Gobekli Tepe is an unprepossessing archaeological site in Northern Mesopotamia – the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. No postcards of the site are on sale and no guidebooks. Indeed, the gatekeeper has only one book for sale and that’s an English translation of the work by Klaus Schmidt that first alerted the world to his significant discovery in southern Turkey near the Syrian border.
The archaeologists believe that Gobekli Tepe was built by hunter-gatherers somewhere in the period 7500BC – 9500BC, which means this site is at least 5,000 years older than Stonehenge and The Pyramids at Giza in Egypt. Gobekli Tepe was built just after the last Ice Age and yet people in those times weren’t supposed to build things, to carve stone, and to raise monoliths in the name of religion. Prior to the discovery of Gobekli Tepe it was thought that these hunter-gatherers just hunted, gathered, and then moved on in their nomadic existence. Those thoughts have to be rethought as these particular hunter-gatherers obviously had advanced building and artistic skills and a desire for something to worship. Their society had an artisan class, a priest class, and so was almost certainly hierarchical.
This is an extract from one of my stories in my forthcoming book “Travel Tales from Exotic Places like Salford”