Sunday, May 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Ten-thousand-year-old finds in Turkey raise questions about human history

Published 21 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
A vulture apparently "playing" with a human head in the ruins of Göbekli Tepe.

In Turkey, Göbekli Tepe is located in the Tas Tepeler area, where the oldest known sites of civilization were discovered. The finds are estimated to be more than 10,000 years old, and evidence now suggests that people here engaged in rituals before agriculture. Several stone formations are of men or penises, and the evidence suggests that the burial of ritual sites was intentional.

The site raises several questions about the early stages of humanity, and it is hoped that answers will be found as they continue to dig deeper.

In 1994, a Kurdish man was walking with his flock of sheep in eastern Turkey. The landscape around him was mostly barren, but as he passed a lone mulberry tree, considered sacred by the local people, he suddenly saw something sticking out of the ground. It was a large rectangular stone. Looking closer, the man realized that there were similar stones all around him, and he went back to the village to report his findings, thinking they might be significant. What he found is now called Göbekli Tepe and is one of the oldest known finds of mankind’s advanced stone structures, writes author and journalist Sean Thomas in the Spectator.

– Göbekli Tepe is the most important archaeological site in the world, David Lewis-Williams, a professor of archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said at the time of the discovery.

A number of T-shaped stones were found at the site, arranged in rings. The stones were carved with images of leopards, foxes and other predators, with human heads carved next to them. One carving shows a leopard riding, or possibly raping, a human with its paws over the person’s head. Another shows a vulture apparently “playing” with a human skull. The animals were overwhelmingly dominant, but there were also stone statues of men who appear to be holding hands around their crotches.

The site that began with Göbekli Tepe then expanded and there are now several excavation sites in the area called Tas Tepeler. This simply means “stone hills”. Archaeologists have estimated that the area could be around 11-13,000 years old and has been underground for around 130 centuries. In the context of other known sites, the pyramids at Giza, for example, are estimated to be around 4500 years old and Stonehenge around 5000 years old.

Another seemingly strange site on the property is Karahan Tepe, where there are a dozen large stone formations that Thomas calls “orange-red penises. Among them is a strange carved head that resembles some kind of primitive monster. At several of the sites, men, and penises, make up a significant portion, and few women are represented. However, archaeologists have found an obscene, bizarre carving of what appears to be a woman giving birth.

At the beginning of the excavations, there were no houses or signs of people actually living here, only the stone formations that resemble some kind of temple were found during the excavations. It also made archaeologists wonder what really came first with humanity and civilization.

– We always thought that agriculture came first, then civilisation: farming, pottery, social hierarchies. But here it is reversed, it seems the ritual centre came first, said archaeologist Klaus Schmidt.

In recent years, however, evidence has been found that homes existed at Tas Tepeler. There is evidence that people slept, ate and lived there. Archaeologists have also found evidence of alcohol production. However, no signs of agriculture have yet been found, indicating that they were hunter-gatherers and that ritual actually came first, as Schmidt previously thought. Another sign that they were indeed involved in some form of religion or ritual is the discovery of several skulls where you can see that someone cut off the skin and then made holes in them, probably to hang them. Another oddity that Schmidt found, even in his time, was that the sites appeared to have been deliberately buried. Today’s chief archaeologist, Necmi Karul of Istanbul University, agrees, saying there is clear evidence that the sites were buried by humans. This raises the question of why a people would want to bury their ritual or religious sites.

However, Karul believes that there is still much to be discovered at the Karahan Tepe excavation.

– That’s probably another megalith right there, waiting to be excavated. I reckon there are probably thousands more of them, all around us. We are only at the beginning. And there could be dozens more Tas Tepeler we have not yet found, spread over hundreds of kilometres, he says.

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