A temple so old, it's changing our thoughts on how civilization came to be

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In Turkey, they've found an absolutely amazing site:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/233844/ou...

It's an ancient temple, possibly the very first one, at least on a large scale, dating back about 14,000 years. This thing makes the Pyramids look positively youthful.

It's really set archaeologists on their collective butts; it adds a great deal of weight to the theory that religion begat civilization, rather than the other possible explanations. Brewing and agriculture have been two leading lines of argument, but this temple precedes all known examples of those; in fact, it appears to predate writing. The general thought has been that temples were a symptom of humans settling down; this site implies that temples may have been the reason for that, not a symptom.

Fascinating read.

They should really watch out for themselves. This sounds like the Alien vs Predator 1 movie setup.

Heh, if we've learned anything from video games, WoW in particular, it's that the surface of the Earth is a very thin skin over teeming evil, and digging will inevitably unleash catastrophe.

Malor wrote:
Heh, if we've learned anything from video games, WoW in particular, it's that the surface of the Earth is a very thin skin over teeming evil, and digging will inevitably unleash catastrophe.

hah!

Thanks for this link, Malor. given that this is newsweek, I have to assume there's a more in depth publication in some esoteric archaeologist journal somewhere -- does anyone know of any more readings -- or better, images -- of this find? It's pretty mind blowing.

There's a whole bunch of links in this Metafilter post:

http://www.metafilter.com/76115/Gobe...

This discovery reminds me of Norte Chico, which, oddly, isn't referenced at all in the Newsweek article. This Turkish discovery is so cool, especially in the questions it raises.

Why is this in P&C though?

KaterinLHC wrote:
Why is this in P&C though?

Malor wrote:

It's an ancient temple, possibly the very first one, at least on a large scale, dating back about 14,000 years.

if (date > 6,000 years) then { Controversy }

Mixolyde wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
Why is this in P&C though?

Malor wrote:

It's an ancient temple, possibly the very first one, at least on a large scale, dating back about 14,000 years.

if (date > 6,000 years) then { Controversy }

Oh, I'm sure it's just some random error in carbon dating... or maybe the Devil built it to confuse people. (note: playing Devil's... errr.. God's advocate)

Phew. At least that Oblivion Gate has been addressed. On to the next.

If they find pictures of Pruit in there, I'm f*cking done with life.

Mixolyde wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:
Why is this in P&C though?

Malor wrote:

It's an ancient temple, possibly the very first one, at least on a large scale, dating back about 14,000 years.

if (date > 6,000 years) then { Controversy }

Right. Now watch as no controversy appears and we end up with a mostly dead thread.

Clicking thru to the original newsweek article and its image of the site, my hypothesis is that the carving on that pillar reaffirms just how long the Kitty Kat Dance has been a part of our shared cultural history. Most likely the Sphinx though recarved and altered over the centuries was also dedicated to the Kit'i Kaat D'ahn-su.

Clearly, this was the first site of Meow Mix, Inc.

I am confused. Aside from being relatively big, what makes it a temple? Stone henge was even referenced as a temple, and it isn't, it was a time piece; so it seems.

And as far as not building X for no reason. Didn't Dubai basically just do that exact thing?

KingGorilla wrote:
I am confused. Aside from being relatively big, what makes it a temple? Stone henge was even referenced as a temple, and it isn't, it was a time piece; so it seems.

My knowledge may be out of date, but I think Stonehenge had many functions -- timepiece and place of worship being two of them.


And as far as not building X for no reason. Didn't Dubai basically just do that exact thing?

Dubai is a culture wealthy enough that they have enough time to pursue acts that are not directly related to their survival. I suspect Neolithic nomads did not have such luxury -- that they considered such a building (assumedly to appease their gods) to be paramount to their survival is telling of early civilzation.

It wouldn't surprise me if religion did begin civilization... in Turkey. They still have to connect this civilization to all other civilizations and show that all other civilizations developed the same way or out of/from this civilization.

Turkey's pretty close to the predicted diaspora of humanity from Africa throughout the world, isn't it? I don't think that's a huge leap to make, given that most archaeologists agree that humanity began in one relatively small portion of the world and migrated from there.

"There's more time between Gobekli Tepe and the Sumerian clay tablets [etched in 3300 B.C.] than from Sumer to today

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html?c=y&page=3#ixzz0hKHvRcG5

That's the quote that impressed me the most. That's a LONG time ago.

KaterinLHC wrote:
Why is this in P&C though?

The idea that human civilization began because of religion can be a pretty controversial idea.

