Archaeologists find 12,000-year-old pictograph at Gobeklitepe

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Excavations being conducted at the ancient city of Göbeklitepe in Turkey have uncovered an ancient pictograph on an obelisk which researchers say could be the earliest known pictograph ever discovered.

A pictograph is an image that conveys meaning through its resemblance to a physical object. Such images are most commonly found in pictographic writing, such as hieroglyphics or other characters used by ancient Sumerian and Chinese civilizations. Some non-literate cultures in parts of Africa, South America and Oceania still use them.

“The scene on the obelisk unearthed in Göbeklitepe could be construed as the first pictograph because it depicts an event thematically” explained Director of the Şanlıurfa Museum, Müslüm Ercan, to the Hurriyet Daily News . Ercan is leading the excavation at Göbeklitepe. “It depicts a human head in the wing of a vulture and a headless human body under the stela. There are various figures like cranes and scorpions around this figure. This is the portrayal of a moment; it could be the first example of pictograph. They are not random figures. We see this type of thing portrayal on the walls in 6,000-5,000 B.C. in Çatalhöyük [in modern-day western Turkey].”

The ‘Vulture-Stone’.

The ‘Vulture-Stone’. Credit: Alistair Coombs

The artifacts discovered in the ancient city have provided information about ancient burial traditions in the area in which bodies were left in the open for raptors such as vultures to consume. According to Mr Ercan, this enabled the soul of the deceased to be carried into the sky. It was called “burial in the sky” and was depicted on the obelisks in Göbeklitepe. Such rituals were conducted in and around the city around 12,000 years ago.
Many of the items discovered on the site have not been seen before anywhere else in the world and thus are the first of their kind to be discovered.

Göbeklitepe is situated on the top of a hill about 15 kilometres away from Sanliurfa in South-eastern Turkey. The city can be dated back to 10,000 BC and consists of a series of circular and oval shaped structures that were first excavated by Professor Klaus Schmidt supported by the German Archaeological Institute. Schmidt travelled to the site having heard about it from accounts of other previous visits by anthropologists from the University of Chicago and Istanbul University in the 1960’s. Both institutions ignored the site, believing it to be nothing more than a medieval graveyard.

Artifacts found on the site indicate that the city was intended for ritual use only and not as a domain for human occupation. Each of the 20 structures consists of a ring of walls surrounding two T-shaped monumental pillars between 3 metres (9 feet) and 6 metres high (19 feet) and weighing between 40 and 60 tons.

Enormous T-shaped pillars at Göbeklitepe.

Enormous T-shaped pillars at Göbeklitepe. Credit: Alistair Coombs

Archaeologists believe these pillars are stylised representations of human beings because of the human appendages carved into the stone. These images are accompanied by those of animals including foxes, snakes, wild boars, cranes and ducks.  

The archaeologists believe Göbeklitepe was used as a religious centre. Geo-radar work has revealed evidence of 23 temple structures in the area. Two of the obelisks in the city were constructed in the form of a letter T and are positioned opposite each other within a circle of smaller, round obelisks.

Ercan said that the museum at Şanlıurfa contains a small sculpture of a pig that was discovered in front of the central stelas in the ‘C’ temple at Göbeklitepe. Such statues may have depicted sacred beings.

Work on the basic infrastructure of a roof to cover the site and help preserve its structures and artefacts has just been completed, ready for the construction of the roof itself. This is an EU project and the archaeologists aim to complete it in eight months’ time. 

Featured image: Göbekli Tepe in Turkey is the oldest known temple in the world. Photo source: Wikimedia

By Robin Whitlock


In the second picture of the three, in between the vultures, that structure reminds me of sheafs of wheat. Could that be possible? Or what is that? In the third picture you can see clearly that the T-shaped stones look like bigger than life size human beings as the text says. That reminds me of John Allegro who held the opinion that the oldest religions of the Middle-East were partially inspired by the use of Amanita Muscaria. Because one of the effects of that use is that either you feel as if you're flying or as if you’re a giant. (And I speak out of my own experience.....)


