The re-discovery of an intricately built ancient temple called Göbekli Tepe (Potbelly Hill in the native Turkish), in southern Turkey, is regarded as an archaeological discovery of the greatest importance.
The temple, which was built 8,000 years before the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egpyt, places our roots as a modern civilization much deeper than ever guessed at by any scholar or historian who had previously believed the first modern human societies formed around 9,000 B.C. in the Fertile Crescent near an area encompassing Jordan, Israel, and Iraq. With the shocking discovery of Gobekli Tepe, created by a culture that had clearly mastered masonry and developed a sophisticated culture prior to that within the Fertile Crescent, it places human society’s beginnings nearer to 10,000 B.C. or 12,000 years ago in Turkey.
This discovery single-handedly and profoundly revolutionizes our understanding of a crucial stage in the development of human society in the Neolithic Era by predating the Fertile Crescent by a full thousand years and originating outside of it.
The prehistoric temple of Göbekli Tepe (pronounced Guh-behk-LEE TEH-peh) is large, intricately adorned – with sculpture and carved stone fashioned in a time when mankind was traditionally assumed to be nothing more than a handful of nomads with no great religious inclination with little to no education and no skilled trades abilities at all.
Yet, these ruins are amazing – the result of a highly sophisticated culture. The temple is made up of colossal T-shaped limestone pillars that are 10 to 20 feet tall each and weigh upwards of 40-60 tons. To put that into perspective, the largest standing stones at Stonehenge weigh in at 25 tons and are 24 feet tall – making the Göbekli Tepe’s monolithic pillars twice as heavy and nearly as tall. And, like Stonehenge, the creation of the temple is lost to history.
Two teams of archeological researchers remain hard at work at the site today uncovering this historical find and attempting to understand how the temple was built and what became of it’s builders.