A: They didn't know. Schmidt thought it may
be a reptile but wasn't sure. Gobekli Tepe is so bizarre - and the
newest finds at this time were so mysterious - that no consensus had
yet been developed. Others believed the sculpture showed a wolf, a
cat, or some other mammal. It possibly represented a kind of
animal-spirit, watching over the dead.
Q: Is there really a link with the Garden of
A: The idea that the Eden story is a kind
of allegorical folk memory - of the switch from hunter-gathering
to farming - is not a new one: it has been canvassed by writer
Hugh Brody, among others. What is new is the combination of data
that links the Old Testament's Genesis to this area of Turkey, and
very early farming to this area: thereby placing a 'metaphorical
Eden' arguably in these environs. However, Klaus Schmidt emphasises
that this is just a theory: 'Gobekli Tepe is extraordinary enough,
Q: How was the world of archaeology perceiving
A: Academics agreed on the site's revolutionary
implications for our view of Stone Age civilisation and religion.
Until now no one had known that Neolithic people were this artistic
and leisured. Harald Hauptman at Heidelberg University believed that
the discoveries at Gobekli ranked with the first uncovering of cave
paintings in Lascaux, in France in the 1940s. South African expert
in Palaeolithic art, David Lewis Williams, called Gobekli Tepe 'the
most important archaeological dig anywhere in the world'.