Information on Gobekli Tepe seems to be mostly in German, but
that's because it was the German Dr Klaus Schmidt who realised the
importance of the place and who has led the digging over the last
However, there are still plenty of questions to be answered
It is not clear whether the temples were really temples (ie.
with roofs) or just temenoi (ie. holy places without a roof
but with huge stone pillars, similar to Stonehenge which was built
many millennia later). The pillars are found in situ with nothing
left on top.
Gobekli Tepe is situated on top of a high stony, man-made
mountain without any water supply, in a location in modern Turkey
which is close to the Syrian boarder and the Euphrates.
Its period of activity was between 10,000 to 8000 BC.
Finds reveal forty pillars which have been unearthed there, each
with a weight of between five to fifty tons. A single fifty ton
pillar lies in the nearby quarry, unfinished and broken like the
obelisk in Aswan. But, unlike Aswan, the stonework is lighter by a
factor of ten and the quarry is on site and not hundreds of miles
Some of the pillars bear carvings of faces, stola, arms, and
hands. Others carry what Schmidt calls hieroglyphs.
They seem to be a symbolic holy language but without additional
phonetic usage, besides the pictures. The symbols shown are of a
snake, a spider, a scorpion, a millipede, a fox, a donkey, Taurus
(the bull), a duck, a lizard, a leopard, a lion, cranes with human
legs, snake nets, an "H" with a small hole in the centre, and the
same "H" rotated by pi/2 (90 degrees).
Of interest is the erasure of some of the engravings in a manner
which is similar in principle to the same process which was carried
out in Ancient Egypt (this is comparison is not drawn by Klaus