The worlds oldest stone temple, Gobekli Tepe.

Gobekli Tepe has been dated to about 11,500 years old, and is located in Urfa, Sothern Turkey, quite close to the border with Syria. It’s believed that the temples were built by the last hunter gatherers before the conversion to agriculture. It’s quite possible the people that built these temples were the first ever wheat farmers as recent DNA analysis of modern domesticated wheat compared with wild wheat has shown that its DNA is closest in structure to wild wheat found in a mountain (Karacadağ) 20 miles away from the site, leading one to believe that this is where modern wheat was first domesticated. Domesticated rye 13,000 years old has been found just to the South in Syria, and the domestication of sheep goats and cattle is known to be atabout the 11,000 to 12,000 year mark in the Zagros, so it’s entirely possible these people were the early Turkish farmers and not hunter gatherers.

Excavations began there in 1994. The massive sequence of stratification layers suggests several millennia of activity, perhaps reaching back to the Mesolithic. The oldest occupation layer (stratum III) contained monolithic pillars linked by coarsely built walls to form circular or oval structures. So far, four such buildings, with diameters between 10 and 30m have been uncovered. Geophysical studies suggest 16 further structures.

The walls are made of unworked dry stone and include numerous T-shaped monolithic pillars of limestone that are up to 3 m high. Another, bigger pair of pillars is placed in the centre of the structure. The floors are made of terrazzo (burnt lime), and there is a low bench running along the whole of the exterior wall.

The reliefs on the pillars include foxes, lions, cattle, wild boars, herons, ducks, scorpions, ants and snakes. Some of the reliefs have been deliberately erased, maybe in preparation for new pictures. There are freestanding sculptures as well that may represent wild boars or foxes. As they are heavily encrusted with lime, it is sometimes difficult to tell. Comparable statues have been discovered in Nevalı Çori and Nahal Hemar. The quarries for the statues are located on the plateau itself, some unfinished pillars have been found there in situ. The biggest unfinished pillar is still 6.9 m long, a length of 9m has been reconstructed. This is much larger than any of the finished pillars found so far. The stone was quarried with stone picks. Bowl-like depressions in the limestone-rocks have maybe been used as mortars in the epipalaeolithic already. There are some phalloi and geometric patterns cut into the rock as well, and their dating is uncertain.

 Only a few of human figures have been recovered so far. The man is the worlds oldest statue, the 13,500 year old, 2m tall Balıklıgöl Statue. The lady is a smaller figurine.


Below is a montage of pictures. Top is a reconstruction of the site.

The oldest known city in Turkey is Catal Hoyuk, and this temple is about 2,000 years older than that. Domesticated grain made it down into Syria by about 13,000 years ago, so I’m guessing there are probably older cities buried in Turkey that no-one has dug up yet.

This would make it unlikely that the Natufians were actually the very first farmers, the ancient Anatolians seem to have discovered that.

This is an excellent site for information on Gobekli Tepe, partly in Turkish.

29 responses to “The worlds oldest stone temple, Gobekli Tepe.

  1. Thanks for the pictures. I’ve been waiting to see what develops. Really interesting.

  2. Great stuff, I wonder why I missed it when it was 1st published. Thanks.

  3. Rare photos and rare site. Thank you.

  4. Very interesting! It’s especially unusual to see the appearance of Venus-type figurines along with so many phallic symbols… like a confluence of both culture types!

  5. Volker Truckenmueller

    Thank you for this wonderful photos!
    And also thanks to Erich von Daeniken who named this place in his new book!
    “believe in history and the world comes closer”

