By Mehmet Kurtkaya, Published on July 1, 2019, Updated May 18, 2020
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Who built Gobeklitepe?
Image by Teoman Cimit Gobeklitepe Images from Wikimedia
Gobeklitepe is the most important ritual center so far discovered in an area south of the Taurus mountains extending to Northern Iraq and Northern Syria (see map and info in the article Who built Gobeklitepe by Gobeklitepe archaeologists).
There are many other known but unexcavated sites in this area where T-shaped stone pillars are found. There are also other archaeological finds of great interest in the area.
Take for example Urfa Man, the oldest known statue of a man (8,800 – 6,500 BC) where a T-Shaped stone pillar was found, not far from Gobeklitepe, near Urfa.
This statue, unlike T-shaped pillars that are known from Gobeklitepe who are thought to be sculptures representing man, has a face. They date to Pre-pottery Neolithic B (8,800 – 6,500 BC), a period whose beginning is dated to slightly later than Gobeklitepe (9,600 - 8000 bc) but also overlaps with it. So the people who built this sculpture may have lived at the same time as the people who built and got together in Gobeklitepe. And interestingly there are similar statues dated to a later period in the Levant which indicates a migration south from the Taurus mountains.
A newly discovered archaeological site Boncuklu Tarla, has four stone pillars but without any carvings on them. These are said to date a 1000 years earlier than Gobeklitepe, 10,500 BC.This site is also not far from Gobeklitepe.
These stone pillars without any markings on them maybe connected to megaliths found all over Eurasia from Korea to Britain and Spain dated to later periods.
All of the findings in Southeast Turkey, around Gobeklitepe, and unexcavated sites in Northern Iraq and Syria, indicate the flourishing of a major civilization south of the Taurus mountains, around 10,000 BC. This area is also the area where wheat was first domesticated. Cattle also was first domesticated around the Taurus mountains, hence Taurus the bull. Other domestic animals like sheep, pig are also domesticated in the area, and goat in Zagros mountains in Iran, continuation of the Taurus mountains in Turkey. And the dates of domestications starting from around 8500 BC also fit the dates of the ritual centers and sculptures around the area, though towards the end of that period.
So, who were these people? Were they indigenous or related to ancient people in other parts of the world?
Gobeklitepe is related to ...Gobeklitepe is one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the world, opening a window into the life and spiritual world of hunter-gatherers at the boundary of the transition to sedentary lifestyle. The Tepe Telegrams is a great blog run by Gobeklitepe archaeologists.
In "What is the connection between Gobeklitepe and ...?" written in July 2017, Gobeklitepe archaeologist Oliver Dietrich argued, like most other archaeologists, that there is no connection between Gobeklitepe and other similar cultures around the world except the ones in Southeast Turkey and Northern Syria.
This seemed like a case of "pots, not people" motto denying migrations as a reason for cultural similarities among distant civilizations. This motto had become the norm in the 20th century and still continues to this day in the 21st century even when archaeogenetics revolution of the last twenty years proved that the scientific reality is the exact opposite.
"Interrelatedness is a result of migrations!" I had exclaimed in my reply in the comments section of his blog post, just like I had shown on my website and my book Sumerian Turks: Civilization's Journey from Siberia to Mesopotamia first published in December 2016.
I had already suggested, based on existing data, that the migrations out of Siberia is central to the spread of advanced civilizations around the world, including the Sumerian civilization. I had identified the population named as "Ancient North Eurasians" by geneticists as the key people in the founding of civilizations in Eurasia, Americas and the Near East.
To my comment: "... Sumerian civilization tells a lot about these societies. Compare them to animal life human progress in other parts and the similarities will appear very significant in terms of beliefs and social context/progress. And also the emergence of class society!"
Oliver Dietrich replied "...They are however not directly interrelated, and none of the sites mentioned is Sumerian."
To which I had replied among others:
"...Unfortunately people do not talk about the migrations of the last 25,000 years yet geneticists keep coming up with facts and proofs of these migrations out of Siberia/Central Asia. Otherwise impossible to explain similarities of totem poles in Northwest America and Gobeklitepe, Shigir Idol Russia. Even a concept of totem pole is a very very unnatural thing that would require a set of thoughts and beliefs as well as social organization that cannot happen independant of each other. The last 50000 years is what made all major human changes possible and many migrations can be mapped since...."
