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Selection of the recent discoveries made at Karahan Tepe and Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. Source: Author provided

New Statues and Fresh Insights from Karahan Tepe and Göbekli Tepe

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Remarkable new discoveries are coming out of the ground in southeast Turkey, bringing both Gobekli Tepe (9600 BC) and Karahan Tepe (9400 BC) back into the spotlight. Located just 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Göbekli Tepe, Karahan Tepe is part of the Taş Tepeler (Stone Hills) project. While excavations began in 2019, the site has been known to archaeologists since 1997.

Karahan Tepe is home to the oldest winter solstice alignment ever recorded and covers an area larger than Göbekli Tepe. But it was only in September 2023 that a new enclosure at the top of the hill revealed two remarkable statues, both unique to the site.

The first Karahan Tepe statue is the world’s earliest example of a realistic human depiction. Measuring 7 feet 6 inches tall (2.3 m), it was found broken in two, the top part recumbent on the floor. The legs appear to have been found in situ and were originally placed on the bench sitting upright.

The Karahan Tepe statue has a strong, wide “v-neck” motif, while it features clear ribs carved on it with a square raised protrusion between the ribs, with arms coming down its sides holding the area around his phallus. It is similar in style to Urfa Man (or the Balıklıgöl Statue) which dates 10,300 years, and resembles the panel at Sayburç.

Side view of the new statue unearthed at Karahan Tepe in Turkey. (Ismail Can)

Side view of the new statue unearthed at Karahan Tepe in Turkey. (Ismail Can)

The World’s Oldest Human Statue Discovered at Karahan Tepe

Karahan Tepe dates back 11,400 years, which makes the find of the human statue the oldest ever found on Earth. The differences between Urfa Man and Karahan Tepe Man are the eyes. While the Karahan Tepe statue includes eyes which have clearly been carved, the eyes on the Balıklıgöl Statue are black obsidian.

Another difference between the two is that the Urfa Man appears to be bald, whereas a notable beard and hairstyle are evident on the Karahan Tepe statue. The hairline also raises interesting questions because the Karahan Tepe statue appears to include a shaved area above the ears, much like a form of Mohican, a design we find on various statues from Gobekli Tepe.

When it comes to the Karahan Tepe statue, who is it that is being depicted and why is he so tall? For the Karahan Tepe statue stands at a remarkable 7 feet 6 inches in height (2.3 m), while Urfa Man is a mere 5 feet 9 inches tall (1.8 m). Is the statue therefore an early depiction of a giant? Could this be the first ever detailed human statue of an original Anunnaki of Sumerian tradition, or a Watcher from the Book of Enoch?

Human Statue next to T-pillar at Karahan Tepe. (Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

Human Statue next to T-pillar at Karahan Tepe. (Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

The New Enclosure at Karahan Tepe

The new enclosure at Karahan Tepe in which these were all found is equally interesting. When visiting the site with Andrew Collins and J. J. Ainsworth in September 2023, we were given permission to look at the partly excavated enclosure and were stunned by what we saw.

On the northern wall was a giant circular holed stone embedded in the wall between two large T-pillars. Immediately below, slightly to the right, the vulture statue was found, whilst to the immediate right the human statue was located originally placed on a stone bench.

The carved stone plate was placed on the floor in front of these Karahan Tepe statues. The vulture has a prominent beak and wings wrapped around the front showing sophisticated craftsmanship. It was as though these were all marking an important space within the enclosure.

The vulture statue discovered at Karahan Tepe. (The Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

The vulture statue discovered at Karahan Tepe. (The Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

Karahan Tepe Enclosure showing the stone plate, Vulture statue and human statue. (Author provided)

Karahan Tepe Enclosure showing the stone plate, Vulture statue and human statue. (Author provided)

What stunned us was that the enclosure appears to be orientated to approximately 20 degrees east of north, based on the position of the porthole stone, which is currently being analyzed by Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale due to its orientation to Deneb and Cygnus. This is especially notable as the vulture motif is linked with this constellation (the vulture is also on Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe). Collins told us:

“Accurate calculations were made on site, and using also Google Earth and the Stellarium sky program. What this shows is that this shows it that the enclosure was aligned at the time of its construction to the rising of the northern opening of the Milky Way's Dark Rift marked by the stars of Cygnus and in particular the bright star Deneb. The discovery within the enclosure of the standing vulture only emphasizes the Cygnus connection as the bird was the ultimate symbol of birth, death and rebirth among the Pre-Pottery and later Ceramic Neolithic peoples of Anatolia. Plus the stars of Cygnus in the Near East were identified as a vulture, something that is still present today in the star lore of the Armenians where Cygnus is Angegh, the Vulture. Armenians once inhabited this part of southeastern Anatolia.”

