Home Do You Know? Do you know how old this site is?

Do you know how old this site is?

This is an archaeological site called Göbekli Tepe located in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. The site was first noted in a survey conducted by Istanbul University and the University of Chicago in 1963. The excavations have been ongoing since 1996 by the German Archaeological Institute, but large parts still remain unexcavated. In 2018, the site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Do you how old are the structures found here?

So far, more than 200 pillars in about 20 circles have been located through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6-m (20-ft) and weighs up to 10 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the local bedrock. The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery. The monuments were probably used in connection with social events and rituals and feature distinctive limestone T-shaped pillars. Some of the pillars, which are abstract depictions of the human form, also feature low reliefs of items of clothing, e.g. belts and loincloths, as well as high and low reliefs of wild animals. Recent excavation works have also identified the remains of non-monumental structures which appear to stem from domestic buildings.

Even the archaeologists have not been able to find out the exact age of these monuments. According to Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute, the rocks and slabs were prehistoric. Structures identified with the succeeding period, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), have been dated to the 10th millennium BCE. Remains of smaller buildings identified as Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) and dating from the 9th millennium BCE have also been unearthed.

The complex includes concentric, roughly circular structures featuring pairs of pillars set in the centers of the circles. The centers of three of the stone circles were placed roughly midway between their central pillars. Those three points, when linked, are within about ten inches of forming an equilateral triangle with sides measuring about 63-ft long. This means that the people who built Göbekli Tepe had at least some rudimentary knowledge of geometry.

An important aspect of Göbekli Tepe finding is that it is one of the first manifestations of human-made monumental architecture. The site testifies to innovative building techniques,  including the integration of frequently decorated T-shaped limestone pillars, which also fulfilled architectural functions.

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