NewsWeek report about a startling discovery in Turkey that reshapes what we know about prehistoric man. Archeologists are unearthing Gobekli Tepe near Sanliurfa, Turkey, a temple complex estimated to have been built 11,500 years ago, a staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid. The ruins are so early that they overthrow the consensus of archeology, and may imply that it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in the very first urban conglomerations. More info at NewsWeek.
The new discoveries are finally beginning to reshape the slow-moving consensus of archeology. Göbekli Tepe is "unbelievably big and amazing, at a ridiculously early date," according to Ian Hodder, director of Stanford's archeology program. Enthusing over the "huge great stones and fantastic, highly refined art" at Göbekli, Hodder—who has spent decades on rival Neolithic sites—says: "Many people think that it changes everything…It overturns the whole apple cart. All our theories were wrong."
Schmidt's thesis is simple and bold: it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in the very first urban conglomerations. The need to build and maintain this temple, he says, drove the builders to seek stable food sources, like grains and animals that could be domesticated, and then to settle down to guard their new way of life. The temple begat the city.