The Statues and Symbolic Gestures that Link Ancient Göbekli Tepe, Easter Island, and Other Sites Around the World
Ancient monuments left by mankind present an unsolved enigma: why do humanoid statues from many prehistoric sites— from those found at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey to those at Easter Island—all share similar postures? The signature and symbolic stances displayed on the incredible statues from locations around the world raise questions about what caused humanity to collectively repeat a ‘rebirth’ theme across great distances and time.
Göbekli Tepe 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, Göbekli Tepe temples have been dated to 9600 BC at the earliest — in archaeological language it’s regarded as Pre-pottery Neolithic A.
Göbekli Tepe is comprised of numerous temples made up of pillars weighing between 40 and 60 tons, and T-shaped stelas, or standing stones, with intricate depictions of bulls, snakes, foxes, lions and other animals carved into the stone. Yet the awe-inspiring site was supposedly built by ‘primitive’ Neolithic people who lacked sophisticated tools, causing speculation as to how it was built and why.
On closer look, arms and hands can be seen precisely on Göbekli Tepe pillars. Human faces are not clear. It might be that they are not meant to be humans, but symbols of gods or goddesses of the Neolithic.
Arms can be seen along both sides of the pillar, and hands come together on the omphalos, or navel. This standing position might be considered special and perhaps sacred. Sumerian goddess Inanna was characterized in a standing position just like as seen on the center pillars of Göbekli Tepe.
However, Göbekli Tepe is not alone in creating this kind of statue position.
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Likewise, the huge statues of Easter Islands were constructed in this style of sacred standing position, with hands on omphalos. According to researchers this posture symbolizes birth or rebirth. Additionally, in the oral tradition of the native people, Easter Island (or Rapa Nui) was originally named Te pito o te kainga a Hau Maka , meaning “The Navel of the World.”
Easter Island: Front view of moai statue made of basalt, called Hoa Hakananai'a ("Stolen or Hidden Friend"), from Orongo, Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Polynesia. Notice how the statue’s hands wrap around to the navel. Public Domain
Similar-styled statues can be found not only at Göbekli Tepe, but also at Nevali Çori and Kilisik Tepe (both in Turkey).
Comparisons of stones from Göbekli Tepe, Easter Island, and many other sites reveal similar significant characteristics, and encourage further research to find additional proofs from civilizations around the world.
Hands come together on the omphalos, or navel on monuments at many locations. Left: Gobekli Tepe. Right: Azerbaijan. Image via Özgür Etli.
Numerous other statue samples have been found in: Bolivia (Tiwanaku), Azerbaijan (Gobustan), Tahiti, Marquesas Islands, Colombia (San Augustine), Egypt, and Costa Rica as well. As can be seen, these countries are located in quite different parts of the world.
Bolivia: Statue from Tiwanaku, Bolivia. A symbol of regional power, the humanoid statue stands with hands over navel. Wikimedia Commons
Underwater statues and formations are especially interesting. Many of these finds are thought to have sunk during the last sea-level rises of last mini ice age.
In recent years, research results have shed light on surprising archaeological underwater finds such as the Yonaguni underwater monument findings in Japan.
Japan: Sunken formations of the Yonaguni Monument, Japan. Wikimedia Commons
The Yonaguni ruins were investigated by Dr. Masaaki Kimura over 15 years and his findings were that the formations are man made and dated to approximately 6000 BC. These assertions were published in a National Geographic article in 2007 entitled “Japan's Ancient Underwater Pyramid”.
Other underwater ruins have been found in the Gulf of Cambay, India. They are said to be over 9,000 years old, predating the Harappan civilization. The site was discovered by chance by oceanographers from India's National Institute of Ocean Technology while conducting a survey of pollution.
Carbon dating on pottery, beads, sculpture and human bones has reportedly found the artifacts to be nearly 9,500 years old. The find of the massive human presence so early in the record challenges the traditional model of the origins of civilization.
These underwater reminders of what came before remind us that humans had to suffer through great climatic changes and environmental upheaval.
We know a series of cataclysms dating to between 13,000 and 11,500 years ago occurred during the Younger Dryas, a mini ice age that ended abruptly 11,500 years ago. Scientific analysis of this period, in particular by science historian D.S. Allan, and Oxford-based geologist and anthropologist, J. B. Delair, describes a cosmic disaster 11,500 years ago that rearranged the solar system and severely impacted Earth. The theory follows that this trauma affected and changed human consciousness, and people had to acquire new skills to survive. For example, hunter-gatherers adapted, and learned to farm. Those who survived the dramatic climate change and the rising of the seas during the following few thousand years were a multi-traumatized species, afflicted with what is dubbed “catastrophobia”— a term coined to describe extreme fear of upheaval and chaos. This word is catching on now that paleoanthropologists have completed an accurate picture of global migrations and human settling over the last 100,000 years.
