Recently Discovered Temple in Turkey Predates Pyramids, Shows Worship Predates Civilization

March 1, 2010

Editor’s note: This article reposted by John Sanidopoulos originally appeared in Newsweek‘s Feb 19, 2010 issue.  It describes a temple complex in Turkey that predates even the pyramids and makes one eager to re-read Genesis to look for connections. This is highly notable in that it turns history textbooks on their head by suggesting that worship predated civilization (commonly the reverse has been presumed), bringing to mind Cain and Abel’s sacrifices long before cities and civilization peppered the earth.

An excerpt:

They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot — the exact spot — where humans began that ascent.

Standing on the hill at dawn, overseeing a team of 40 Kurdish diggers, the German-born archeologist waves a hand over his discovery here, a revolution in the story of human origins. Schmidt has uncovered a vast and beautiful temple complex, a structure so ancient that it may be the very first thing human beings ever built. The site isn’t just old, it redefines old: the temple was built 11,500 years ago — a staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid, and more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge first took shape. The ruins are so early that they predate villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculture — the first embers of civilization. In fact, Schmidt thinks the temple itself, built after the end of the last Ice Age by hunter-gatherers, became that ember — the spark that launched mankind toward farming, urban life, and all that followed.

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