The World's First Temple! Or ... Not? (Norman Costa)
October 13, 2011
by BARBARA J KING *
"In Turkey over 11,000 years ago, people created a massive structure at a hilltop site called Gobekli Tepe. After carving limestone pillars with all sorts of animal images, they hauled the 16-ton stones into multiple huge rings — without the help of wheeled vehicles or domesticated animals.
"I have been fascinated by this site for years. For one thing, Gobekli Tepe (the accepted story goes) was constructed by hunter-gatherers. When announced, this was major news. Ancient hunter-gatherers, who neither farmed nor lived in settled villages, had long been thought to be too simply organized to pull off anything on the scale of Gobekli Tepe.
"For another thing, the site is billed by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt as the world's first temple. This provocative claim led to a National Geographic cover story last June. To pinpoint the dawn of religious ritual would, of course, be a fantastic accomplishment for anthropology."
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