Forgotten Stones: Secrets of the Megalithic Quarries
Göbekli Tepe, Turkey: Lying half-a-mile across a tough limestone plateau from the main sacred mound, is a 22ft-long t-shaped monolith that, like many other examples around the world, never got finished or moved to the main temple site.
Karahan Tepe, Turkey: At the sister site to Gobekli Tepe, a famous 18 ft unfinished T-shaped pillar, that is over 10,500 years old still resides in the quarry.
Aswan, Egypt. In the famous granite quarries lies the largest Obelisk ever recorded. Cut out of granite, and estimated to weigh 1168 tons, it never got removed from the quarry that the pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt were built with.
Rapa Nui (Easter Island): Still reclining in the rock quarry alongside the edge of a volcano on Easter Island, is the largest Moai on the island. Unfinished and sleeping, it waits for the gods to return to erect the 270 ton Moai in to place.
Olmec Heartland. Mexico: Hidden within the Tuxtla mountains on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, a secret quarry was mined to create the huge basalt heads of the Olmec. They transported it through jungles, swamps, and mountains, and is still revered today by shamans
Stonehenge, England: 140 miles west of Britain’s premier stone circle, on a remote rocky hilltop in Wales, reside the remnants of the bluestones that are said to have magical healing powers and were transported by Merlin to Stonehenge.
Sacred Valley, Peru: On an opposing mountaintop to the Peruvian fortress of Ollantaytambo, gigantic, perfectly cut megalithic blocks line a forgotten path from the quarry to the bottom of the mountain, across a river.
Baalbek, Lebanon : The largest monolith in the world, weighing in at a staggering 1242 tons, still sits in the nearby quarry at Baalbek. No one know how they would have moved it in to place.
Today: Freemasons still carry out rituals at ancient quarries and local shamans revere them as sacred places.
These are just a few examples of what I believe is part of a very ancient tradition that the megalith builders partook in, that was passed down through multiple generations, and was part of a ritual technique that may have been seen to bring the stones to ‘life’ and imbue them with ‘power’, as well as leaving clues to future generations as to how they worked, quarried and moved these stones. It could be that only modern Freemasons and tribal societies still have access to this knowledge, but now in a more ritualized form. However, pioneers such as Edward Leedskalin who built Coral Castle, and engineers such as Chris Dunn, are part of a century long effort to uncover some of their secrets.
As we’ll see as we survey these sites worldwide, it quickly appears that the ancients deliberately left ‘signatures’, incorporating abstract style, technique, relief carvings, and even hidden geometry, metrology, geodesy and number systems. These covert practices lasted for thousands of years and may give a clue into their mindset and spiritual purpose. Today, we marvel at their achievements, so perhaps we should respect their incredible skill and ingenuity, and take a closer look into the secrets of the megalithic quarries.
Göbekli Tepe, Turkey
At least 6,500 years older than Stonehenge and 7,000 years before the pyramids were constructed, a cult megalithic complex sat atop the hills near current day Sanliurfa (ancient Edessa), in southeast Turkey. Göbekli Tepe was flourishing at an astonishing 12,000 - 14,000 years ago, and today, the preserved remains still exhibits high degrees of sophistication and megalithic engineering skill, but not all the monoliths made it to the main site.
An artist’s reconstruction of Gobekli Tepe, Turkey. Illustration by Fernando Baptista
In the nearby limestone quarry, lies a forgotten 22ft t-shaped pillar, which is several feet taller than anything yet discovered at the site. Firstly, it may be true that when the builders quarried them, they make them slightly larger than necessary as they would have had to carve them down accurately and slowly reveal the beautiful relief carvings that have been found here. The unfinished monolith rests on a slight slope about half-a-mile from the main mound. Klaus Schmidt and his team analysed the forgotten monolith and deduced that the technique employed must have been carried out “by surrounding their outer shapes with a small ditch which was made by ‘picking’ it out of the rock by hep of stone tools. By a second step, then the desired object was taken out of the rocky ground no easy task, but one which required planning, strength, skills and a considerable amount of manpower” (1). Then, of course, they had to lift, transport, and erect the pillars, which range from a few tons to around 40 tons. The pillar in the quarry is estimated to be at least 50 tons. Not bad, for a pre-agricultural group of hunter-gatherers.
Andrew Collins, author of Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, joined myself and a group of Megalithomaniacs to examine the unfinished monolith in June 2014. From eye-level it’s hard to make out, but when you climb up on top, you see the rough outline of the ‘T’ and evidence of tool marks. The thickness of it exceeds anything that exists at the main site, so they could have got at least two T-shaped pillars out of this. The size of it suggests they were from the earliest phase that Klaus Schmidt mentioned could be much older (2), even up to 14,000 years old.
As we walked back towards the main site, we noticed some squared blocks of limestone. Next to it was the vague outline of another t-shaped pillar. This one was about 12ft long and was badly weathered. This one has never been recorded before, and was another indication of how they worked this stone to produce the intricate completed monoliths that still stand in the main enclosures.
When looking at the rough limestone rock around both these monoliths, and knowing that the only tools they are known to have had were obsidian, pebbles and other rocks, it is remarkable that such intricate stonework could have emerged there in such an advanced state. There are no other sites earlier than this that show this kind of sophistication, except perhaps the megalithic walls, stone tower, and the bedrock ditch at Jericho, which prevailed around this time (3), yet experts propose that there must have been a pre-culture that existed long before 10,000 - 12,000 BC to somehow explain the advanced skills of the Göbekli stone-masons. It still does not explain the abstract artistic and architectural style, so I propose that a deep cultural insight occurred as ‘revelation’. Whether this was the discovery of some local psychoactive plant or the reaction to a cataclysm, or some other unknown wake up call, a paradigm shifting event may have occurred to stimulate the Neolithic revolution and result in the building of such sites as Göbekli Tepe. (See Andrew Collins Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods for a thorough investigation in to the origins of the Göbekli builders.)
I find it fascinating that even archaeologist Klaus Schmidt hinted that the quarrying of the stone may have been an important part of temple building: ”In ancient Egypt, the dragging and erecting of holy pillars was an important part of ritual events, and it seems as if there was no difference concerning the stone-age T-pillars” (4). He also goes on to say that there may be some kind of common origin, as the obelisks of ancient Egypt usually come in pairs in front of temples. At Göbekli, there are often two smaller pillars at the entrance, with the biggest T-pillars in the centre of the main enclosure, as though the initiate (or visitor) had to walk between them. At Stonehenge, the earliest phase had two monoliths at the entrance, suggesting this may represent an entrance to another domain, probably that of the ‘gods’ - whoever they were. The heaviest T-shaped upright pillar at Göbekli Tepe is at most 20 to 30 tons, whereas the one in the nearby quarry is clearly much larger and estimated to be 50 plus tons. Like at Aswan quarry in Egypt, the recumbent Moai on Easter Island, and the ‘Stone of the South’ at Baalbek, Lebanon, is this an example of a signature of the ‘gods’, whereby they deliberately abandoned the largest monolith and never actually fully removed it from the quarry? And was the quarry itself believed to be ‘sacred’? We’ll delve in to this in the next part of this series, as there are still rituals and traditions that take place at the megalithic quarries.
Part Two: Aswan Quarry, Egypt and Karahan Tepe, Turkey
By Hugh Newman
1.) Klaus Schmidt, Göbekli Tepe: A Stone-Age Sanctuary in South-East Anatolia p99
3.) Andrew Collins, Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods p.128
4.) Klaus Schmidt, Göbekli Tepe: A Stone-Age Sanctuary in South-East Anatolia p123