(ORDO NEWS) — Recently, grinding stones were discovered at Göbekli Tepe, the oldest known Mesolithic temple complex, new finds that are expected to shed light on human history.
“During the work this year, we made a large number of finds, such as grinding stones and hammers, indicating daily use in these places,” said Necmi Karul, an archaeologist from Istanbul University and head of the excavation team, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Karul said that the information obtained during the archaeological excavations is changing as new studies and data analysis are carried out.
He said that while some of the conventional wisdom about Göbekli Tepe is still valid, some are likely to be incorrect in light of the new findings from the excavations.
Grinding stones were often used in ancient times to grind plants or animal pulp for use in cooking. “Analysis of these finds will give us an idea of what this activity was,” he said, adding that they plan to do so during the winter.
As the team began to look at other possibilities regarding the ancient site, he said: “One of the most notable is that although it is assumed that there were only public buildings in Göbekli Tepe, which some call temples, it is known that there were places in the form dwellings and shelters.
He further said: “More of them (dwellings and shelters) were found. This caused controversy about whether it was a gathering center or a settlement where people live at the same time.”
The discovery of dwellings at Karahan Tepe and other stone hills that existed at the same time as Göbekli Tepe, according to Karul, increased the likelihood that these sites were settlements with community structures.
He stated that Göbekli Tepe and other sites, known as Taş Tepeler “Stone Hills” in Turkish, were built at the same time and spanned a period of about 1,500 years, stressing that all finds from these sites reflect the culture of that time.
He added that, according to these findings, the first agricultural experiments were carried out in this region.
In 2016, German Archaeological Institute archaeologist Laura Dietrich began analyzing thousands of stone grinding tools that had been unearthed at Göbekli Tepe over the course of almost two decades.
Using a combination of wear studies, experimental archeology and microscopy, Dietrich analyzed how the stones wore down over time and showed that they were used to process grains and legumes.
On many of the vessels, she found chemical residues that indicate they were used to make porridge or possibly prehistoric beer.
“Most likely,” says Dietrich’s study, “these people were agriculturalists, or at least had a strategy for harvesting large amounts of wild grain.”
“The existence of instruments pointing to agricultural experiments shows us that when the first settlements began to appear on this site, there was no agricultural activity here, but wild cereals were collected, and that this collection process eventually turned into plant cultivation,” Karul said.
Although the strata at nearby Kakmaktepe are “possibly older” than those at Göbekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe, architectural monuments were unearthed last year that indicate complex societies at Sayburch from the early Neolithic period.
The team also unearthed the remains of a late Neolithic rectangular building that is indicative of the complex nature of the Sefertepe settlement, adding that finds from the pre-Neolithic period were also unearthed at the Sögyut site.
“It is a fact that both Göbekli Tepe and other settlements are objects that were part of an interacting social organization in a wide region around 11,000-11,500 years ago.”
Although Karul describes this period as the beginning of settled life and the first living together in large groups, he emphasizes that it brought a new social order, new relationships and a division of labor.
Speaking about the presence of a developed organization of the labor force, Karul said that public buildings are one of the best indicators of this, and that the figures in these structures and the scenes depicted on them are the product of a community memory based on a distant past.
“When we put it all together, we see the construction of a new society that we have never experienced before.”
Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to 11.7 thousand years BC.
It consists of round rooms with no doors, which are aligned on the sides and supported by five meters high limestone columns that are T-shaped inside and out. Most of the columns contain drawings of animals.
According to research, this place could have a special purpose, for example, to serve as a temple. After about 2 ka of use, the place was deliberately covered with stones.
This place dates back to the beginning of the agricultural era, so it is not clear which civilization built such massive structures using only stone axes, and what the figures on the columns represent.
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