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Göbekli Tepe: The world’s oldest “place of cultic activity”

Today’s Zaman has posted up an interesting interview with German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt where he discuss the importance of the site he is working on: Göbekli Tepe, the oldest “place of cultic activity”.

“I was in Turkey with a fellow archaeologist to visit some Neolithic sites and Göbekli Tepe was one of a number of destinations,” he explains, noting: “The site was marked and shortly described by American archaeologist Peter Benedict in the 1960s because some stone tools were found there. However, its real significance went unnoticed until we went there. Not only did we stumble upon fragments of large sculptures but we also realized that the mound is artificial; it was quite obvious that this couldn’t be a natural hill. The whole place was also covered in flint chunks and chips, stone tools and traces of human activity. Some small mounds of rock and debris show tool marks. One large piece of limestone looked very familiar — it resembled the T-shaped head of pillars I knew from Nevali Çori, an Early Neolithic place some kilometers to the north, where I worked in an excavation project before. But unlike Neval? Çor?, where they were found only in the context of several special buildings, those pillars seemed to appear everywhere at Göbekli Tepe, which made it stand out as something unique. Although there are other sites with T-shaped pillars in the region, Göbekli Tepe is totally unique in its monumentality. To date, none of the other sites in the area have been researched to the same extent as Göbekli Tepe.”

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Story: Today’s Zaman | Photo: Today’s Zaman

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