Friday, July 27, 2012

Turkey 25: Gobekle Tepe Close Ups

One of the things that makes Gobekli Tepe so special is the decorations on many of the stones have been carved in high relief. Carving in high relief means that the design sticks out from the block, as seen here.
Current theories on the history of mankind would have us believe that the folks back around 9,000 BCE were "primitive" hunter/gatherers.  All aspects of this site belie that notion.  In the first place, carving designs in high relief is exponentially harder than carving a design into the stone.

Secondly, the larger, center stones range in height from around 15 to 18 feet and weigh from 11 to 22 tones each.  Consider the task of quarrying heavy stones that large, shaping them, then transporting them up to this hilltop. 

That type of effort required a huge amount of engineering, sophisticated stone carving ability, manpower, and organization.  There also had to be a significant perceived benefit, or need, in order to expend that much effort to construct the place.  We have no idea what that benefit, or need, might have been.  So far, all we have are guesses.
The top portion of this stone was carved in low relief, or into the stone.  Notice how the fox is partially buried, suggesting this stone is not in its original position.

Which brings up another point.  Clearly portions of the site were reused, remodeled or repaired,which suggests that that some of the circles were very old indeed when they were buried.

Another interesting oddity of the site, according to National Geographic, is that the best circles are the oldest.  The construction quality deteriorates over time.  The same thing, for what it's worth, happened in ancient Egypt. 

This pillar and several others like it suggest the pillars might represent a man.  However, the tops of these pillars have no faces, so the actual intent of the hand designs are not known.

A close up of the hands and what could be some kind of belt.

Another partially buried stone, but this time with the boar on the bottom instead of the fox.  

When it was time to retire each circle, 390 to 650 cubic yards of debris were moved in to systematically bury it.  Assuming that modern dump trucks are capable of carrying 27 cubic yards of material, that's the equivalent of 14 to 24 modern dump truck loads of dirt.  Imagine moving that much material by hand.  In Robert Schoch's opinion, the amount of effort involved to bury a circle was actually more that it took to build a it.

Continue on to Post 26: Gobekli Tepe Conclusion, by clicking here.


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