Göbekli Tepe is probably my favorite ancient site. It is located in the Southeastern region in Turkey and excavations have been going on since 1996. Less than 5% of the site has been excavated and scientists have dated the site to at least 9,000 B.C. You can find more details about the site here.
There are multiple reasons why I find this site so fascinating. First, its dating makes it the oldest construction site this advanced. The building skills and carvings found on the site suggests we were more than just simple nomadic hunter/gathers during that period as previously thought. We didn’t think we were able to build something this significant until we started harvesting crops, settled in one place and had the time and resources for such achievements. The Sumer civilization in Mesopotamia, often considered the “cradle of civilization”, was said to be established in 6,500 B.C., however Gobleki Tepe is older by thousands of years and this clearly shows “civilization”. Also, we must have known how to build such structures way before Göbekli Tepe was built. We had to have learned these skills much earlier, but where and when?
One of the many “T-pilars” found with strange animal carvings; animals that were not known to exist in the area at that time.
Second, we have no idea who built Göbekli Tepe or why they built it. Since so little has been excavated, the site is huge and when (or if) it is entirely excavated we may find more evidence that continues to challenge what we think we know of “prehistoric” civilizations. Scientists think we gathered here to share food, ideas and maybe even started to think about “religion”.
And finally, it is thought that Göbekli Tepe was intentionally buried by the last inhabitants. It’s one thing to abandon the site once agriculture took hold, but why take all the time and energy to bury it?
For me, this proves there is a lost history of man that we know very little about. We evolved very little for millions of years and then within 12,000 years we went from simple farmers to sending a man to the moon. Something had to gradually make us a more advanced
and Göbekli Tepe is just one clue as to what that was.
Only 5% of the site has been excavated
Here is a great video to learn more about the fascinating site of Gobekli Tepe.