Anatolia’s Gōbekli Tepe And New Mexico’s Pueblo Bonito – Similar Necropolis Sites?
How would one describe Gōbekli Tepe, and all the other Tepe sites in the Şanlıurfa Province, south-eastern Anatolia? One might opine that these ancient sites contain a cluster of circular enclosures, with many rectangular buildings behind them. The circular enclosures often contain benches around the perimeter, and two monolithic standing stones in the center. And there is a possibility that these enclosures were roofed, and perhaps oriented with cosmic alignments or symbolism. Astonishingly one can find similar structures at the opposite side of the globe, at Puerto Bonito in the Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
The archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe: main excavation area with four monumental circular buildings and adjacent rectangular buildings (Image: German Archaeological Institute, photo E. Kücük )
Between 900 and 1150 AD, Chaco Canyon, situated in north-western New Mexico, was a major center of culture for the ancestral Puebloans. Here are several large building complexes that were initially thought to be towns; or, since they are walled, perhaps they qualify as citadels. The handful of these so-called citadels that reside within the Chaco Canyon all contain a cluster of seemingly ritual circular enclosures, plus many rectangular buildings behind them. The circular enclosures often contain benches around the perimeter, and sockets in the center that may have contained standing stones. And there is a possibility that these enclosures were roofed, as the circular sockets are thought to have held wooden pillars; and the entire Chaco site is replete with solar and lunar alignments.
So even on the surface, there are many similarities between the Gōbekli Tepe and Chaco sites that are intriguing, to say the least. But there is more. These Chaco Canyon sites, especially the main Pueblo Bonito ‘citadel’ - have been re-evaluated in recent years, because there is no real sign that these vast citadels were actually inhabited. Many of the tall ‘apartment blocks’, which reach up to four floors in height, have no easy access (no corridors); the individual rooms have no natural light; and there are no chimneys to allow fires for cooking or for warmth. In other words, these multi-story room complexes are completely hopeless and unusable as apartment blocks, which begs the question: what were these vast citadels, and their prison-like rooms, really for?
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By: Ralph Ellis