Γνῶθι σεαυτόν

As I read article it reminded me of similar post mortem practice in some areas in Nepal?/Tibet? By Buddhists. I viewed tho in an NHK (JAPAN) documentary in zEnglish. Bodies are chopped by priests and brought to mountain top in special area for birds of prey to consume.

this was a dinning hall and you didn't want to be invited. It was probably "filled in intentionally" by noah or his kids who knew what it had been used for.

Gobekli Tepe is a message about the origin of humankind. It is pre-Annunaki and is not a religeous site. It was carefully covered to protect it from the(then) coming World Cycle which would have destroyed the message. We have missed its message for the past one or two cycles and are now entering another. We should read it, rebury it and leave messages all around the world for our descendants to find before we are totally wiped out.
The story is that if we'd found this the first time we would have been living in a Star Trek world for thousands of years by now.

No matter how far back in time we go, there has been knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes and the Zodiac (animal circle). These stones set in a circle with animals carved on them represent the signs and ages of the Zodiac. The Zodiac is a calendar which measures the cycles of the sun, 12 cycles of 2160 years each, with the revolving constellations being symbolized by animals. The purpose of Noah's Ark was to convey "the animals" through the period of destruction, from one age of the Zodiac to the next. Perhaps Noah's Ark has been discovered. By the way, the significance of the birthday of Jesus is that it marks the beginning of the Age of Pisces - which means about 144 more years until the next "flood." Aquarius is the man with the pitcher of water. Unfortunately, it seems it has already started to rain.

Your comment good sir just seems to much like a Space Gordon adventure, not sure if it's an overactive sci-fi imagination or to much acid in the old days. I've never really bought into the theory that the site was buried by the creators of this massive site...the logistics of this massive undertaking just does not seem possible or probable ..more likely it was some planetary natural disaster that occurred some 12,000 years ago...which makes more sense ....People like to buy into these fantastic theories like that of the Heaven's Gate so called religious cult ...when back in 1997 39 members of this group committed suicide in order to reach the ET. space ship that was following the Comet Hale–Bopp. .... However we are all individuals with different thoughts and opinions and thats what makes these types of discussions interesting ...

Seems to me they are corrals that wild animals were herded into and trapped.

I usually dont get on peoples opinions. But please, this is a MAJOR discovery of our human race from over 12,000 years ago. They deeper they dig the more massive the structures are, the first ones they uncovered are the least advanced. the deeper the go the more intense and larger they become meaning the technology was more advance. Not only that. ALL they structures was filled in on purpose to protect and hide them over 3000 years ago. This was a major religious, social, learning center of pre history that we know of. Much is still to be gleemed about this awesome site.

I must point out, as a hunter, that I frequently make traps of multiton stones, because that's the easiest way to trap tasty animals on high mountain peaks.


It is clear that these pictograms represent a history, and included in that history, if current professional interpretations are correct, is the devastating impact and airburst of numerous cometary fragments that are also believed to have caused the Younger Dryas just prior to the time these stela were constructed.

The information conveyed to their progeny with these monoliths was stored on media that was persistent through such cataclysm, megaliths, in a universal language, pictograms of the zodiac etc...

This was a sophisticated record from a people who understood very well the change over time of language, and the delicacy of other forms of written record, implying a society that was familiar with the pests and other destructive processes that make paper and parchment so temporary.

With cranes and power tools we might be able to recreate such a construction today, but it is notable that we do not use such megaliths, and reflect on why that is. It is much easier and cheaper to build with smaller stones and bricks. However things constructed thusly are far less durable.

The only reason people have used megaliths to build is to make things endure. That these megalithic structures around the world have indeed endured millenia, while nothing else has, is self evident.

Could be some sort of ark like commenarating the events of noah and the ark and the flood.