  6. …the fat venus is tlatla/flame tzol/hole
    teotl/theo deo goddess from the birthing
    caves of chauvet pont d’arc, whose animal
    was the ocelotl. she’s regent of the calendar,
    now in mesoamerica, the book of souls/tonalamatl/tones/tunes/tonalli/tonatiuh(N)=anthony, the sun. if there are 16 more oval/
    ollin(N)=holy structures, that will make 20/
    our digits/cempoalli(N)=20/sample/the basis
    for the birthing calendar/tonalamatl(N)=20×13=
    260. be on the look out for calendric numbers
    such as: 5(phallic number/snake/coatl), 7(deer/
    mazatl(N)/the offering/uentli(N)number, 18(the
    flint knapping and arrow number, found on otzi,
    tyrolean man’s quiver), 13(solar sweeper and
    day acatl(N)/reed), 72(number of times the 260
    calendar cycles in a 52yr solar span). and so forth. great news. onward. if there is an absense of calendric evidence it may confirm
    that neander’s knowledge of time/calendrics may have been passed on selectively; the bear was
    his cult of the proto-christ, number 11 in souls/tones, 9=atl(w ater). luck, carlos.

  7. carlos lascoutx

    …tla(tla)tzol teotl ruled zatal huyuk where
    she hunted with her totem animal, ocelome(N/plural) cell(E) cel(etruscan) zealous(E)
    celos(sp) (oc)elo(h)im(Hebrew). she traded
    obsidian with lady birdsnake of belgrade,
    who left thousands of weaving whorls, was
    its goddess, and most likely was the mother of
    another birdsnake, quetzalcoatl, and took
    over the deer, wendy uentli(N) ofrenda venado’s
    job as venus/ehecatl/hecate, the shuttle xiotl(N) star. her name is celbrated in the greek
    word, ekatheron katherine, meaning a toss of the
    shuttle, heck heckle. also, i understand that
    zatal huyuk was a human breeding station, which
    was the cave cult of tlazolteotl. when we talk
    of her we are talking about the first calendar,
    the beginnings of our blood religions, e.g.,
    oztotl(N) oztoc(N) oso(sp) host(communion)
    hostel hotel: tzolem/n solemn, tzol/rce source,
    tzolace solace= -ace=cea(N)= de sea r(sp) desire, tzol soul.
    zatal marks the end of cave/hunting culture
    and the beginning of the new weaving cultures
    along the danube, and the rise of ehecatl/ecatl
    hecate(day2booksouls)as venus uentli(the new
    deer of offering, jumping looms), and as
    the wind in planetary form who will give birth
    to morning and evening star, the twins, proto-
    christ and proto-devil, thereby eclipsing her
    own role and beginning the shift from female
    to male sky gods. zeus himself was an aryan
    skygod, fist known to the greeks as a snake.
    and for those who want to see ehecatl and her
    son, quetzalcoatl, hand over her sceptre to
    mary, have a look at king theodric’s mural
    in san apollinari, ravenna r/l/tla(tla)v/uentli
    raven flame offering, where mary sits on throne
    with jesus in her lap. hecate’s calendric
    number 2 is present beside mary in
    the figure of 2 archangels either side, the
    3 kings are hecate’s old number 3 and ancient
    function now taken up by the 3d god of night
    booksouls/tonalamatl, lord of princes piltzin
    p(r)iltzin tzintli(N)=honorific, and her son,
    quetzalcoatl is presented through the number
    of virgin martyrs, 22, his birthday in the booksouls tzol, the 22d day, 9 ehecatl/hecate,
    in the trecena(13) of ocelotl, of priests.
    this 5c bc mural marks the rise of that great
    excess of the church, and return to goddess,

  8. carlos lascoutx

    …i have other posts on, zmescience/neander
    genome sequenced, that complement what you have allowed me to post here, and invite you to look
    in there. gobekli is fascinating in its implication and sufacing fact. i will continue my posts on zme and look on this site for
    developments. thank you so much, carlos.

