The Secret of Gobekli Tepe: Cosmic Equinox and Sacred Marriage - Part 1
Göbeklitepe is an ancient and significant site which has been pushing back the beginnings of civilization further than we previously assumed. As each temple at the Neolithic site is excavated, the story of human history is rewritten.
Göbeklitepe is situated in the city of Şanlıurfa (or Urfa) Turkey and it stands out as one of the most interesting prehistoric archaeological sites today. As a result of scientific research, Göbeklitepe temples have been dated to 9600 B.C., at the earliest - in archaeological language it’s regarded as Pre-pottery Neolithic A.
The Göbeklitepe excavation site in Turkey. Yepyep/ Flickr
During the construction of Göbeklitepe there was no civilization as we know it, as there was in Sumer or Egypt. The discovery of Göbeklitepe caused a paradigm shift of archaeology: religion was evident before the advent of agriculture and permanent settlement, not after, as it was thought.
German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, head of excavations at the ancient site, Göbeklitepe may have played an influential role in the subsequent civilizations, just as Sumer and Egypt had .
Could the origins of Sumerian and Egyptian gods and goddesses be found here, in Göbeklitepe?
- Excavations reveal Gobekli Tepe had oldest known sculptural workshop
- The Forgotten Stones of Karahan Tepe, Turkey
- Göbekli Tepe & The Great Year
- World's oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe, built to worship Sirius?
Göbeklitepe hosts numerous circular and square shaped temples. Klaus Schmidt and other scientists claimed that these structures could be used to perform rituals and cultic beliefs, and it’s likely that Neolithic shamans headed the rituals held in these mysterious temples .
Six structures have been unearthed as a result of excavations since the beginning of the 1995 season. As of 2015, multiple structures are still being revealed. Temples were identified as A, B, C, D etc.
Common threads connecting the temples are two T-shaped pillars located in the center of the temples, with 10 or 12 pillars surrounding it. The heights of the pillars vary between 3 and 6 meters (10 and 20 feet). These T-shaped pillars can be found not only in Göbeklitepe, but also in other nearby Neolithic settlements like Nevali Çori, Hamzan Tepe, Sefer Tepe and Karahan Tepe.
Almost all pillars residing in Göbeklitepe have various animal reliefs on them, depicting the snake, fox, crane, boar and other assorted creatures. The reliefs show us a quite sophisticated sense of art. Besides the various animal sculptures, totem poles and signed tablets were also unearthed.
We see also ambiguous symbols on some pillars. In addition to “”H” and “I” symbols, several sun and moon symbols were found engraved on some pillars, revealed Schmidt. The sun and moon signs which were engraved on the Temple D center pillars are quite remarkable. The moon is depicted as crescent, and the sun is portrayed with a cavity in its center. Some of these symbols will undoubtedly be vital to solving the secrets of Göbeklitepe.
Many of the pillars at Göbeklitepe are engraved with symbols.
The astronomical meanings of these symbols is not controversial. With regard to their positions in the sky, the meaning of these symbols are likely to have cosmic or celestial significance. Perhaps Göbeklitepe temples were built as observatories for the purpose of observing celestial objects like planets and constellations.
Italian archaeoastronomer Giuglio Magli from Milano Polytechnical University propounds that Göbeklitepe temples may have been built for observing Sirius, the brightest star in night sky. According to Magli, the Göbeklitepe community might have celebrated the birth of this new bright star.
Likewise, another astronomer, B. G. Sidharth expresses that 12 pillars located around the center of Temple D could symbolize the 12 months of the year. Sidharth also thinks the “H” sign on one of the center pillars symbolizes the Orion constellation. He believes the sun and moon signs imply a solar eclipse . According to Schmidt, however, the H-like sign characterizes the male and female relationship . When examined closely, it does seem a kind of relationship between two individuals: both thrusting out their hands to one another.
Furthermore, Joe Plegge emphasizes that the holed stone in Temple D might have been designed for determining equinox and solstice days. He examines this theory in his book “ Turkish Stonehenge: Göbeklitepe ” .
- Enigmatic symbols and carvings in man-made cave in England confound experts
- The sacred symbol of the Djed pillar
- Unknown ancient god with astral symbols discovered on stele at cult site in Turkey
The center pillars which depict the “H” and sun-moon signs stylize the human body, as it is generally accepted. Arms and hands can be seen precisely. Human faces are not clear. It might be that they are not humans, but gods or goddesses of the Neolithic. We see arms bestride both sides of the pillar, and the hands come together on omphalos, or navel. This standing position might be considered special and perhaps sacred. Sumerian goddess Inanna was characterized in a standing position just like center pillars of Göbeklitepe. Likewise, huge statues of Easter Islands were constructed in this kind of sacred standing position (hands on omphalos). According to some, this posture symbolizes “birth” or “rebirth”.