Truly a sign from God that it was hell on earth before the angels came and flooded the baddies, hopefully they can right it in a tesxt book before a zionist distorts the truth

Is the Face o' One o' the Gobeklitepean Creators Hidden in the Vulture Stone?

t'the right o'the bird balancin' the head on its wing're the partial forms o' three other birds

taken t'gether these form the profile of a face

the head an' curved beak o' the first bird form the face's eyebrow
the triangle of its partial forebody forms the face's nose
its extended spindly legs form the face's moustache

the second even more partia'ly formed bird forms the rest o' the face's eye an' cheek bone

an' the third lower bird forms the face's lower lip an' bearded chin

Lookin' at the Shigir Idol markings [here http://siberiantimes.com/PICTURES/SCIENCE/Big-Shigir-Idol/inside%20faces...

It's 11000 years old full o' zigzags-cum-zigzaggy extended *limbs* hidden faces posin' as genitalia etc some o' which faces might be construed as havin' a certain triangularity akin to the triangular nosed profile seemingly hidden on the Vulture Stone

similar *Atlantis period*



those HYPER extended limbs may allude to or be the source of two usually unassociated traditions

i] shamanic style siddhis associated with the fantastical manipulation or extension of limbs eg single strides causing the individual to travel 7 leagues or the ability to reach out/up an' touch other worlds like the moon etc etc etc

ii] giants

might giants in fact've originally been a way of ref'rencin' individuals like the sasquatch-like Hanuman possessed o' such abilities?

might giants've then built Gobeklitepe perhaps to turn others into giants?

Why are you writing like that?
It's not very readable and makes it sound like it was written by some whiskey drinkin', pickup drahvin', good ol' boay who don' no nuthin bout no templ's 'cept the ones Our Lord Jesus Christ dun make me and mah wife and s'ster, Moreeen, guh t' on t'sabbath.

If you want what you write to be listened to and respected then stop with the cute talk.

Y'all tek care nah!

Could it be possible that the "temples" represent actual people who were sky buried, and this is where people would come to honor them?

What we know for sure from this picto is that art and artists existed in 8000 BC

What we know for sure is that the artists and the people living around him knew what the picto was meant to convey.

What we may NOT know for sure in the 21st century is what is it that the artist was trying to convey.

To add to the conjecture that this picto depicts some sort of a dead body disposal ritual, it reminds me of similar creation rituals in neighboring Persia during the Zoroastrian period around 500 BC. .Even today, the Persian community in India leave their dead in "The Towers of Silence" for vultures to consume.

Were any alphabetic inscriptions found on the site? If not, does this mean that the written language did not exist in 8000 BC?

Perhaps it was lodge/school where people gathered to trade hunting
stories and share knowledge.

Admittedly, it has been many years since I took any archaeology courses, but the definition of pictograph was anything that was painted on a wall or structure, while something chipped, pecked, or sculpted was a petroglyph. These images would therefore be petroglyphs. I think also that the definition in the story is misleading, since most rock art does not show a "resemblance to a physical object," but are geometric figures or shallow holes (cupules).

It's also disappointing that there is no mention of methodology in determining the age of these petroglyphs. As I recall, pictographs can often be dated by analyzing organic pigments, but that petroglyphs provide a greater challenge.

I love how this discovery is already changing the history books. Our collective understanding of our common history as humans is now in question. This area was obviously not a city or long term dwelling place. I would be highly surprised if they ever find the trash pit. I know that sounds silly,,,but everywhere there is poof of human habitation there is always the trash pit. The experts will never admit it,,,but 90% of what we know about early man is from the trash they left behind. The burn pits,,,the waste pits,,,and the graves. Not a single instance of any of that has been found here. Do you fint this odd? I do not. We as a species sell ourselves short on our own history. Its not easy to admit that we have a history so far back in the mist of time that we have no memory nor written account of it. The technology needed,,the planning,,the tools,,,the organization needed to build this monument did not spring out of the ground over night. The key to understanding this mystery will be in admitting the use of tools and technology at that time in our history. I believe this monument was built with technology developed over a vast amount of time in human history that we know nothing about. But in time. With luck. With faith,,,we will discover the truth of our origins. Something came before this building complex

Could it be that this site is Noahs Ark and that the flood described in the legend is the last ice age.