  9. carlos lascoutx

    …yes, i am awaiting moderation, hasn’t arrived
    in my lifetime, logos tloc(N) location has me
    beside myself, loco(sp) with logos(gk), after
    word woid oido(sp) oito(N/pret. of itoa iterate)
    like a tl/t/dog/c on a tl/t/dock of a bayou
    b/payatl(N)=break clods, payaso(sp)=clown.
    the eveningstar was the devil, ch(o)lo(tl)(N)=
    ch/clo(w)n, xolotl, the page, the blackdog and
    clown, who got serious when the egyptians made him Anubiscuit. i see in egyptia(n) the word
    cipactli, day one booksouls/tunes, (s)c(r)ipt
    (s)c(r)ibe, hmm, cipactonal, soul of a scribe,
    was on the quetzalcoatl expedition 3309bc when
    oxomoco xomotl(N)=reader of tonalamatl birth
    calendar, made an inkwell of metis mayauel
    maguey metl’s plant, rope goddess 4k bc and
    mother of atena atentli(N)=by the lip, when
    zeuz drained her glass=teuitl(N) t/devil
    t/d(r)ivel t/d(r)ibble. i know she was there
    because of clima crimen cima(N)=make thread
    of the penca de maguey, for she is simo(ONorse), cima(OSaxon), cime(OE)=rope. the
    components of cima(N) are very likely, chi/
    on top, and, ma/hand:net, which fit with
    the later words, climate and crime=the hand or
    net on top, then, inclusive (r)= c(r)in(sp)=
    the mane of a horse. i wonder if gobleki rode
    horse? the hungarian/tocharian used book of
    souls day8/ocho/tochtli(N) toca(N)/our being/
    sow seed, touch tocar(sp), as their word for
    t/th/ho(r)s/ch tli=horse, being calendric and
    not having many words to choose from. were the circles at gobleki used to pen animals, tame
    them, and raise them? so many questions. tks.

  10. hİ ı read your comments about göbeklitepe. I am an english teacher and living in Şanlıurfa. ıt is 10 km far away with my town. ıt is really a very effective temple and I think it will chance the history. I am preparıng a culture project about Göbeklitepe.It will be a european union school partnership projeect.If you are a teacher or you have some friends who are teacher we can contact and carry on this project together. I think everyone should see this historical temple.ıt is really impressive

  11. carlos lascoutx

    …hunters on the plains where large herds of
    animals pasture on wild grasses would be the first to utilize wheat agriculture, easily by- passing the village, these nomads could use emmer as they found it, pound it, and take it with them on their travels until they reached
    the next wild field and the animals they sought
    within that. perhaps not so much inventing as
    taking advantage of an allied resource they
    shared with their prey. there’s no reason not to believe that gobekli/tanatli, hunting and burial temple, brought man, animal, and wheat
    into triple play as grain culture. when conditions changed, gobekli/tanatli was itself
    buried and the hunter-wheat culture moved onto
    new savannas following the pasturing animals
    who were following the grain trail. at some
    point, probably when horse and cattle are on
    the horizon of domesticity, wheat is tamed
    also. the signs of that horizon are prefigured
    in the gobekli/tanatli corrals.

  12. carlos lascoutx

    …if there were birdsnake priests at gobekli
    tanatli we are talking about venus cult. the birdsnake of mesoamerica is quetzalcoatl, who
    is a proto-christ, announcing his father, the sun, as he himself would later be announced
    to the church by st. john. the venus cult in mesoamerica was frankly cannibalistic and they
    wove money as we do today. venus, itself, means
    ofrenda(sp)/uentli(N), and the deer cult of
    ce uentli(N)/ c/se(r)ve/ c/se ven(7), if not
    present in deer fauna, is in spirit, i.e.,
    the offerings of sheep and human on gobekli
    altar. the aztecs enforced their society by
    priest caste, there were slaves, and there
    was downward and upward mobility through war,
    gambling, not unlike the usa today. a person
    who free fell through society could sell himself as last resort, and it usually was,
    he/she went into slavery and could be bought
    by wealthy merchant/pocteca(N)as sacrifice to
    the gods. what is unusual about gobekli is
    they seem to have had no human enemies in
    their supposed paradise, which meant an active
    role for what idols the priests could come up with. bearing in mind the T stones, a look
    into simeon, nauatl diccionario, finds idol
    as, toptli, hmm, toptli gobekli, toptia(N)=
    obey, (t)opt(li)=opt(E), and, ob/p=obey, top(E), and, topilli(N)=my child: billy club(police), the bar of justice. so once idols
    enter the picture society has a top, obedience,
    laws, and some form of coercion. toptli(N)also
    means to wrap, and, related to, tohopa(OE)hope(E)/Hopi(amerindian tribe/kachina dolls). the hopi are related to the anazazi?, who practiced
    cannibalism(cf., collins/his books). and if one
    is to take linguistic archeology seriously,
    topli(N)=idol:wrap is the root of:
    t/tho(r)p(OE/ON/OSaxon)/ t/do(r)f/p(Du/Ger).
    i thought villages got that name because invaders left their idols/toptli in shore
    villages before they went inland so they would not be captured. it may also be that worshipping idol as at gobekli is prerequisite
    for village life, as it establishes the social
    laws, ruling, fooling caste, and alguaciles/police to enforce policy. also from toptli(N), t(r)ophy.

