The oldest temple in the world could have another purpose
The northern hemisphere of the Earth was covered with huge glaciers when a group of hunter-gatherers in southern Turkey began construction of a structure known as the world's first temple. The site, called Gobekli Tepe,was built about 12,000 years ago,and some parts of it are considered by scientists to be even older. This ancient temple was so extensive and complex that archaeologists have been busy excavating since its discovery in 1994. The research found strange images of animals, tall stone pillars and the earliest known evidence of religious rituals. But despite all these years of work, scientists can not yet answer one question: who built it and why?
The appearance and age of Gobekli-Tepe for decades captured the imagination of archaeologists. They were written in the press and made documentaries, built countless conspiracy theories, from aliens to statements about ancient, technologically advanced civilizations. Some scientists, not affiliated with the main excavation team, suggest that Gobekli-Tepe was actually an astronomical observatory.
There is at least two evidence that this temple was used to study the sky. First, it was perfectly constructed in terms of observing celestial bodies, with its domed shape and flat surface. Most likely, the observatory was mainly used to observe the star Sirius, because the locals worshipped it, as well as other cultures in the region thousands of years later.
In addition, some carved images in Gobekli Tepe depict the impact of a comet that struck Earth at the end of the Ice Age.
So far, scientists can't definitively answer this question. For more than 25 years, researchers have struggled to install temple columns on their original site, but the original layout of this stunning building remains a matter of debate. This deprives archaeologists of the opportunity to know for sure whether Gobekli-Tepe had any astronomical significance.
An aerial view of Gobekli-Tepe shows its vast expanses. All this was created by human hands more than 10,000 years ago.
This amazing place is located in the center of the Fertile Crescent, a region of the Middle East historically considered the birthplace of agriculture and writing. Nevertheless, Gobekli-Tepe was built before people in the region started farming.
At first glance, Gobekli-Tepe looks like a normal hill. It was first explored in the 1960s, when several meagre stone structures were discovered on top of the hill, but then rolled up because they thought there was nothing there. In 1994, when Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute was finishing excavations in a nearby settlement, he decided to re-explore the top of Theobekli Tepe hill.
In the following years, the staggering scale of its discovery became evident. The whole hill was built by people. All this dirt hides dozens of buildings scattered around the territory of about 500 meters wide.
Most of the pillars of the structure are decorated with decorative carvings with images of animals such as snakes, foxes, wild boars, birds and other creatures. People believed that all living beings had spirits, and worshipped them.
But why did people need to use such a structure as an astronomical observatory at that time? Shortly before its construction, the era of the late drias, the final stage of the last glaciation, began. The cause of its origin has not yet been known, but several finds of scientists suggest that the global drop in temperature could begin after the fall of the huge comet.
The same drawings that scientists have linked to the fall of the comet
In 2017, archaeologists said they had found a column depicting a variety of animals - scientists have suggested that the drawings and their location correspond to astronomical constellations. According to the opinion, the so-called Vulture Stone, carved on a pillar in Gobekli Tepa, is the "mark of the date" of the catastrophic impact of the comet 13,000 years ago.
Gobekli-Tepe appears to have been, among other things, an observatory to observe the night sky," says Martin Sweetman,a chemical engineer at the University of Edinburgh and lead author of the study. "One of his pillars served as a monument to this destructive
While there is still no conclusive evidence that Gobekli-Tepe was built as an astronomical object, that doesn't mean it wasn't. Archaeologists believe that evidence of the temple's alleged connection with the stars is still buried right under the sand. And they'll find it.