If only a single sample of these statues had been seen at Göbekli Tepe, it could be assumed that local belief and culture ruled just in this region of the world. But quite the contrary— these valuable artworks have been found in many different parts of our planet.
Hands come together on the omphalos, or navel. Image via Özgür Etli. Left: Gobeklitepe (BC 9600-9000). Right: First human-sized Statue (BC 12000, Urfa)
Posture figurines are found in virtually all pre-historic sites on both continents going back to 8,000 years ago, a sure sign of an originating culture thousands of years earlier. Image via Özgür Etli.
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As such, this indicates a probable 'rebirth' belief spread across the continents in the course of time. It is possible that traumatized communities generated common motifs, like the archetypes of Carl Gustav Jung, psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. In Jungian psychology, the archetype is a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.
For instance, death, afterlife, rebirth and fertility cults emerged in remote lands and also within the same epochs. How was this possible? When it comes to creating monumental statues, one can ask how people from distant regions around the world thought to build in similar-styled themes. What kind of relationship can be drawn between Anatolia (Asia Minor, Turkey) and Easter Island, located in the Pacific Ocean?
Colombia: In the world’s largest necropolis in San Augustin Archaeological Park in Colombia, megalithic humanoid sculptures have carved hands on their navels. Guillermo Vasquez / Flickr
The same hand and arm positions exist on the torsos of the Moai Easter Island statues which are relatively the same height at 15 feet (4.5 meters) as the Göbekli Tepe anthropomorphic figures. In 2010, when archeologists dug down below the Easter Island stone heads, it was revealed the limbs were resting on bodies with the same odd hand position. These tall humanoid statues, widely separated in distance, styled in the ‘Birthing Posture’ suggests that perhaps a global shamanic culture communicated this posture through art.
An interesting question come to mind when looking at these huge statues of Gobekli Tepe and
Easter Island. Why are they so huge compared to human beings? It is possible that in the
past, human beings had felt inferior and weak against nature and the universe, thus presenting themselves as ‘larger than life’ may have provided them with a greater sense of security in the world, conveying the message that they are also strong and powerful. Another possibility is that due to the extreme natural disasters faced by mankind, they may have believed the god or gods could not
see and realize them. They may have built large statues in order to be noticed by the gods.
In this image, the true size of the Easter Island statues can be seen in relation to the people in the background. ( Neil Howard / Flickr )
Very interestingly, the statues of Easter Island, Mexico, Costa Rica, Azerbaijan, French Polynesia, West Mesopotamia, Saharan Africa, Bolivia, Egypt, Tahiti, Colombia and Marquesas Islands reveal a similar form to Göbekli Tepe. Because of this surprising resemblance, some questions need to be asked: What links all of these mysterious places? What was the connection between these far lands during ancient epochs? For now there are no obvious answers, but with continued research, perhaps new information will be revealed, and the pieces of this ancient puzzle will fall into place.
Featured Image: Moais (stone statues) on Ahu Nau, Anakena Beach, Easter Island. Their hands wrap around their abdomens in a posture seen in many ancient statues around the globe. How did this become a common theme around the prehistoric world? Wikimedia Commons
 Özgür Barış Etli, The Secret Of Göbeklitepe: Cosmic Equinox and Sacred Marriage , 2015.
 April Holloway, Excavations Reveal Gobeklitepe Had Oldest Known Sculptural Workshop , 2014.
 Özgür Barış Etli, Ibid.
 Barbara Hand Clow, Göbekli Tepe's Shamanic Birthing Temple , 2014.
 Tom Housden. Lost city 'could rewrite history' . BBC News, 2002. [Online] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1768109.stm
 Allan, D.S., and J.B. Delair, Cataclysm! Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catacylm in 9500 B.C. , Santa Fe: Bear & company, 1997.
 Stanford, Dennis J., and Bruce A. Bradley, Across Atlantic Ice: The Origins of America's Clovis Culture , Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
 Easter Island Statue Project, 2014. [Online] www.eisp.org
 Felicitas D. Goodman, Where The Spirits Ride The Wind , Indiana University Press, 1990.