Rewriting the dawn of civilization

If National Geographic had more stories like this one, I’d be inclined to subscribe. This is fascinating stuff.

Seven thousand years before Stonehenge was Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, where you’ll find ring upon ring of T-shaped stone towers arranged in a circle. Around 11,600 B.C. hundreds of people gathered on this mound, year after year, possibly for centuries.

There are plenty of mysteries on this hill. Some of the rocks weigh 16 tons, but archaeologists can find no homes, no hearths, no water source, and no sign of a town or village to support the hundreds of workers who built the rings of towers. The people apparently, unthinkably really, were nomadic, as far as we know, they had no wheels, and no beasts of burden. True hunter gatherers, whose first heavy building project was not a home to fend off the elements, but a religious sacred site.

Perhaps we should not be so surprised, after all, we know the pyramids, the largest and oldest surviving buildings didn’t house people or grain either — the only humans they keep warm were dead ones. In a sense, the theme repeats. It takes extraordinary expertise and effort to move tons of rock, […]