The excavations are being carried out by Istanbul University and Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum and are led by Associate Professor Eylem Özdoğan.
Marius Meulenberg. November 2021
1. The Sayburç site
The Sayburç site in the province of Şanlıurfa, south-eastern Turkey was first investigated earlier this
year, after experts at the nearby Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum were informed that local villagers had been using blocks from obelisks found in the area to construct their garden walls. Sayburç is located in the Taş Tepeler region that is home to 12 prehistoric sites, including theUNESCO World Heritage site of Göbekli Tepe which archaeologists consider the oldest known temple in the world. Built some 12,000 to 11,000 years ago, it suggests that early humans developed religion before agriculture. Other ruins in the region are believed to represent the first sedentary human settlements, as well as the first examples of how early humans developed organized and specialized labor. As such, there’s much more to learn in Taş Tepeler about how early people lived, worked, and worshiped.Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism have recently teamed up with the Tourism Promotion andDevelopment Agency to launch the ‘Tepeler Bag’ Neolithic heritage project, which will conductfurther excavations at the sites between 2021 – 2024.At the Sayburç site Archaeologists found an unusual 10,000-year-old Neolithic period stone relief inthe remains of a circular pit-bottomed building, cut out of the limestone bedrock, which measuredaround 36 feet in diameter. Running along the building’s wall was a three-feet-high, 23 – 27 inch-wide bench cut into the rock. On the front of the remaining portion, a relief was found. 2. The relief According to the publication in the daily mail, the relief shows a man holding his phallus, another naked man identifiable from his extended phallus, two leopards and a large-horned bull (left).The second man’s left hand appear to sport six fingers, while he holds an upside-down snake in his other hand.