Weird History
388.4k readers

This Archaeological Site Is Rewriting Our Entire Understanding of Human History

Updated September 30, 2020 388.4k views15 items

Göbekli Tepe just doesn’t make sense. The neolithic archaeological ruins were first uncovered in the '60s, but their significance wasn’t truly realized until 1994. The site is located in southeastern Turkey - although it predates the establishment of the country by a significant amount of time. In fact, Göbekli Tepe is so old and complex that it is rewriting our understanding of not just Turkish history, but the entire history of humanity. Based on everything we know about how modern civilization got its start, Göbekli Tepe should not exist. However, exist it does, and has for nearly 12,000 years.

Archaeological study of Göbekli Tepe has been going on for quite some time—even though the modern political climate in Turkey has made matters slightly more difficult. Some sections are even in the process of being restored. The site has become a tourist attraction and a source of local pride, and there are plenty of good reasons for that. Göbekli Tepe is, after all, the oldest site of significance created by human beings, and that makes it one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made.

  • The Effort Required To Build It Was Ridiculous

    The sheer effort required to construct Göbekli Tepe made it a gigantic construction project even by modern standards. Hundreds of people would have been needed to erect the massive temples, and it would have taken them quite awhile, requiring the kind of social stability that just wasn’t expected of human life at that time. It also would have required some serious organization, which shouldn’t have been possible without a sophisticated social structure already in place. Humankind may, unfortunately, never know who the brilliant minds behind Göbekli Tepe actually were.

  • The Site Was Discovered In The '60s But Mostly Ignored Until 1994

    The potentially world-changing discovery of Göbekli Tepe actually first occurred back in the ‘60s, but nobody recognized its significance at the time. In fact, it was wrongly assessed as being a “medieval graveyard,” and was subsequently ignored for half a century due to its apparent lack of potential. It was only when the site was “rediscovered” in 1994 that Göbekli Tepe’s true significance and most impressive traits - like its age, size, and construction quality - would be fully appreciated.

    Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist, was the individual who decided to give it another look. Analysis of the site has been going on ever since, but archaeologists remain baffled by it to a large degree.

  • It's Made Up Of A Series Of Temples, The Oldest Known Religious Structures

    Most archaeologists believe that Göbekli Tepe was intended to be some sort of religious structure, although some also believe it may have been a burial site. This makes Göbekli Tepe the world’s oldest temple, a title it holds by quite a large margin. That the very first religious construction in the world that we know of is such a massive and elaborate creation seems strange, and only adds to the mystique of the site. The further study of Göbekli Tepe may teach us quite a bit about the origins of all human belief systems.

  • The Largest Top Stones Weigh Up To Ten Tons

    At the center of the construction of the various temples in Göbekli Tepe are a series of massive pillars topped with heavy stone blocks. The pillars themselves weigh tens of tons, with estimates ranging between 20 and 60 tons - which would have made even bringing them to the central location a Herculean task. That’s to say nothing of placing large stone blocks on top of them.

    The blocks themselves weigh up to ten tons, leaving archaeologists scratching their heads as to exactly how the ancient engineers building Göbekli Tepe got the job done.