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Gobekli Tepe: the oldest megalithic temple in the world

In the world there are not so many surviving megalithic structures made of large boulders, which by age is much older than ancient Egyptian pyramids. The largest and most ancient of these is the temple complex of Göbekli Tepe .

Translated from Turkish the name of this oldest and largest megalithic temple complex means ” pot-Bellied hill “, and from the Armenian name of this area’s historic architectural monument is translated as “Navel mountain”.

Gobekli Tepe is located in the Armenian highlands, 15 km North-East of the Turkish city of Sanliurfa. According to the 2003 geomagnetic research, the age of the temple complex is estimated at 12 thousand years .

This megalithic temple complex is located on a hilltop and is the construction of the round shape. The number of these structures comes to 20. Modern researchers have found that complex in the VIII Millennium BC are deliberately filled up with sand. So a monument of antiquity has been long centuries and millennia hidden under the hill of Göbekli Tepe, the diameter of which was equal to 300 m, and a height of 15 m.

The discovery of this megalithic structures fundamentally changed scientists ‘ ideas about the Neolithic in the Middleeast, in particular, and Eurasia as a whole. The complex has been known since 1960-ies, but his true value is revealed only at the end of XX century when began excavations showed that this Parking of the stone age. Thus before the excavation, the area cultivated by landowners that prevented them threw the stone blocks part of the ancient temple.

Today it is known that the temples of Göbekli Tepe is not just the Parking lot, and religious buildings, the construction of which lasted for thousands of years. Inside circular buildings with columns of solid stone blocks up to 3 m in height. floor structures laid out from fired limestone, and along the walls there is a low little bench. But the most notable are the numerous pictures and sculptures (up to 10-30 m in height) animals. carved directly in stone. Distinguishable among them are foxes, wild boars, lions, bulls, gazelles, snakes and other reptiles, insects, birds, including waterfowl.

On the temple columns, decorated with carved stone, image of man quite a bit. Among them is the image of the headless body surrounded by vultures. So ancient in the area buried the dead — the head separated from the body and stored as an object of worship of ancestors, and the body left to be devoured by vultures.

Monolithic stone blocks to build these temples ancient people mined at a quarry situated about 500 m from the facilities. The mass of some of the columns reaches 10-20 tons For delivery of such blocks required the presence of many hundreds of people in the absence of draft animals, but aggregations of up to 500 people with a certain social organization at that time were uncharacteristic. It is also known that domesticated wheat derived from wild species that grew only 30 km from this place, so the temples of Göbekli Tepe may have played a key role in the emergence of agriculture .

To gobekli-Tepe modern scientists have carried out excavations only 5% of the territory of the temple complex. Research of this still largely mysterious structures will last for decades, and archaeologists plan to leave part of the complex intact to future generations with better technology and tools could unravel the mysteries of these megaliths.