Good point. Thanks for posting.

I'd the same response when I saw the place. Its in the area "among the mountains of Ararat", as the 2nd-hand (at least) Biblical story describes it, where the Ark is reputed to have 'landed'. Other features resemble the Sumerian descriptions of Utnapishtim's Ark - cubical but round & too huge to float.

I think its a great theory that the Ark was built from stone to survive the ravages of a coming ice age in order to preserve the knowledge of animal husbandry. Gobekli Tepe is certainly a work of genius as I think most would agree.

The Ark stories may have been couched in boat-building terms merely for the benefit of a boat-building culture/audience. The Ark was not necessarily a boat & the deluge not necessarily a water flood.

So yes, it could well be Noah, Utnapishtim, Atrahasis, Ziusudra's vessel.

I can’t understand why people continually miss the point of the importance of this find. Instead of trying to decode 11,000 year old pictographs (which is basically hopeless) or lamenting on the possible uses of the site by relating it to modern day religious sensibilities (which is beyond ridiculous), How about marvelling at the workmanship and tenacity of the people who have constructed this mind-blowingly magnificent site! How did they manage it? Stones cut and transported, then erected without tools. Stories carved into rocks before written language....without tools people! What was harder than rock back then? Perhaps they found and used a harder type of rock from a different region (that in itself is fascinating), we may never know but suppose they did...then imagine chipping away a design in bedrock with a rock, cutting out stone pillars thousands of tons in weight, somehow transporting it (and many like it) to another site, erecting them and carving stories in them! That's the real point here folks…its mind-blowing stuff. What happened to that technology? Also don’t dismiss that some believe that Neanderthal man was constructing rudimentary stone rings thousands of years before so…was this borrowed technology? Forget about the whyfor’s or spiritual significance. The how is the important stuff.

we are curious by nature, to try and understand why it was built is just as important to how it was built. Our species has accomplished many incredible examples of workmanship in the its history. Both are mind shattering on there own levels but i personally think if we can understand the people in whatever way shape or form maybe then we can start answering some bigger questions that you have presented yourself.

The world if full of ancient mysteries ..far to many to list here ..It's a fascinating subject ....
there are literally thousands of huge stone circles in Africa that baffle people studying them It's just everywhere and I think there is so much more to find ..lots of sunken cities to be found lurking in the oceans of the world ...It just goes on and on ..kinda over whelming to consider the amount of work that has gone on to create all these fantastic places ...the city of petra is fantastic ...to name one
The Kailashnath Temple in Maharashtra, India ...is another ...

Fascinating. Early Christian cult upbringing instilled lifetime interest in prehistory, plus respect for those in the field. Wish I knew more and had more experience. Thanks greatly for the information. Wonderful photos...more info requested. Of course!

the 12 blind men describing an elephant by touch...such are the comments here...makes me laugh when one of them criticizes another because of the difference in their comment technique...i guess even a pile of stones arranged in a certain way brings out hate from the haters

I like your analogy of the 12 blind guys describing an elephant ..Yeah we are all different ain't we ...
different brain configuration different chemicals in different balances,,lacking this to much of that ...thats what makes us the individuals that we are ...Hate and violence seems to be a somewhat domineering human trait in much of our population ..If we had 6 guys peaking on acid in a pitch black closet with butcher knives do you think the out come would be peaceful and non violent ??

What no one seems to mention is; the stele of people are dressed in robes, very advanced for civilization that they told us were hunters dressed in animal skins etc.

They don't seem like the fact that they MUST rewrite the history books totally and STOP trying to convince us we only became advanced when Roman Catholic or Greeks made us so.

We've been highly advanced for a VERY LONG TIME!!! Just need to look for it, at the evidence.

