they performed on the stones, it is determined that the stones were erected 12 thousand years ago. On the megliths, there are figures of various animals such as bulls, insects, birds (vulture), wild boars, foxes, and arms carved on both sides. It looks like the arms are folded in front. There is no head.
Well, were these human figures or god figures? We don't know yet. They may represent their ancestors as well as their gods. However, the common feature of both sculpture and animal motifs was that they were all "male". Why is that, there is no definitive answer. One assumption is that their main god was probably a goddess. Because of the main goddess was a female, the temple also symbolized femininity. For this reason, only male sex representations were available for abundance. Maybe only males performed the rituals.
But why did these stones in Gobeklitepe rewrite the history again? Before Gobeklitepe was found, it was thought that people built the temples after they settled down. However, when Gobeklitepe was built, the local people were still hunter-gatherer communities. Even the animal bones found around belonged to game animals. Long story short, they did not engage in agriculture and animal husbandry. (This also means that the area is forested, of course) Moreover, they were nomads. So there was no village, town or city where they lived. Moreover, at least 500 people had to cooperate from the place where the stones were removed to the temple. This has surprised scientists. Contrary to assumptions, people have discovered the belief system (religion) long before, and again they were able to organize in large groups long before the scientists thought they would. This instantly invalidated all theories.
Moreover, there is an assumption that the figures on the stones are not just ornaments. Especially, in some parts it is used so intensely that the archaeologists cannot help but wonder if they invented some kind of writing.
Gobeklitepe and the end of the circle shaped surrounding temples are as interesting as themselves. Gobeklitepe lost its importance in 8000 years before Christ, that is, approximately 2000-3000 years after the stones were built. People probably built other temples and believed in other gods. Or there was a natural or human disaster that made living in that area pointless and the area was abandoned.
In such cases, what usually happens is that the temples are left alone and to nature. But this was not the case in Gobeklitepe. They did not just leave this place. They carried tons of soil and "buried" the temple as it was.
Why they did this is not yet known. Maybe they didn't actually lose their faith, but because it was impossible for them to live there, so they buried it to "protect" for use when they came back. Maybe they changed their religion and after that they had such a different belief that they did this so that no one would find the old temples and turn to the old religion... ...we don't know. Thanks to for whatever reason they "buried" this temple, we have unearthed the oldest temple in the world without wearing out.
If you go to Şanlıurfa and visit both the archaeological site and the magnificent Şanlıurfa museum, you can have incredibly good information about the subject.