In 1965, during an excursion from Friedrich Karl Dörner’s excavations at Arsameia, an enigmatic, approximately 80cm-high statue was acquired from a farmer. It has a long head which towers over a highly abstract, curved body. If the arms and hands which were holding the head of another figure on the narrow front side of the sculpture had not been clearly depicted, its anthropomorphic character would have been hard to guess. At the time of discovery, the statue remained a mystery and perhaps would have been disregarded altogether as some kind of oddity had not Harald Hauptmann`s excavations at Nevalı Çori (1983–1991) and Klaus Schmidt’s work at Göbekli Tepe

Everyone knows his or her place and assignment; soon the air is filled with the sound of pickaxes and of chanting and laughing. Soil is shifted, rocks are moved. Basket after basket of debris is brought out of the trenches. What has been brought to light here would have been thought of as impossible by archaeologists just 20 years ago. Four-meter-high monolithic limestone pillars—in a distinct shape resembling the letter T—are arranged in 10- to 30-meter-wide circles around sets of two, even larger, central pillars. The pillars are richly decorated. Many of them show animals: jumping foxes, snarling predators, bulls with heads lowered to attack. Others, especially the central pillars,

About 15 kilometers north-east of the Turkish city of Şanlıurfa, on a mountain ridge that can be seen for miles around, lies the mound of Göbekli Tepe with its Stone Age Sanctuaries. Its enormous deposit layers, up to 15 meters high, have accumulated over several millennia on an area of about 9 hectares. Even today the place has lost nothing of its magical appeal. For example, a wishing tree, which stands on top of the ridge, is still sought by the inhabitants of the surrounding area. On this site, excavations done by the German Archaelogical Institute in cooperation with the museum of Şanlıurfa found an important piece of

During the 2012 autumn excavation season at Göbekli Tepe, a small figurine (5,1 x 2,3 x 2,7 cm) was handed in as a surface ind from the north-western hilltop of the tell (Fig. 1). The motif of the figurine is an ithyphallic person sitting with legs dragged toward his body on an unidentifiable object. He is looking up and grasping his legs. Between the legs, a large erect phallus is depicted (Fig. 2), while a quadruped animal is sitting on the person ́s left shoulder (Fig. 3). As one half of the figurine has a thick layer of sinter, the question whether there originally was another animal on the

Today people wear masks to hide their identity but also to impersonate another real or imaginary being. All Neolithic cultures in the Near East made masks. Why? What were the rituals and ideas behind the masks? In the corpus of Neolithic stone masks, those from the Judean Hills and Desert are among the most well-known. Weighing up to 2 kilograms, these masks strike the modern observer with their almost expressionistic facial features – each is individual, as if depicting specific human beings. Some have holes around the rim, probably to allow them to be attached to something, or to even be worn.

Well, the short answer would be: Stone Age people with Stone Age tools. Nothing more needed, no aliens, no giants, as you can read here. For an answer to the question, who these Stone Age people were, where they came from and lived (Göbekli Tepe is not a settlement), we will have to make the finds speak. A point to start is the distribution of sites with similar architecture. Göbekli Tepe is not the only site with T-shaped pillars. Similar sites concentrate roughly between the Upper Balikh and the Upper Chabur rivers [read more here]. They clearly mark a region with similar cultural traits. However, the area the builders

Göbekli Tepe is situated on the highest point of the Germuş mountain range in southeastern Turkey. The spot is hostile to settlement; the next accessible springs are located in a distance of about 5 km northeast (Edene) and to the southeast (Germuş). A number of pits at Göbekli Tepe’s western slope could represent cisterns to collect rain water; although their exact date could not have been determined yet. With a total capacity of 153,12 cubic metres (cf. Herrmann-Schmidt 2012) they may have accumulated enough water for people to stay there for a longer periods of time, but probably not during the whole rainless summer. The next Neolithic settlements

Göbekli Tepe is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of modern times, pushing back the origins of monumentality beyond the emergence of agriculture. We are pleased to present a summary of work in progress by the excavators of this remarkable site and their latest thoughts about its role and meaning. At the dawn of the Neolithic, hunter-gatherers congregating at Göbekli Tepe created social and ideological cohesion through the carving of decorated pillars, dancing, feasting—and, almost certainly, the drinking of beer made from fermented wild crops.

By a tragic coincidence, this issue of the Newsletter was in final preparation when we heard the tragic news of the sudden death of Klaus Schmidt. In addition to the deep shock and sense of loss that we are personally suffering, there are huge consequences for the Göbekli Tepe project, and, down the line, for our Our Place in the World research programme. he situation of the Göbekli Tepe project demands the immediate engagement of an additional scientific support of the project team. here is the autumn field season that is scheduled to complete the archaeological clearance so that the construction of the canopies can proceed, as planned, in

Göbekli Tepe is a special site in many respects: its location is hostile to settlement, no water sources are in vicinity; domestic building types missing; only selection of material culture is present (very few bone tools, clay figurines absent); and there is a considerable investment of resources and work. This investment was not only made in building Göbekli Tepe. At the end of their uselifes, all buildings of layer III (PPN A, 10th millennium) were intentionally and very rapidly backfilled. The filling consists of limestone rubble from the neolithic quarry areas on the adjacent plateaus, mixed with large quantities of animal bones, flint debitage, artefacts and tools. Before

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