Information on Gobekli Tepe seemed mostly
to be in German, but that's because it was the German Dr
Klaus Schmidt who realised the importance of the place and
who led the digging between 1995 and his untimely death in
However, by 2006 there were still plenty of
questions to be answered there.
It was not clear whether the temples really were
temples (ie. with roofs) or just temenoi (ie. holy places
without a roof but with huge stone pillars, similar to Stonehenge
which was built many millennia later). The pillars were being found
in situ with nothing left on top.
Gobekli Tepe is situated on top of a high, stony,
man-made mountain without any water supply, in a location in modern
Turkey which is close to the Syrian boarder and the Euphrates.
Its period of activity was between 10,000 to 8000 BC.
Finds revealed forty pillars which were unearthed
there, each with a weight of between five to fifty tons. A single
fifty ton pillar lies in the nearby quarry, unfinished and broken
like the obelisk at Aswan. But, unlike Aswan, this stonework is
lighter by a factor of ten and the quarry is on site and not
hundreds of miles off.
Some of the pillars bear carvings of faces,
stola, arms, and hands. Others carry what Schmidt called
hieroglyphs. They seem to be a symbolic holy language but without
additional phonetic usage, besides the pictures. The symbols shown
are of a snake, a spider, a scorpion, a millipede, a fox, a donkey,
Taurus (the bull), a duck, a lizard, a leopard, a lion, cranes with
human legs, snake nets, an 'H' with a small hole in the centre, and
the same 'H' rotated by pi/2 (ninety degrees).
Of interest is the erasure of some of the engravings
in a manner which is similar in principle to the same process which
was carried out in ancient Egypt (this comparison was not drawn by
Klaus Schmidt himself).