  13. carlos lascoutx

    …what we have at gobekli is the deveopment of slave castes, each one assigned a different duty,
    perhaps hunting animal, feather working, all the
    way to the toptli/idol priests, who enforce the cult by sacrifice, the political unit that sets the
    tasks, much as they do today in modern governance. an early look at polish history
    confirms the slave hypothesis: the basic building unit for the polish state emerged
    as the grodi/ g(r)odi/ g/cotli/t/di=
    tlacotli(N)=slave, from, coua(N)=to buy=
    co(m)prar(sp)/kupeet(russ), from, copina(N).
    slaves being the public commodity necessary
    to build citys. tlacotli(Nauatl)also, tl/t/dakota
    (amerindian). the freeman was known as,
    kmiec(pol)/ miec(N)=much/mucho/by
    extension, the pleyades(mamahuaztli/N),
    the first letter, k-=ca/ka(N/egypt)=being.
    the plural=kmeton(pol), note the plural similarity to, ocelome(N), altho, -ton(pol)
    may refer to tonalli(N), then, meyaua tonalli
    (N)=flowing souls, as miec is an adverb in
    nauatl, and has no plural. the polish word
    for prince/duke=knez, again, the k-=ka/ca
    (egypt/N)=being. -nez(pol), from, neci/
    onez(N)=appear, and is, the french word
    for nose. in spanish, neci(N) appear as,

  14. …tks for not publishing last, i got too ad hominem with natl geo and thompson,
    but i mean it about science: it’s used to force
    conclusions that are convenient at the time.

  15. Interessante Informationen.

  16. …so the demise of gobekli’s eden coincides with the rise of mtDNA haplogroupT, 8k bc, the
    haploT being 10k bpe, going into europe, the
    baltic, and india. i postulated the gobekli remnant also went north/south to west russian
    riverine and to egypt. let’s see, lith/ t/lith/t/l=
    tlil(N)=black, with (N) first letter replacing/
    marking Nauatl=Nile(egypt), mentioning in
    another post the high percentage sanskrit
    in lithuanian, highest of all euro languages,
    bespeaks an indo-lith trade connexion and
    pop. swap, through the baltic of rarog/tlaloc?,
    or overland. liths aren’t particularly dark
    but a trade enclave would explain partial
    crosses. an indo-egypt connexion just follows
    the coast line or land routes. gobekli’s effect
    on subsequent population was like a super
    nova explosion radiating in all directions
    from the epi-edenic(pun)center, a chrysalis
    of mankind’s embryo/e(m) p/b(r)yollotl=
    eptli/conch yollotli/heart=epyollotli(N)=

  17. Wow, I loved your synopsis of the site, really informative. There is a lot of information out there about Gobekli Tepe, but most of it doesn’t stray beyond the news reports and a few hints at finds and theory. Thanks for the update, I especially liked the bit about the possibility of other cities waiting to be found. Do you think that this is the first true monument or do you think it’s just the oldest one we’ve found?

    Also, I saw a BBC documentary which visited the site and saw a fantastic carving, it looks very much like an Easter Island head only more stylised and ancient. This site is so incredible for our understanding of where we came from it should be much more publicised and funded.