When we walked up close to the edge of the excavated area and looked down, we saw two gigantic T-pillars which would have been the central pair, and are estimated to be about 15 feet 7 inches (4.8 m) tall. After talking with some of the archaeologists, they claimed the enclosure could be larger than Structure AD (the main excavated enclosure) which is about 75 feet (23 m) wide.

Karahan Tepe’s new enclosure aligns through porthole stone towards Cygnus. (Turkish Ministry of Tourism - Author provided)

Karahan Tepe’s new enclosure aligns through porthole stone towards Cygnus. (Turkish Ministry of Tourism - Author provided)

Fertility Symbols

The symbolism of the giant human statue also closely resembles that of the Sayburç panel, another Taş Tepeler site west of Şanlıurfa. The strong male fertility motifs and the V-neck and ribs are strikingly similar.

This, along with Urfa Man, and other statues of men holding their phallus suggest that male fertility was a theme of the Taş Tepeler culture. This was a subject that may also relate to Structure AB, or the Pillar Shrine at Karahan Tepe. The 10 bedrock-carved pillars are notably phallic, and may be an early form of a “shiva lingam” of Vedic tradition.

Left to Right: Karahan Tepe’s Structure AB (Pillar Shrine). The Sayburç panel. Urfa Man. The new statue discovered at Karahan Tepe. (Author provided)

Left to Right: Karahan Tepe’s Structure AB (Pillar Shrine). The Sayburç panel. Urfa Man. The new statue discovered at Karahan Tepe. (Author provided)

Recent Discoveries at Göbekli Tepe

Furthermore, it was announced on the same day that a boar statue has been found in Enclosure D at Göbekli Tepe. Excavation and cleaning the site has taken place there in recent months, yet, like with Karahan Tepe, only a small fraction of the site has so far been excavated.

The boar statue and carvings are located just below the porthole stone in Enclosure D. The boar has pigments of white, red and black paint; whilst serpents, a snake head and an “H” are carved in relief on a recumbent slab, possibly part of a stone bench directly below it. 

The boar statue and carvings are located just below the porthole stone in Enclosure D. The boar has pigments of white, red and black paint; whilst serpents, a snake head and an “H” are carved in relief on a recumbent slab, possibly part of a stone bench directly below it.

Prof. Necmi Karul, Head of Gobekli Tepe excavations, was quoted by Anadolu Agency as remarking:

"The difference of this statue is that it is painted. In other words, the tongue and the hair layer on it are painted in their original colors. This makes the work different.” 

New discoveries in Enclosure D at Göbekli Tepe. (The Ministry of Culture and Tourism-Author Provided)

New discoveries in Enclosure D at Göbekli Tepe. (The Ministry of Culture and Tourism-Author Provided)

Furthermore, another porthole stone in Enclosure D has also been uncovered. It appears to be carved through a fallen T-pillar which is placed on its side in the wall.

New porthole stone (on right of picture) discovered in Enclosure D at Göbekli Tepe. (Youtube Screenshot)

New porthole stone (on right of picture) discovered in Enclosure D at Göbekli Tepe. (Youtube Screenshot)

Overall 12 excavations in the area have been listed as Taş Tepeler sites, a government project to reveal the vast and sophisticated culture that is now thought to have begun around 12,000 years ago, long before civilization was thought to exist.

With the find of the precise winter solstice alignment, and now these stunning new discoveries, the evidence is accumulating to suggest this was the world’s first super civilization, nearly 7,000 years before Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt.

Hugh Newman is the author of the new book Göbekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe: The World’s First Megaliths (Wooden Books). Published October 15th 2023.

Hugh Newman is the author of the new book Göbekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe: The World’s First Megaliths (Wooden Books). Published October 15th 2023.

He will be speaking at and launching the book at CPAK, The Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge 20-22 October 2023 in the US and at the Origins Conference on 4 November 2023 in Wiltshire, UK. He is also hosting tours to southeast Turkey.

Top image: Selection of the recent discoveries made at Karahan Tepe and Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. Source: Author provided

By Hugh Newman

 
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Hugh Newman

Hugh Newman is a world explorer, megalithomaniac and author of Earth Grids: The Secret Pattern of Gaia’s Sacred Sites (2008), co-author of Giants On Record: America’s Hidden History, Secrets in the Mounds and the Smithsonian Files with Jim Vieira (2015), and Stone Circles (2017). He... Read More

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