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Encyclopedia > Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe is an early Neolithic site in southeastern Turkey. The Neolithic, (Greek neos=new, lithos=stone, or New Stone Age) is traditionally the last part of the stone age. ... The Republic of Turkey is a country located in Southwest Asia with a small part of its territory (3%) in southeastern Europe. ...



The site is located 15 km northeast of Urfa on the top of a range of limestone-hills that forms the southeastern extension of the Taurus-mountains. The name means "hill with a navel". The tell (artificial settlement hill) is 15 m high and 300 m in diameter. Sanli Urfa (in Turkish Şanlıurfa) is a city in eastern Turkey, and the provincial capital of Sanliurfa Province. ... Taurus can refer to: Taurus, one of the constellations of the zodiac Bos taurus, a species of the bos genus An ancient region in todays Crimea The Taurus Mountains in northern Syria / southern Turkey Montes Taurus, a Lunar mountain Ford Taurus, an automobile of Ford Motor Company Taurus International... See also Tell (poker). ...

History of research

The site was discovered in 1963 during a survey. Since 1995, excavations have been conducted by the museum Urfa and the German archaeological institute (DAI ) Istanbul. The excavation is directed by Dr. Klaus Schmidt (university of Heidelberg). Scholars from the University of Karlsruhe are documenting the architectural remains. There are several uses of the word survey. ... Map of Germany showing Heidelberg Heidelberg (halfway between Stuttgart and Frankfurt) is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. ... The Universität Karlsruhe (TH) is a mainly technical university in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. ...


The PPN A settlement has been dated to ca. 9000 BC. There are remains of smaller houses from the PPN B and some few epipalaeolithic finds as well. There are a number of radiocarbon dates: The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (short PPNA) represents the early neolithic in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent. ... Pre-Pottery Neolithic B is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in Israel. ... The Epipalaeolithic (or Epi-Palaeolithic, Epipaleolithic, or Epi-Paleolithic) was a period in the development of human technology that immediately precedes the neolithic period, as an alternative to mesolithic. ... Radiocarbon dating is the use of the naturally occurring isotope of carbon-14 in radiometric dating to determine the age of organic materials, up to ca. ...

Lab-Number Date BP Oriental
Ua-19562 8960 85 enclosure B
Hd-20036 9559 53 Layer III
Hd-20025 9452 73 Layer III
Ua-19561 8430 80 enclosure C


While the settlement formally belongs to the earliest Neolithic (PPN A), up to now no traces of domesticated plants or animals have been found. The inhabitants were hunters and gatherers. In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ...


The houses or temples are round megalithic buildings. The walls are made of unworked dry stone and include numerous T-shaped monolithic pillars of limestone that are up to 3 m high. Another, bigger pair of pillars is placed in the centre of the structure. The floors are made of terrazzo (burnt lime), and there is a low bench running along the whole of the exterior wall. Terrazzo is a faux-marble flooring system. ...

The reliefs on the pillars include foxes, lions, cattle, wild boars, herons, ducks, scorpions, ants and snakes. Some of the reliefs have been deliberately erased, maybe in preparation for new pictures. There are freestanding sculptures as well that may represent wild boars or foxes. As they are heavily crusted with lime, it is sometimes difficult to tell. Comparable statues have been discovered in Nevali Cori, Turkey and Nahal Hemar. The quarries for the statues are located on the plateau itself, some unfinished pillars have been found there in situ. The biggest unfinished pillar is still 6,9 m long, a length of 9m has been reconstructed. This is much larger than any of the finished pillars found so far. The stone was quarried with stone picks. Bowl-like depressions in the limestone-rocks have maybe been used as mortars in the epipalaeolithic already. There are some phalli and geometric patterns cut into the rock as well, their dating is uncertain. Nevali Cori is an early Neolithic settlement in the upper Euphrates valley, eastern Turkey, around 490 m high. ... The Epipalaeolithic (or Epi-Palaeolithic, Epipaleolithic, or Epi-Paleolithic) was a period in the development of human technology that immediately precedes the neolithic period, as an alternative to mesolithic. ...


The buildings are covered with settlement refuse that most have been brought from elsewhere. These deposits include flint tools like scarpers and arrowheads and animal bones. The lithic inventory is characterised by Byblos points and numerous Nemrik-points. There are Helwan-points and Aswad-points as well. Pebble beach made up of flint nodules eroded out of the nearby chalk cliffs, Cape Arkona, Rügen Flint (or flintstone) is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline silica rock with a glassy appearance. ...

External links

Further reading

  • K. Schmidt, Göbekli Tepe, Southeastern Turkey. A preliminary Report on the 1995-1999 Excavations, Palèorient 26/1, 2001, 45-54.
  • K. Schmidt, Frühneolithische Tempel. Ein Forschungsbericht zum präkeramischen Neolithikum Obermesopotamiens. Mitteilungen der deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 130, 1998, 17-49.
  • K. Pustovoytov, Weathering rinds at exposed surfaces of limestone at Göbekli Tepe. Neo-lithics 2000, 24-26 (14C-Dates).



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