Sensational discovery by German archaeologists in Anatolia provides a new look at ancient history of human civilization. On a hillside in the South-Eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, an expedition led by Klaus Schmidt dug magnificent ancient temples that 12 thousand years.
The oldest ever found to date places of worship Gebekli Tepe, built in the early Neolithic period, was discovered in the mid-twentieth century. However, scientists are interested in this cultural monument only after in the 1990s were found massive stone walls and covered with drawings T-column.
It is assumed that the total number of temples in Gebekli Tepe should reach 20. Each of the buildings, probably marked the ascension of Sirius in the sky at different times.
For the first time the star Sirius appeared in Earth's sky about 11 300 thousand years ago. Bright it ranked fourth immediately after the Moon, Venus and Jupiter, so certainly make a lasting impression on the person of the early Neolithic.
Klaus Schmidt, assistant professor of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, has been studying the ancient history of mankind. When in 1994, Schmidt began excavations at Gobekli Tepe, he was sure that these excavations will be the main cause of his life. Archaeological complex in this area can be compared with Stonehenge in England, with the only difference being that the ruins in Anatolia 6000 years old.
As a child, Klaus Schmidt did not get out of the caves in his native Germany, hoping to find there prehistoric paintings. Thirty years later, representing the German Archaeological Institute, he found something infinitely more important - a temple complex almost twice as old all similar structures on the planet.
"This place - a supernova - said Schmidt, standing under a lone tree on a windswept hill 55 km north of Turkey's border with Syria. - Already in the first minute after it was discovered I knew that I have two choices: either to leave here without saying a word to anyone, or spend the rest of life here on these excavations. "
Behind him, opened the first bend of the Anatolian plateau. In front of hundreds of miles to the very Baghdad and extends further south Mesopotamian plain, like a sea of â€‹â€‹color dust. Straight ahead, hidden behind the shoulder of the hill, the stone circle Gobekli Tepe. In those days, when people still did not build themselves permanent dwellings were not able to make a simple clay bowl, earn their living by hunting and gathering, the inhabitants of Southeast Anatolia erected their gods monumental sanctuary.
Compared with Stonehenge - the most famous prehistoric monument in the UK - a grand scale, they do not hit. None of the circular entrenched structures (and their currently includes four of twenty) does not exceed 30 meters in diameter. What makes these findings are quite unique, so it is carved on them the image of wild boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions, and the age of the finds themselves. They were created for 9500 years BC They are 5.5 thousand. Years older than the first cities of Mesopotamia and on the 7 th. Years - Stonehenge.
In Gobekli Tepe, archaeologists discovered on a hill giant complex circular buildings and stone pillars carved with reliefs. Currently, only a small part of excavated buildings, but if we take into account the age of the ruins, once it becomes clear that this is a unique archaeological monument.
Ancient ruins of the Neva-Carey, who since 1992 are at the bottom of the reservoir Ataturk, almost as old as Gobekli Tepe, their age 10,500 years. But there is much less poles, and finishing modest. With temples Gobekli Tepe may compete in the age of Jericho, but there are no large sculptures, no architectural decorations. All other ancient archaeological sites belong to another era - they originated about 2,000 years later. The people who created these rounded monuments and stone reliefs, the entire complex, did not even have pottery and cultivated cereals. They lived in villages. But they were hunters, not farmers.
Judging by the age of the complex Gobekli Tepe, it is in this area hunters and gatherers moved to a sedentary lifestyle. In Gobekli Tepe primarily affect intellectual ability Stone Age people, their hard work and knowledge of the construction business. But until now, scientists were convinced that the implementation of such gigantic projects as the construction of the church, suggests a sedentary lifestyle and a high degree of organization.
"It is always assumed that the only complex society with a hierarchical structure could build such monumental structures, and that they appeared only with the emergence tillage," - says Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University (Stanford University) Ian Hodder (Ian Hodder), who in 1993 headed the excavation in Chatal-Hoyyuk - the most famous of the Neolithic settlement on the territory of Turkey. - Gobekli turned over all views. This complex structure and belongs to the era before the birth of agriculture. This fact alone puts him in a number of important archaeological finds in a very long period of time. "
The archaeological site of Gobekli Tepe was first surveyed in 1963. But then, archaeologists have underestimated its importance, and for a long time there did not work. On the hill, which is located deep in the temple complex, is a field of oats. Farmers now and then removed from the fields prevented them from bulky stones, so that the upper part of the temple is destroyed before it investigated scientists.
On sites excavated, we can conclude that people stayed here for a long time. Next to the round building of the sanctuary found several smaller buildings, which, apparently, were some ritual meetings. But in all these buildings have not the slightest sign of human habitation.
Excavations carried out for ten years. As a result, until cleared only a small part, but the appointment of Gobekli Tepe to build his people and remains unclear. Some believe that this place was designed for fertility rituals, and two tall stones at the center of each circle represents a man and a woman.
But Schmidt skeptical about the theory of fertility. He shared the view that the Gobekli Tepe may have been "the last flowering of semi-nomadic society that is about to destroy was going to replace the era of agriculture." He points out that if today is a place preserved in almost perfect condition, it is only because of its builders soon buried under tons of his creation of the earth, as if they were rich wildlife world has lost all its value.
