World’s First Known Religious Temple at Göbekli Tepe
Perhaps 12,000 years ago in what is now Turkey near the Syrian border, humans were constructing monumental stone works that are puzzling us today. The stunning thing about this site of ruins is that some of it is hardly ruined at all compared with Egyptian, Greek, Mayan or even the ruins of the Soviet Union only a few decades ago. Megalithic constructions built anywhere from 5000 to 20 years ago may be barely recognizable husks of their original splendor. In Göbekli Tepe however, the people (an extremely mysterious unknown culture, except for what archeologists are just now discovering and guessing) buried these constructions presumably for safe keeping, creating the time capsule that was only recently discovered (sometime after 2000 the real significance of the site was realized). Some of the world’s most ancient religious carvings are the most cleanly carved and well-preserved once the rubble is removed.
National Geographic’s recent article about it is called “The Birth of Religion” and it proposes the theory that the urge to worship led people to come together and form civilization. It feels to me like this discovery should call us to think again how very little we know about early man and look sceptically at current theories, not just re-tune the same theories without much evidence or reason. This discovery is only the oldest existing, found-so-far “religious” temple. It tells us almost nothing about the birth of religion. Animals are depicted in the carvings – boars, cranes, foxes, scorpions, spiders, vultures, gazelles, lions, bulls and snakes. It is still confusing to speculate about the artifacts at Göbelki. How can religious or spiritual animism be tied to the origin of civilization. We know that these people put what would seem to be some considerable effort in to building stone temples with animals carvings. We don’t know much yet about the people and this discovery only shows us we don’t really know when or where civilization began.