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15 October 2006
Reliefs unearthed in 11,000-year-old Göbeklitepe tumulus

A team of archaeologists working at the Göbeklitepe tumulus in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa (Turkey) came across human figures without heads as well as reliefs of scorpions, snakes and wild birds on obelisks belonging to the Neolithic period, the head of the team said. Speaking at a press conference at the ancient city, excavation team leader Klaus Schmidt of the German Archeological Institute in Berlin stated that Göbeklitepe was an 11,000-year-old site of worship established by the hunter-gatherer people of the time. "During this year's excavations we came across human figures without heads, and we discovered a human figure for the first time since we started working here 12 years ago. This is a remarkable development. Remains give us important clues regarding the future of the excavations," Schmidt said.
        He said excavations in Göbeklitepe brought to light the monumental architecture and the advanced symbolic world of the hunter groups that existed prior to the period of 'transition to production.' Schmidt said they also discovered the remains of nearly 20 round or elliptical structures 30 meters in diameter in the area. According to Schmidt, the animal figures on the obelisks unearthed this year in Göbeklitepe have different characteristics. "Animal figures drawn by the people of the Neolithic era may represent the 'watchman' of the period," said Schmidt, adding that similar human figures were previously encountered in the ancient tumulus of Çatalhöyük, which is 2,000 years younger than Göbeklitepe.

Source: Turkish Daily News (11 October 2006)

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