Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gobekli Tepe-Navel Of the World

GobekliTepe – An Archaeological Site of Circular and Oval Structures

Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe, an archaeological site, is at the top of a mountain ridge in South-eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, which is approximately 6 km northwest of Sanhurga. It is a series of circular as well as oval shaped structures set in the slopes of hill called Gobekli Tepe Ziyaret where `Ziyaret’ means `visit’, though this has been left out of the name.

The height of the tell is 15 m and around 300 m in diameter and is around 760 m above sea level. This had been excavated under the direction of Klaus Schmidt since 1996 by a German archaeological team.

Gobekli Tepe
The tell comprises of two phases of ritual use which dates back to the 10th-8th millennium BC and at the time of the first phase, circles of huge T shaped stone pillars were constructed.

Over 200 pillars in around 20 circles, through geophysical surveyswere presently known.

Each of the pillars has a height of around 6 m weighing up to 20 tons and is fitted into sockets which have been hewn out of the bedrock.

In the second phase, Pre-pottery Neolithic B- PPNB, the first being Pre-pottery Neolithic A –PPNA, the erected pillar are small in size and stand in rectangular rooms having floors of polished lime and this site was abandoned after the PPNB era.

The purpose of these structure is yet unknown though an understanding shared by Klaus Schmidt, the excavator was that they were early Neolithic sanctuaries.

Navel Of the World

Gobekli Tepe
Some translate Gobekli Tepe as `Navel of the World’, where Gobek means `navel or belly’, while Tepe mean `hill’ and the corrected translation of the site could be `bulged out hill’.

Sensational media did make attempts to link Gobekli Tepe to the biblical – Garden of Eden and though Gobekli Tepe seems to be old, it does not seem to be unique nor was it a garden.

The site was first recorded in a survey by Istanbul University as well as the University of Chicago in the year 1963 which was identified as a possible Neolithic by American archaeologist, Peter Benedict who assumed that the Neolithic layers were covered by Byzantine and Islamic cemeteries.

The survey also noted various flints and large limestone slabs, where the upper parts of the T shaped pillars were considered to be grave markers.

The hill since long has been used for agricultural purpose where the locals who inhabited the site had moved rocks placing them in clearance piles thereby eliminating archaeological evidence that were at the site.

Klaus Schmidt- German Excavator, Explored & Reviewed the Site

Gobekli Tepe
It was Schmidt, of the German Archaeological Institute who had been working at Nevali Cori previously, was on the lookout for another site to explore and reviewed the archaeological literature on the surrounding area and found the Chicago researcher’s briefing of Gobekli Tepe.

He then decided to look into it and explore the site. Using his knowledge of comparable objects at Nevali Cori he recognized that the rocks and slabs were sections of T shaped pillars.

He began excavating the following year, in collaboration with Sanhurfa Museum and soon discovered massive T shaped pillars some of which had been subjected to attempts at smashing by farmers who considered them to be ordinary large rocks.

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