Topic: Turkey's Göbekli Tepe
Speaker: G. Frank Oatman
Location: Kit Carson Electric - 118 Cruz Alta Rd, Taos
When: March 11, 2014, 7 PM
Turkey's Göbekli Tepe, humankind's earliest megalithic site-- with a few words on nearby Ҫatalhöyůk, one of the Earth's earliest villages.
When the hilltop site of Göbekli Tepe was discovered in 1994, and its origins were dated to c. 11,000 - 11,500 years Before Present (BP), it sent intellectual shock waves around the world. To date, 7 stone circles or rectangles have been excavated; but via ground-penetrating radar it appears that as many as 15 additional such enclosures may exist at the site. Most circles are c. 40-50 feet in diameter with wall benches and plastered floors, over which tower at each circle so far excavated 7 to 9 huge, carved, T-shaped stone pillars, some of them beautifully and realistically carved with figures of insects, birds, animals, perhaps humans. All this is being uncovered in remarkably fine condition as the entire large site was intentionally and entirely buried all at once c. 8,200 BP, so that there appeared thereafter only the smoothly rounded top
of the local area's highest hill.
What has so astounded the world are both the scale and the incredibly early dates of Göbekli Tepe. It was built when humans were only on the verge of agriculture, without yet any domesticated food animals or crops, with no permanent villages, and not yet even making ceramic vessels. That bands of hunter-gatherers could so organize themselves as to create humankind's first megalithic structures, and ones so large and aesthetically impressive, flew in the face of most theories of how and when human culture developed and progressed. Göbekli Tepe pre-dates Stonehenge by c. 6,000 years; it predates the first Egyptian pyramid by c. 7,700 years!
Via Göbekli Tepe, we now know that, "First came the temple, later the city." None of the professionals who have worked at Göbekli Tepe doubts that it represents a sanctuary, though exactly who or what was honored or worshiped here is still-debated subject we'll discuss onMarch 11th.
Oatman will also show some images, and discuss briefly, the nearby site of Ҫatalhöyůk, for many years considered the earliest known (origins c. 9,400 BP) human village. Now somewhat earlier villages, also in Turkey's Anatolia, have been discovered. But Ćatalhöyůk remains the most elaborately decorated (sculptures as well as wall paintings) of such villages, and like Göbekli Tepe it likely served as a central cultic site. Its crowded, rectilinear mud houses will remind many of Taos' own Pueblo.
G. Frank Oatman, retired, has advanced degrees in comparative literature and in zoology and taught at the university level for decades. His serious interest in archaeology and anthropology is life long. Through 4 years living in Europe and decades leading tours internationally (for 20 years via his own firm with Jon Wood), he has visited many of the world's great archaeological sites. In May of 2013, Oatman joined an archaeology/cultural tour of Turkey, and this will be an illustrated talk on two sites of world importance he visited then. Oatman has published poetry, articles on several subjects, and is one of the authors and/or editors of 4 books
Join other TAS members and our speaker for Dinner at 5PM
Guadalajara Grill South, 1384 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos, across from Ace Hardware.
Arrive between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, place your order at the front, and take your number to the back room. No reservations needed!