Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Human figures, wild animal reliefs unearthed in 11,000-year-old Gobeklitepe tumulus

Source:Turkish Daily News

A team of archaeologists working at the Gobeklitepe tumulus in the southeastern city of Sanl?urfa came across human figures without heads as well as reliefs of scorpions, snakes and wild birds on obelisks belonging to the Neolithic period, the head of the team announced on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference at the ancient city, excavation team leader Klaus Schmidt of the German Archeological Institute in Berlin stated that Gobeklitepe was an 11,000-year-old site of worship established by the hunter-gatherer people of the time.

"During this year's excavations we came across human figures without heads, and we discovered a human figure for the first time since we started working here 12 years ago. This is a remarkable development. Remains give us important clues regarding the future of the excavations," Schmidt said.

He said excavations in Gobeklitepe brought to light the monumental architecture and the advanced symbolic world of the hunter groups that existed prior to the period of transition to production.

Schmidt said they also discovered the remains of nearly 20 round or elliptical structures 30 meters in diameter in the area.

According to Schmidt, the animal figures on the obelisks unearthed this year in Gobeklitepe have different characteristics. "Animal figures drawn by the people of the Neolithic era may represent the 'watchman' of the period," said Schmidt, adding that similar human figures were previously encountered in the ancient tumulus of Catalhoyuk, which is 2,000 years younger than Gobeklitepe.

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