"From my point of view, people cut them out, asked the greatest question of all - continues scientist. - What is the universe? Why are we here? "But here there are no symbols of fertility, which is on the other excavation site of the Neolithic period, and the pillars in the form of the letter T, being clearly poluchelovecheskogo are asexual. "I think that here we are faced with the earliest images of the gods, - said Schmidt, patting his hand one of the largest blocks. - They have no eyes, no mouths, no faces. But they have the hands, and they have a palm. This is - the Creator. "
Perhaps the most interesting in Gobekli Tepe - this is his last days. Buildings, of course, goes to sleep and this explains their good preservation. All ancient religious buildings were simply abandoned, neglected, but the temple on the hill Anatolian literally buried in the ground. The massive building with a giant monolithic pillars covered with magnificent reliefs, brim filled with stones and soil, so he literally disappeared underground.
Although archaeologists freed from under the mound only part of Gobekli Tepe, now we can estimate the unusually large size of the sanctuary. It consists of four different churches, surrounded by a low stone wall. Particularly interesting are the T-shaped monoliths with partially preserved reliefs. They are very naturalistically depict birds, gazelles, bulls. Next to the image of the snake and the donkey can be distinguished fox head. There is even spiders and volume made with wild boar frowning blunt snout.
The fact that the builders of the temple attached great importance to the world of animals is not in itself surprising. But they portrayed wild animals, and this confirms the assumption that the creators of the sanctuary were not settled farmers. I wonder something else: in the vicinity of Gobekli Tepe presented all sorts of wild cereals, which were subsequently cultivated as crops.
Perhaps Gobekli Tepe is the missing link in the chain - link between the primitive nomadic hunter-gatherers and sedentary farmers. Production of monolithic stone pillars with reliefs requires certain skills - it requires stonemasons. This means that other people craftsmen masons supplied with everything necessary for life, that is, they have existed a society based on division of labor.
On some poles are icons. Some archaeologists suggest that these icons could affect the system of signs that arose at a later time, but it is difficult to trace whether there is a connection between them. Hieroglyphics were not common in neighboring Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, that is far from Gobekli Tepe. In addition, the time interval between Ancient Egypt and the culture of Gobekli Tepe is very large.
End of the sanctuary Gobekli Tepe came in the early VIII century BC At this time in neighboring Mesopotamia spread agriculture. The soil in the vicinity of Gobekli Tepe scarce, perhaps, for this reason, the sanctuary lost its meaning. The most important centers were formed farther south, in the fertile plains, river valleys. At least, this can partly explain why people left the church, where hundreds of years of their ancestors worshiped. They filled the sanctuary with stones and left there forever.
Gobekli Tepe lessons encouraged to review the idea of â€‹â€‹the so-called Neolithic Revolution. Until now, historians have thought that the transition nomadic to a sedentary lifestyle has created the prerequisites for the construction of large urban centers and huge temples. But the experience of Gobekli Tepe shows that, in all likelihood, it was just the opposite: the very existence of the grand sanctuary, where there were major rituals, encouraged people not to move away from him, and to remain close to the holy place and arrange a permanent home. Hence, the first was still a church, and then the house, village and town.
Riddle Gebekli Tepe no less amazing than the mysteries of the pyramids, but much older. Scientists can only guess that it was a ritual structure, but it is not known what caused the ancient people to come together and build a truly colossal structure.
Among researchers and enthusiasts appear a variety of assumptions, from mundane to the extraordinary. Some believe that Gebekli Tepe was not a temple but a place where people lived, while others put forward the idea of â€‹â€‹intervention alien races in the history of the Earth and the construction of this complex aliens. There are opinions that Gebekli Tepe was the Garden of Eden, or the prototype of Noah's ark.
Russian historian Gennady Klimov CONSIDERS that Gebekli Tepe and similar buildings erected on the territory of Russia the same race. He confirmed his theory by the fact that in the IX millennium BC there was no way the Black Sea and from the Russian steppes in these glacial edge was free.
We are accustomed to the idea that first appeared agriculture, and then - settlements, but Gebekli Tepe and in this issue of global changes our understanding of the ancient people. Scientists have found that for the erection of such a monumental building at the same time had to collect at least 500 people. That is, all these people lived together.
Scientists suggest that it is the construction of this temple played an important role in the transition to agriculture, and hence to the birth of civilization in the usual representation. Once the ancient people gathered together, went to live at one point, it became difficult to feed as many workers and pilgrims. And perhaps that is what pushed them to the domestication of wild plants and animals.
All conclusions about the temple complex Gebekli Tepe are preliminary, as the excavations are only 5% of its territory. Archaeologists believe that the study will continue for about 50 years. The dating of the investigated part carries the end layer III to IX millennium BC. e., and its beginning - to the XI millennium BC. e. or earlier. Layer II refers to the VIII-IX millennium BC. e.
Since the complex appeared before the Neolithic revolution, the origin in the region of agriculture and animal husbandry should, apparently, be attributed to the post-IX millennium BC. e. At the same time the construction of such a grand structure demanded efforts of a large number of people and a particular social organization. For the Mesolithic is uncharacteristic. It is estimated that for the manufacture and delivery of columns weighing 10-20 tons from the quarry to the construction of that share up to 500 m, in the absence of draft animals required the efforts of 500 people.
In fact, some columns weigh up to 50 tons, thus people had more. Even suggest that such work used slave labor, which is also unusual for a community of hunters and gatherers. Such work required systematic efforts and the availability of social hierarchy, in which many people were subordinated to a religious or military leaders, and religious leaders should then monitor the implementation of rituals. In this case, the very existence of the temple complex in the historical era so far indicates social stratification at a very early stage of development of Neolithic culture.