Gobekli Tepe is not some monument where communal rituals honoring ancestors was practiced. The truth screams out to anyone who has fundamental knowledge of the Bible. The "T" sections at the top of the columns represent Noah's Ark. The columns represent the raging seas of the flood. Animals are climbing down and descending ramps. Large human caricature’s appear on reliefs on the column’s wearing woven clothes, finished belts and stylized built buckles.
It is critical to note that during this period agriculture was not even invented (or so we're told.) There were no woven fabrics or textiles or any kind. 11500 years ago, we are led to believe there were only hunter-gathers, clothed at best in furs and hides held to their bodies with thongs. There supposedly was no wood construction 11500 years ago - yet animals are depicted descending ramps. There is only one explanation: mainstream science is wrong. The Bible is correct. The Great Flood did happen. Animals of every type were compelled to board the ark; and descend it again and disperse; exactly as depicted at Gobekli... Finally, no one understands why the people who used the sites buried them. The reason is obvious. They made it a Time Capsule so future generations would have the story. They simply cannot face the truth even when it is carved in stone... literally in front of thier faces...
Praise God!! He is real... The Bible is truth...
Titus Corleone

im not saying you are wrong but i dont think until further investigation of this site could we come to a good understanding of what it was for, we still dont have a full proof answer for the pyramids and when we think we have a pretty solid answer time begins to crack it, if it was a story of the flood why would it be carved in stone when god would later have it written into the bible?

The site may have been a Antediluvian dated from 4,096 to 2,370 BCE. It is NOT 12,000 years old. How did they date that with radiometrics? The site bears a striking resemblance to Rapi Nui (aka Easter Island). The letter T is seen in the top hats of the Moai. The horn-bill birds are similar to the "bird men" of Easter Island. Look at the hands of the Moai, looks like the same hands on belly here. That is NOT a human head. It is a bird's egg.

It could have been some Antediluvians who witnessed Utnapishtim (aka Noah) gather his beasts together for decades before the flood of 2370 BCE. The fertility symbols and giants have some bearing to Moses' words at Genesis 6th chapter. Out of fear of drowning they made effigies of their gods/deities in desire to survive Utnapishtim's prophecies of their impending demise. This area was only 250 miles from where Noah was operating as the "remote one" in the Steppes Region some 4,000+ years ago.

The T shape was ostensibly a reference to the deity TAMMUZ who was represented by the TAU symbol or the letter T. Later Sumerians would adopt this after the flood. This is an ancient temple but not to the Hebrew God YHWH who brought the flood. It was obviously an ancient pagan temple of the disobedient humans who sided with the fallen-ones and their chimeric offspring "the giants" (aka nephilim).

The only ancient "MESSAGE" here is disloyalty/disrespect to YHWH sucks! Don't do it! You won't like the outcome...

Its more than 2600 years old statues for sale

The great flood happened around 10.900 BC. These ruins like many others forming the largest, most impressive structures around the world where buried with mud when the "great deludge" was triggered by the Annunaki to wipe out their human creations. Scientists are completely stupid to disregard this fact, documented across all cultures on tablets and told in storied to this day. Most of these stories have been found to match the archaelogical record, so why disregard that there was a flood, that civilization and life etc. was brought here by aliens and dates 100.000 of years back. We would do the same thing if we had the technology!

Kristian: I'm curious for some references to support your statements about a 10.9 kya flood? To what archaeological records do you refer?

That we had a great global flood is evident from the fact it is mentioned across +50 ancient cultures spanning all continents. Also from clear geological evidence such as water erosion on the Sphinx and many other such erosion marks across the world dating from around that time. Also the ice cores in large parts of Antarctica are roughly 10k years old. Of course, all the stories across ancient cultures, from China, India, Sumeria, Mayas, Aztecs etc. Are so similar because they are based on actual historic cataclysms, not fiction. We are stupid to think they were stupid when they could build such amazing structures and had as much mathematical, architectural and astrological knowledge if not more than we have even today!!

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