    Thanks again,

    A. Geologist

  18. Hi Mathilda,

    I am currently assisting an instructor to create an art book for his students and need an image of Gobekli Tepe and came across those on your blog. Do you own the rights to these? Would you mind if I use them in our book? We would of course, give you credit for them.
    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

  19. carlos lascoutx

    …since the find at hohle fels and
    geiseen klosterle caves near ulm,
    germany, of 40k/35k bc mammoth
    ivory and birdbone flutes, 10k
    before neander/neandra disappear
    from europe, perhaps to the
    gravettian purlieus of kostenkij,
    which itself has 45k bc needles/
    sewing kit, the perforation
    necessary for shell ornament,
    based on the firedrill, which develops
    the flute, precursor of the bow,
    sparks tree/treow/teotl culture
    by creating the spark, not from
    rock but from the spinning friction
    of 2 different species of wood, causes
    an explosion of consciousness that
    is still with us today, spreads language
    as dance, fire as time’s human theme,
    makes deer culture and it’s allied
    pine tree culture of the bear light
    the song of language into the religious
    notions we have today, accents the
    burning shame of sin expiated by offering
    as the unavoidable trespass of survival
    humans make against the gods
    and the gods against themselves,
    seeks to redress the balance by
    service to the divine, forces the
    neander/neandra-cromag cult
    to formalize nauatl as the language=
    dance danka tlaca=naua(N)=dance,
    of this expression and with
    new fire technique spread
    throughout eurasia by ritual
    dance and music for the first
    time, pan-eurasian culture is born,
    and the link of civilization is forged.
    look for flutes at gobekli.

  20. …i wonder if the buzzard/tzopilotl/cozcacuaultli
    sign, which from tonalamatl(N) to tzokin(mayan), becomes, ts’ib=wax, then cybele,
    goddess of bees, =day 16 souls,
    having been, cipactli(N)=
    day one tonalamatl, the (s)c(r)ip/b/vener,
    doesn’t relate to gobekli and the use of an
    alfabet? kadmus, phoenician who founded
    thebes/tepetl in 1550bc, brought the 16
    greek letters to his reign, then 8 more were
    added,: the long oo, the double ee, the ph/f
    which gks used to translate the etruscan f’s
    in Latin , the kh or chi, the z,
    the xi(khi?), and the ps/bs/fs.
    all except for the zeugma/z are further developments of nauatl sounds. hmmm,
    cozca(N)=yellow, gold?, wax, honey.
    16=cozcacuauhtli(N), seems to point
    at a writing system for gobekli, hmmm,
    cuiloa(N)=write=quill, featherworking
    for priestly vestments gives them plumas/
    pens also, they used ash for ink? hmmm,
    the liber linteus(etruscan)used burnt ivory,

  21. …noma/nomatca/nomatzinco(N)=
    spontaneous, still, the same, always=
    my net, my net being, my snared deer.
    a 50k bc word, onions has a false root
    of nem, but that is, nemi(N)=to live,
    and nemesis/nemitiliztli(N)=live right,
    or, nematca-(N/prefix)=smoothly,
    with precaution, calmly, and takes
    us back to the animal, mazatl, that
    gave us religious terms, such as serve,
    divine, besides the word for meat(E)
    mat(r)iz(sp)=womb, maz(OHG)
    matam/mat(OSaxon), matzoh(Heb)=
    a meatball first, mazeltov(Heb)=
    mazatl toptli(N)=top deer(idol),
    the beginning of religion by the maze,
    amazing deer followed with our arcos(sp)/
    bows of worship, talullah tlaloa(N)=
    the fleeing tlaloc, raingod animal,
    who on the plains below looked like
    muddy raindrops scattering like
    rain in the wind, its antlers bringing
    on the lightning, the skyknot that
    gives us pressure flaking, milk, and
    a fatback ride as first horse=
    we’re all mazatl=day and number
    se-ven= s/ce-v/uen tli(letra)=ce uentli(N)=
    one offering, the days of the week,
    the chico(menolhuia/menorah/Heb)=
    the seven nurses/wraps, the 7 greek
    seasons, 7 brothers for 7 sisters, all
    from tonalamatl/souls mazatl(N/day7),
    later at 26k bc lagar velho burial
    the child is between deer pelvis, with
    bones painted ochre on his ankle for
    rebirth=ocelix celia(N)=oc(r)e-lix(letra)=
    ocre(sp)=ochre(E), the word rebirth in
    tonatiuh(N)=anthony, sungod.
    mazatlan, as tzaa=deer. moving from deer
    to sheep and horse near ulan batoor
    quite easy, but deer is both, and the dukha/
    toca/tochtli still have deer, but a look
    with letra at, tochtli= t/th/ho(r)s/chtli=
    yes, nomadism begins the search for deity,
    begins architecture, tepee and yurt, the
    mountain/tepetl and the church=
    ch/y ur t/ch(letra extreme).

