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Turkey - Göbekli Tepe: World History is Changing Here

      We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization. Every now and then the dawn of civilization is reenacted on a remote hilltop in southern Turkey.

 

        Göbekli Tepe is a Neolithic sanctuary located 2500 feet above sea level at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, some 15 km northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa.

 

        At the time of Göbekli Tepe's construction much of the human race lived in small nomadic bands that survived by foraging for plants and hunting wild animals. Construction of the site would have required more people coming together in one place than had likely occurred before. Amazingly, the temple's builders were able to cut, shape, and transport 16-ton stones hundreds of feet despite having no wheels or beasts of burden. The pilgrims who came to Göbekli Tepe lived in a world without writing, metal, or pottery; to those approaching the temple from below, its pillars must have loomed overhead like rigid giants, the animals on the stones shivering in the firelight—emissaries from a spiritual world that the human mind may have only begun to envision.


        Archaeologists are still excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about our species' deep past.

This article is taken from National Geographic

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