Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Göbekli Tepe temple rewrites history

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.

History in the Remaking by Patrick Symmes in Newsweek

3 comments:

Snoozepossum said...

Saying this is an amazing find is sorta Captain Obvious, but I am anyway.

"Schmidt's thesis is simple and bold: it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in the very first urban conglomerations. The need to build and maintain this temple, he says, drove the builders to seek stable food sources, like grains and animals that could be domesticated, and then to settle down to guard their new way of life. The temple begat the city."


I wonder if it's the modern, more Western habit of thinking of sacred places as essentially separate from any mundane part of life that makes people take as a given that such structures must have been exclusive of use.

Yewtree said...

Hmm... I am sure sacred activity was more intertwined with everyday life in many cultures, but building a temple where no other activities took place does seem to imply that religion was seen as a separate from everyday life.

Snoozepossum said...

I guess I'm thinking more along the lines of "It's been 11,500 years; how much would there be left to show in detail what went on on a daily basis?"

I figure they'd find remains of regularly used fires and