9500 to 8000 BCE
Göbekli Tepe, located in Turkey, is an ancient archaeological site dating back to around 9500 to 8000 BCE. Based on carbon dating on the soul that covered the site.
It’s famous for its large circular structures with massive stone pillars, making them the world’s oldest known megaliths. These pillars are adorned with carvings of humans and wild animals, offering valuable insights into prehistoric beliefs and culture.
Initially thought to be a religious site used by nomadic hunter-gatherer groups, recent discoveries suggest it might have been a settlement. There is ongoing debate among experts about whether agriculture led people to settle down or if settled living enabled the growth of agriculture. Göbekli Tepe, standing on a rocky mountaintop without clear signs of farming, has been pivotal in this discussion.
The purpose of the site’s megalithic enclosures remains a mystery. Originally considered the world’s first temples, recent studies showed they were filled due to natural events, challenging earlier beliefs about intentional backfilling.
Discovered in 1963, Göbekli Tepe gained significant recognition in 1994 when excavations began. After the original excavator Klaus Schmidt’s death in 2014, the work continued as a joint effort involving Istanbul University, Şanlıurfa Museum, and the German Archaeological Institute, under the direction of Turkish prehistorian Necmi Karul. In 2018, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional architectural significance. Despite its importance, less than 5% of the site had been excavated as of 2021.