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shocking and amazing secrets in Gobekli Tepe, 'oldest temple the world '

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Hidden secrets from The World's Oldest Temple 

Believed to have been built 11,000 to 12,000 years ago in modern Turkey, Gobekli Tepe precedes writing, metal tools and even pottery. Continue reading the article to learn about the shocking and amazing secrets in Gobekli Tepe, 'oldest temple the world'!

The Gobekli Tibi archaeological site, pictured in 2012.
The Gobekli Tibi archaeological site, pictured in 2012.

Archaeologists rejected the site but not scientist Klaus Schmidt, who when he came to Gobekli Tepe in 1994, suspected that the humble hill was hiding an ancient secret and was absolutely right. Shortly after Schmidt arrived at the site in southeastern Turkey, he discovered a stunning sprawling temple, which alone was the dream of an archaeologist, but Gobekli Tepe was more than just ancient ruins. Now believed to be the oldest temple in the world, its mere existence indicates that religion came before agriculture and not the other way around, the heart of what scientists thought they knew about the history of mankind. Ian Hodder, an anthropologist at Stanford University, said, "Gobekley changes everything, it's complex and pre-agriculture, and that fact alone makes the site one of the most important archaeological discoveries in a very long time. But although Gobekli Tepe promises new answers about the course of history, it also carries some strange puzzles that have not yet been solved.

Discover Gobekli Tepe

When archaeologists first met Göbekli Tepe in the 1960s, they saw nothing more than a medieval cemetery, the hill named 'Belly Hill' contained broken limestone slabs, and many experts simply assumed that these panels were tombstones. But German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt saw something different when he heard about the hill, decided to see it himself and when Schmidt arrived at Gobekli Tepe he thought the hill seemed man-made, he felt confident that 'only man can create something like this. As he later said 'within a minute of seeing him for the first time, I knew I had two options to go away and not tell anyone or spend the rest of my life working here. Schmidt decided to stay and proved to do so quickly and just a year later Schmidt and his team discovered a boil buried in the ground and columns arranged in impressively circles, some columns boasting complex inscriptions of monsters such as lions, snakes, and scorpions. More interestingly, it was soon discovered that the site was between 11,000 and 12,000 years old. In order to put this into perspective, Gobekli Tepe existed thousands of years ago before Stonehenge and the oldest known human writings. Schmidt believed that his discovery was of other special importance, declaring that '[Gobekli Tepe] is the first sacred place built by man', but how sure was Schmidt discovering the oldest temple in the world?

An intricately carved totem column from Gobekli Tepe. March 11, 2017.
An intricately carved totem column from Gobekli Tepe. March 11, 2017.

How ancient humans used Gobekli Tepe 

Schmidt and his team are certain that Gobekli Tepe was a temple for several reasons:

  1. Part of their certainty comes from what they didn't find on-site, such as cooking stoves, houses, or garbage pits. In other words, ancient humans do not appear to have used Gobekli Tepe as a settlement.
  2. In addition, the site was first built before people be known to domesticate animals or grow crops, making it a pre-planting place, where a study of the bones of animals on-site revealed a huge range of wild species, including pigs, sheep, eagles, and ducks, which once roamed the area. "In the first year we passed 15,000 pieces of animal bones, all wild," said Joris Peters, an archaeologist from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
  3. These discoveries also indicate that Gobekli Tepe was not a settlement where the people who gathered there appear to have killed any wild animal they could get. "It was clear that we were dealing with a fishing and hunting site," Peters said.
  4. In addition, archaeologists have found many sculptures in Gobekli Tepe that may represent early ideas about religion, as the sculptures have no eyes, no mouths, no faces. However, they have arms and they have hands.'

Schmidt said, 'In my opinion, the people who carved it were asking themselves the biggest questions ever, what is this universe? Why are we here?'

Archaeologists believe that people may have come from a distance to try to answer these questions, and Schmidt believes the temple may have attracted even fishermen and collectors from Africa and the Levant. Jens Notrov, an archaeologist working at Gobekli Tepe, agrees, 'He's a teacher, at the time people had to meet regularly to keep the gene set new and share information, it wasn't a coincidence that they gathered there. But it is the age of the temple that makes it so important that if Gobekli Tepe is the oldest temple in the world, it means that humans must have made mistakes in some matters related to their history.

How the world's oldest temple overturned what we know about history 

 For a long time, many scientists believed that the development of organized religion came after the development of agriculture, they assumed that people did not start building temples and other places of worship until they had given up hunting and collecting methods, but the discovery of Gobekli Tepe raised some serious questions about that theory. After all, people didn't settle in Gobekli Tepe and didn't build a farm there. Instead, they seem to have come together as hunters and collectors to build a temple. Assuming this is the case, their pursuit of religion must have ultimately led to stable societies, and the age of agriculture has completely changed how scientists understand the history of mankind. "[Gobekli Tepe] shows that social and cultural changes come first, agriculture comes later, " Hoder said. Schmidt, Hodder, and others doubt that it was the pursuit of something spiritual rather than the excess of food, as it had long been thought, that generated civilization as we understand it today. But what is this spiritual thing? Looking back at the thousands of years of the hinge, it may be difficult for modern eyes to understand.

"Trying to pick symbolism from a prehistoric context is an exercise in absurdity, " said Gary Rolfson, an archaeologist at Whitman College in Wa'a, Washington. Some archaeologists point to the sculptures as possible evidence, and people in Gobekli Tepe may have thought 'like other ancient civilizations' that eagles brought humans to paradise, thus carving large birds into columns to honor them, or perhaps as Schmidt speculates Gobekli Tepe was used as a last resting place for brave hunters. But in 2017 archaeologists found new evidence and came one step closer to solving some ancient puzzles of temples.

Discover the carved skulls in Jobikli Tippi 

In 2017 archaeologists discovered an important discovery in Gobekli Tepe, a shockingly human skull, some of which were deliberately carved with deep, straight grooves stretching from front to back. Julia Gresky of the German Institute of Archaeology in Berlin said, 'Sculptures are very deep lines in the bone and are certainly intentional, it's our first evidence of human skulls carved anywhere.'

But what do carved human skulls mean? Archaeologists are unsure, but some have noticed skulls in the stone works in the temple. 'This is completely new and we don't have a model to continue with, there seems to be a focus on reusing rituals after beheading,' Rollinson said. However, since some human skulls have been found without any signs, archaeologists suspect that some of the skulls were carved for some reason, Gyrsky explained, 'They are really special to these three individuals'. Lee Clare, a scientist who studied skulls, speculated that it could represent Gobekli Tepe's important place in human history if hunters and catacombs come together to build the temple in the first place, their focus on skulls can help strengthen their collective identity. Some experts believe this may be evidence of a kind of 'skull cult' in Gobekli Tepe that showed decapitated skulls for 'either revered ancestors or sent enemies'.

In both cases, the discovery of skulls proves that there is more to explore in the temple and the site indicates that religion preceded agriculture, but what attracted fishermen and collectors to build the temple in the first place? And why? For now, researchers are continuing to search the world's oldest temple for answers to the secrets of history, and only time will tell us what they discover next.

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