Well, yes and no. The Mid East is uniquely situated to preserve a lot of culture. It is dry, there is little cross contamination by animals or other tribes like you get in the Americas and Europe.

Things rot good in tropical, subtropical, temperate regions. And historically we forget to take that into account. Case in point castle roofs. It took uncovering some relatively recent pictographic info to show castles often had wooden roofs and wooden structures, rather than being open air and only stone. As gun powder and better siege tech, as well as the rise of the mounted knight, the fortresses fell out of favor, their lords supplanted or moved on, the castles rotted.

It sounds like what they have is a structure and some images. They don't know anything more than that. They don't have any evidence of habitation, so they don't know what the people around there were eating or what tools they possessed. They don't have bones from the builders. It doesn't sound like they know much about how it was built or how long it took to build.

Obviously a great find, but until they know more it's all just wild speculation to talk about what led to civilization. The fact that it's an outlier may indicate that it was just a freak occurrence and that civilization came much later under different conditions. Ah, the mysteries of archeology. Room for endless debate!

After a re-read I'm in the same boat as KG and Funken.

Some excerpts:

The religious purpose of the site is implicit in its size and location. "You don't move 10-ton stones for no reason," Schmidt observes. "Temples like to be on high sites," he adds, waving an arm over the stony, round hilltop. "Sanctuaries like to be away from the mundane world."

Defensive structures also are built on high sites. Also, a location you want to be noticeable from miles around. If this were not a village but simply a trading center as was implied by the notion of hunter-gatherers from all over coming to this location, placing it high on a hilltop would be the best way to locate something from afar before any real means of navigation had developed. Also, I would assume the best way to distinguish one hill from another from afar via the naked eye, would be to erect a simple structure that is obviously man-made: a T shaped stone statue.

Unlike most discoveries from the ancient world, Göbekli Tepe was found intact, the stones upright, the order and artistry of the work plain even to the un-trained eye. Most startling is the elaborate carving found on about half of the 50 pillars Schmidt has unearthed. There are a few abstract symbols, but the site is almost covered in graceful, naturalistic sculptures and bas-reliefs of the animals that were central to the imagination of hunter-gatherers. Wild boar and cattle are depicted, along with totems of power and intelligence, like lions, foxes, and leopards. Many of the biggest pillars are carved with arms, including shoulders, elbows, and jointed fingers. The T shapes appear to be towering humanoids but have no faces, hinting at the worship of ancestors or humanlike deities.

All I really get out of this is much like their ancient ancestors did by drawing on walls, these people essentially just carved animals onto these stones. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of anything supernatural. Even the T-shapes. I don't think they look like humanoids at all but rather a horizontal stone stacked on top of a vertical stone.

IMAGE(http://ndn2.newsweek.com/media/93/Turkey-ruins-FE05-wide-horizontal.jpg)

Maybe I'm missing something...

Tar pits and ice age my ass. Lasers killed off the dinosaurs.

Sometimes the obvious is easily missed.

Clearly those are phallic statues. It was probably a bunch of guys, lugging massive stones and carving day-n-night to show the ladies who had the biggest T-peen.

What is more intriguing is the artist's carving of a living dimetrodon (!) and the laser beam firing down from obvious alien technology (!!) in the heavens. No wonder there is no sign of human inhabitants living in the area, they were all abducted (!!!).

FSeven wrote:
Tar pits and ice age my ass. Lasers killed off the dinosaurs.

IMAGE(http://www.secretdancemoves.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/dino-riders.jpg)

FSeven wrote:
Tar pits and ice age my ass. Lasers killed off the dinosaurs.

The answer:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100304/...

It's official. I think.

Dirt wrote:

The answer:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100304/...

It's official. I think.

That's a perfect example of peer review being used as (an admittedly good) substitute for knowledge.

I'm still not sure how it explains the fact that frogs and birds are still around, but that could be because I haven't been reading up on paleontology lately.

I believe the thinking is that small animals had a better chance at survival because they required less food. The vegetarian Dinosaurs couldn't get enough food and as they died off, the carnivores found themselves with less and less to eat. Alligators and crocs are probably still around because they can go a year or something without eating.

What really killed the dinosaurs:

IMAGE(http://img352.imageshack.us/img352/2618/dinosaur4fl.jpg)

The reason they're pretty sure is a temple is because there's no signs whatsoever of actual habitation. There's none of the debris that accumulates in human civilizations, when they've been living in a place for long enough. Further, there's no water at the site, meaning it would be a remarkably bad place to settle down, and there'd be no reason to defend it. "Temple" is about the only explanation left.

Then there must be a settlement nearby. I'd like to see that.

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