A fascinating article about a fascinating place. If you have Google Earth installed, enter ‘Gobekli Tepe, Turkey’ to check it out from the air.

For the old Kurdish shepherd, it was just another burning hot day in the rolling plains of eastern Turkey. Following his flock over the arid hillsides, he passed the single mulberry tree, which the locals regarded as ‘sacred’. The bells on his sheep tinkled in the stillness. Then he spotted something. Crouching down, he brushed away the dust, and exposed a strange, large, oblong stone.

The man looked left and right: there were similar stone rectangles, peeping from the sands. Calling his dog to heel, the shepherd resolved to inform someone of his finds when he got back to the village. Maybe the stones were important.
[…]
To date, 45 of these stones have been dug out – they are arranged in circles from five to ten yards across – but there are indications that much more is to come. Geomagnetic surveys imply that there are hundreds more standing stones, just waiting to be excavated.

So far, so remarkable. If Gobekli Tepe was simply this, it would already be a dazzling site – a Turkish Stonehenge. But several unique factors lift Gobekli Tepe into the archaeological stratosphere – and the realms of the fantastical.

The first is its staggering age. Carbon-dating shows that the complex is at least 12,000 years old, maybe even 13,000 years old.

That means it was built around 10,000BC. By comparison, Stonehenge was built in 3,000 BC and the pyramids of Giza in 2,500 BC.

Gobekli is thus the oldest such site in the world, by a mind-numbing margin. It is so old that it predates settled human life. It is pre-pottery, pre-writing, pre-everything. Gobekli hails from a part of human history that is unimaginably distant, right back in our hunter-gatherer past.




  1. Uncle Patso says:

    The author of the article is not an archaeologist or a science reporter, but a novelist, so it makes sense that the story is quite dramatically written.

    In the full article, he mentions speculation about the reason people went from hunting & gathering to agriculture, but he left out my favorite hypothesis: the invention of beer!

  2. Alfred1 says:

    Hugh Ripper…there can be no denying the significance of the site…

    Unlike global warming science…archeology has a better reputation…

    Archeologists stopped assuming the Bible was historically inaccurate…long ago…that factoid has yet to trickle down…

    Get ready for your golden shower.

  3. ChrisB says:

    In case everyone missed it, this is mostly a promo for his book about the subject. Of course it’s full of hyperbole, he’s trying to sell copies.

  4. Hugh Ripper says:

    #32 Alfred1

    – “there can be no denying the significance of the site…”

    I’m denying it. Wanna fight about it? My experience is that whenever an archaeological site is linked to anything biblical, the authors are after funding.

    – “Archeologists stopped assuming the Bible was historically inaccurate…long ago…that factoid has yet to trickle down…”

    Which archeologists? All of em? They have reached consensus? Incredible! When I was an archaeology undergrad most of em had trouble agreeing on lunch.

    – “Get ready for your golden shower.”

    but we’ve only just met…

  5. Nimby says:

    Alfred1 – “Archeologists stopped assuming the Bible was historically inaccurate…long ago” Which bible would that be, Alfie? The Torah? The Apocrypha? Oh, oh, I know: the infallible King James Version, revised. Take a reality break. Archaeologists have realized that the stories (fables, myths, etc) in any bible, may have an historical link or even a basis in fact. But to go that extra parsec and claim it is an historically accurate document is simply laughable.

  6. ZZman says:

    Built by “hunter-gatherers”, just like the pyramids I suppose. Riiiighttt…

  7. jimbo says:

    #12 Nimby Pamby

    “I didn’t know we had any full-blood creationists following this blog. So, you think god changes the laws of physics now and then, huh? What a joker he/she/it is. I guess your textbooks refer to them as the “suggestions” of physics”.

    If you read his post properly, he didn’t claim anything, he merely pointed out that the BIBLE claimed such things..

    Glad to see you read his post before you wrote your incorrect answer

  8. Nimby says:

    Jimbo – I have apologized when I’m wrong and will likely do so again. But not tonight. YOU try rereading his posts.

  9. Mr. Fusion says:

    #3, Bobbo,

    How can anyplace be the site of a mythical place?

    I’ve thought about this and have ended up disagreeing with you.

    If you go to Greece, you can see Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the “Greek Gods”.

    In Lake Huron are two islands, North and South Manituo, formed by a myth.

    Then there is the Giant’s Causeway off Ireland.

    I understand your point but prefer to be more expansive.

  10. jimbo says:

    “Biblical accounts of the Pre-flood animal kingdom show animals as non violent (Ge 2:19)”.

    I did read them cockbag

  11. KRM says:

    The statement that this structure is “pre-pottery” is a bit off the mark as the oldest known pottery dates to 10,750 BC +/-500 (Layer III, Fukui cave in Nagasaki, Japan).

    Ref:
    Cambridge History of Japan: Vol 1

  12. KRM says:

    The statement that this structure is “pre-pottery” is a bit off the mark as the oldest known pottery dates to 10,750 BC +/-500 (Layer III, Fukui cave in Nagasaki, Japan) with some findings below Layer III potentially dating as far back as 14,000 BC.

    Ref:
    Cambridge History of Japan: Vol 1

  13. pacho618 says:

    Humans have always associated patterned things, objects and events, with the transcendent. As
    early as 35,000 years BCE, when the 1st generic
    term (Queen or Gwen)for any creature (woman) appeared, circles of stones were placed around
    burial sites in the Sinai. By 14,000 BCE, when
    human migration north (following the terminal moraine of receding glaciers), when a term for
    domesticated wolves (hound) appeared, human
    habituation occurred in Anatolia (Turkey), the
    Gobekli Tepe (stone circle)appeared there. And,
    Stonehenge began to take shape (circa the sixth
    millenia BCE) after humans walked across the
    Isthmus (now “Straights)of Dover” to Britain.
    Trawlers have pulled up 10,000 yr-old tree
    trunks there, indicating that land mass which
    connected France & Britain sunk

  14. Darkstar11 says:

    Wait !! The Hebrew/Christian bible says the earth was created in 4004 BC. This place is 10,000 years BC. Therefore, the same infallible bible that says there was a Garden of Eden was wrong about when the earth was created. Therefore, the bible could be wrong about there being a Garden of Eden.

    Reality sucks for religious idiots. Now you can burn me at the stake like so many other truth seekers were fried by Christians zealots in the name of their god, in order to protect their silly biblical myths from objective rational examination.

  15. jeremy says:

    How far have you gone to find the truth? Or, is it just your nature to bash the Bible without your rear ever getting off the sofa?

    I’ve travelled all over the world and seen first hand evidence the Bible is true. The flood was an actual event, a global event. The evidence supports this 100%. How far have you gone?

    Jeremy Wiles

  16. tokengimp says:

    Why do you say Mythical? You mean like Troy? Alexandria? Other locations that Archaeologists attribute to the Bible as being actual locations.

    The garden of Eden is further south where Euphrates and Tigris flow into Gulf. If you read the Bible the directions are there. The Garden of Eden is no where near Turkey.