"It may be the very first thing human beings ever built."


From March 1, 2010 Newsweek

…Standing on the hill at dawn, overseeing a team of 40 Kurdish diggers, the German-born archeologist waves a hand over his discovery here, a revolution in the story of human origins. Schmidt has uncovered a vast and beautiful temple complex, a structure so ancient that it may be the very first thing human beings ever built. The site isn’t just old, it redefines old: the temple was built 11,500 years ago—a staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid, and more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge first took shape. The ruins are so early that they predate villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculture—the first embers of civilization. In fact, Schmidt thinks the temple itself, built after the end of the last Ice Age by hunter-gatherers, became that ember—the spark that launched mankind toward farming, urban life, and all that followed.

Göbekli Tepe—the name in Turkish for “potbelly hill”—lays art and religion squarely at the start of that journey. After a dozen years of patient work, Schmidt has uncovered what he thinks is definitive proof that a huge ceremonial site flourished here, a “Rome of the Ice Age,” as he puts it, where hunter-gatherers met to build a complex religious community. Across the hill, he has found carved and polished circles of stone, with terrazzo flooring and double benches. All the circles feature massive T-shaped pillars that evoke the monoliths of Easter Island…

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/id/233844

Categories: Uncategorized | 7 Comments

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith. https://linktr.ee/jaywbabcock

7 thoughts on “"It may be the very first thing human beings ever built."

  1. If he read Alain Daniélou, the good Herr Doktor Professor Schmidt wouldn’t going quite so ga-ga over this.
    What he has uncovered is only a very small piece of a much larger picture that has been already well outlined by Daniélou and going back much further.

  2. Daniélou seems to be primarily a musicologist whose work was primarily focussed on Indian music and civilization– so he was working in a different part of Asia than Schmidt, whose excavations are in Turkey. So I think it would benefit us all if Skater were to explain the relationship.

    Even if Schmidt’s discovery were to fit into some “larger picture” about which Daniélou theorizes, Schmidt has every right to be excited, because he found the evidence that will cause the entire field to be reevaluated; he also deserves kudos for spending 12 years leading the team that unearthed and catalogued the evidence.

  3. His main thesis (as reported and focused on by newsweek anyhow) is that religion came before civilization, and leads to unfounded assertions like ‘Civilization happened BECAUSE of Religion/sites of worship,’ etc.

    The common philosophical idea that Religion (with a capitol R, as in the institution) happened after power and property become centralized caused is not disproved by this discovery as Newsweek states.

    Culturally speaking, we have no idea what significance and cultural purpose these sites had. Sure they are ‘religious,’ but how do we know whether or not EVERYTHING was inherently ‘spiritual’ for these people? What else was there?

    We have a division in our culture between the ‘sacred’ and ‘profane,’ between ‘this is the time we’re going to go to church and pray’ and ‘this is the time we’re going to watch football.’

    To assume the same of a culture we have little to no information about is to write our own beliefs onto a foreign culture. I’d imagine this site was as much a gathering area for people to just kick it and get together as it was proof that RELIGION was the building block of civilization.

  4. “Heartbreaking to see so many who find it startling to see that people more ancient than we ever knew were compelled to worship and to create beauty. This is created human nature. This is not evolution.” (comment on the newsweek article)

    see… there you go, creationists are gonna use this as proof!! ugh.

  5. There is a lot to be desired with the wording of the Newsweek article. Take a look at this entry


    Only 5 percent of the site excavated, some dwellings found, Schmidt is described as speculating that the ‘religion’ is a pre-deity ‘religion’. Also, that the reason the people came together was to protect sources of wild grain – agriculture. So, does this really turn everything upside down? How does this mean ‘religion’created cities?

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