Göbeklitepe’s Last Mystery Reveals Stone Tool Technology

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Located on a sunny hill in southeast Turkey, the world’s oldest religious shrine, Göbeklitepe, offers new insights almost every day, allowing scientists to dig deeper into human history.

A recent discovery revealed the traces of stone tool technology produced by the printing method transferred from Siberia to Göbeklitepe.

In Göbeklitepe, “Potbelly Hill” in Turkish, which is described as the “zero point of history” with its 12,000-year-old history, has uncovered many important artifacts and information belonging to the Neolithic period during excavations carried out since the day it was discovered.

The site bears witness to many firsts in history, such as during hunter-gatherer times when Göbeklitepe was built, people lived in groups of an average of 40 people. There were no inscriptions, wheels or even pottery, but the people of the time came together to build a temple. It was not only a temple but also a center where people of the time gathered. Additionally, excavations have revealed that people made huge shelters out of limestone. This was an unprecedented event in hunter-gatherer times.

This year’s excavations began with the aim of unearthing finds. Necmi Karul, the director of the Göbeklitepe excavation team, said excavations in some areas could even take 100 years.

Karul added that they plan to continue this year’s Göbeklitepe excavations which they started under the “Taş Tepeler Projesi” (“Stone Hills Project”), until mid-October.

“So far we have mainly focused on conservation during the process, but this year we have also created new excavation areas. Excavation work continues on the remains of the second layer at Göbeklitepe. structure called Temple D, which is placed in a protected area by placing a roof over it,” he said.

“There were areas dug into the ground, we excavated in new areas that had not been dug before. The excavation process will continue until mid-October at the Göbeklitepe and Taş Tepeler project sites. this year. That means a process of about five months,” he added.

He also drew attention to the fact that excavations must be carried out carefully.

Stressing that archeology is a developing science that uses new technologies, Karul said: “We believe that some of the archaeological sites should be protected as reserve areas. On the one hand, the balance between excavations and protection must go hand in hand, therefore, everything you discover is open to destruction.We determine how the excavations will take shape in the years to come by establishing this balance.


This year's excavations began with the aim of unearthing finds in Göbeklitepe, Şanlıurfa, Turkey, on July 9, 2022. (AA Photo)
This year’s excavations began with the aim of unearthing finds in Göbeklitepe, Şanlıurfa, Turkey, on July 9, 2022. (AA Photo)

Taş Tepeler, which can be roughly translated as “Stone Hills”, is considered to be the beginning of settled life where shelters turned into dwellings and actual villages that emerged 12,000 years ago. Composed of 12 main sites, the area includes Karahantepe, Harbetsuvan, Gürcütepe, Kurttepesi, Taşlıtepe, Sefertepe, Ayanlar, Yoğunburç, Sayburç, Çakmaktepe and Yenimahalle located in the Anatolian and Upper Mesopotamian regions. The findings obtained during these excavations are expected to shed light on humanity, ranging from people’s daily life to their religious life in prehistoric times.

Semih Güneri, director of the Caucasus Central Asia Archaeological Research Center at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, said they had access to new archaeological artifacts transferred from Siberia to Göbeklitepe, adding that there were stone tools produced by the impression method as evidence of the technology.

“We see the products of printing microblade technology developed by the ancient peoples of North Asia in 30,000 BC, in the Zagros Mountains region during the early Holocene. The technology is then transferred to the culture Göbeklitepe The printing microblades we work on are 2-5 mm in size They are tiny cutters They are precision tools used in the finest works by arranging them on bone material The production technology of stone tools was obviously moved from east to west about 7,000 kilometres,” he said.

Göbeklitepe, whose reputation goes beyond its borders, welcomes thousands of tourists every year.

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