  22. When I look at the Balıklıgöl Statue it reminds me of an ancient Celtic statue and the monolithic pillars remind me of Stonehenge. Seems to be like a maze. Its really stunning. I doubt it is the oldest, it looks too developed to be the first such settlement. I won’t be surprised if they discover these people had a calender of some sort. I really hope they find where they lived as I doubt it was in this temple area. I wonder if this was a trade center as well.

  23. …it would be only one calendar,
    the tonalamatl of the nahoa, the tzolkin
    of the maya, most likely the calendar
    of the scythoid alani and their mongol
    neighbors if they used one. it comes out
    of deer culture, e.g., mazatl(deer)=7=
    ce uentli(N)=one offering(se(r)ve/n),
    itzcuintli(dog)=10(middle of calendar,
    word related to pig, harkens back to
    8k bc china when dog/pig were
    bred in compounds). robust evidence
    of the tonalamatl/tonatiuh(N)=sun,
    in pacific nw tribes and on the
    east coast amerindia, e.g.,
    gobekli had to have writing or notation
    for the priests were mananging large
    numbers of people, and it’s quite
    possible there are other gobeklis.
    good point! if it’s true there were
    buzzard priests, then a look at the
    has it as the sign of old age, and the
    incipeint writing sign it later became
    in the tzolkin=c’ib/tz’ib(day16)=wax,
    and in tzotzil mayan=writing.
    the yelow eagle, the jeweled eagle,
    tzopilotl rey=king buzzard=tzo-=blood
    (spill/piloa from on high), in the very
    word, tzopilotl, we get a description
    of priestly function, from on high,
    and the bloody scavenged corpse
    of sacrifice to winged gods, reminds
    one of the basque word for teacher=
    hezle(B)=eztli(N)=blood, and teacher
    in nahoa=teachcuautli(N)=the seed
    eagle/cuauhtli and older brother,
    a bishop under the parvenu aztecs.
    a few more passes of fact’s shuttle
    and we’ll have whole cloth on gobekli.

  24. Hmm, where’s the mod for this site? I think Carlos/Tzopilotl has been off his meds for far too long.

    But I suppose any find as remarkable as Gobekli is bound to attract ranting schizoids obsessed with fabricating arcane (and ludicrous) linguistic and mythological interconnections.

    This “Von Daniken/tabloid” effect has become so pervasive that I hesitate to mention my education or interest in Archaeology to anyone I meet any more. I am so tired of being forced to listen to pulp-sci-fi amateur interpretations of prehistory.

    • I am so tired of being forced to listen to pulp-sci-fi amateur interpretations of prehistory.

      For gods sake don’t talk to my brother-he buys all that crap without engaging a brain cell. LOL

  25. This is great! Nice to have all the images and the info in one place.
    Would like to say that properly called, all of this should be “Anatolian”. “Turkey” is a very new concept/country historically and the Turkish people have been there only a short time.
    Catal Huyuk is the oldest city yet found in the world (as far as I know there has been nothing so old, and so largely populated found elsewhere).. and I wouldn’t be surprised if more, very ancient sites are turned up in Anatolia.

    I am also not surprised that people had some form of religion/spirituality before they settled down. It seems logical to what is known of human nature when one clears away the biases, preconceptions and prejudices.
    Looking at artifacts and archeology free of today’s religious mythology and political agendas,.. it is a truely amazing and wonderful thing!
    Thanks again for posting

  26. Pingback: Archaeology: Whoopsie, dates-y! » The Owl's Post

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