This was in June 2017, before a series of groundbreaking genetics study results published in the last two years have further proven my research.
Totem pole of Gobeklitepe and totem poles in the American Pacific NorthwestIt was already known that a totem pole-like stone pillar discovered in Gobeklitepe in 2010 was reminiscent of the totem poles in North America, especially, American Pacific Northwest, with animals on human heads. There is a similar pole in Nevali Cori in Southeast Turkey, not far from Gobeklitepe.
Totem pole in Alaska, from Wikimedia. Pay attention to the bird on top of human figures. Totem poles record a clan/people's history, customs and beliefs. Writing is much more precise, detailed, and informative but totem poles can be seen as some of the earliest records of people/clan/society. See the full size image and totem pole details at Wikimedia
For info on totem poles in the American Pacific Northwest, see a big gallery of totem pole pictures in Don's maps website
The ground breaking observations about Shigir Idol, Urals, Russia in 2018
In a very important research paper that sheds light to the religious and artistic expressions of hunter gatherers around 12,000 years ago,
Early art in the Urals: new research on the wooden sculpture from Shigir written by Mikhail Zhilin, Svetlana Savchenko, Svend Hansen, and Karl-Uwe Heussner, the relevance and the meaning of the sculpture and related finds are discussed. Towards the end of the paper we find a very important remark:
"South-east Anatolia, with sites such as Nevalı Çori and Göbekli Tepe, is therefore the only region besides the Urals where we find evidence for monumental anthropomorphic sculptures and animal representations of Early Holocene date (Figure 10). The finds from the Shigir peat bog indicate the existence of an impressive, elaborate tradition of art contemporaneous with that of south-east Anatolia. Early Holocene hunter-gatherers clearly inhabited a symbolic world with richer and more complex forms of artistic expression than was previously believed."
The connection between Shigir Idol in the Urals and Gobeklitepe in southeast Anatolia, is established in terms of artistic and symbolic expression even when there is a distance of about 2500 kilometers between the two sites!
The research paper was also discussed in a newspaper article which provides general information such as:
"Co-author Mikhail Zhilin of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow believes the idol shows local forest spirits. The zigzag patterns could be a “keep out!” warning to mark a dangerous or taboo space."
Genetic proof for the connection between Gobeklitepe, Shigir Idol and American Pacific Northwest totem polesIn May 2018, The Genetic Prehistory of the Greater Caucasus reported this surprising discovery:
The genetic ancestry of an individual in Maykop (Northern Caucasus) who relates to Native Americans, namely the Karitiana tribe from the Amazon forests in Brazil!
And following this amazing find an important observation:
"...the existence of a yet-to-be identified ancient north-central Eurasia population with a wide distribution between the Caucasus, Urals and the Pacific coast" of which they have discovered so far the southwestern-most and also the youngest genetic representative."
Another study published the same month, The first horse herders and the impact of early Bronze Age steppe expansions into Asia Damgaard et. al. paper remarked this among many other major revelations about Central Asia:
"Intriguingly, we find that direct descendants of Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers of Central Asia, now extinct as a separate lineage, survived well into the Bronze Age."
This and other ancient genome research papers kept on revealing new finds showing the extent and the time depth of the ancestry of the people dubbed as Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) among modern and ancient population throughout Eurasia.
The final evidence establishing the proofThe final evidence establishing the proof came with the ancient genome study titled Paleolithic DNA from the Caucasus reveals core of West Eurasian ancestry published online in September 2018 by Lazaridis et.al. where authors reported genome-wide data from two 26 thousand year old individuals from Dzudzuana Cave in Georgia in the Caucasus from around the beginning of the LGM (Last Glacial Maximum).
The analysis revealed the existence of Ancient North Eurasian ancestry in the Near East:
"..We document major population turnover in the Near East after the time of Dzudzuana, showing that the highly differentiated Holocene populations of the region were formed by ‘Ancient North Eurasian’ admixture into the Caucasus and Iran".
Caucasus Hunter Gatherers (CHG) in Satsurblia at 13.3 kya (13300 years ago) and Iran Neolithic in the Zagros mountains at 10kya (10000 years ago) had Siberian ANE ancestry!
Moreover, study authors revealed that "Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) sampled in Georgia in Satsurblia and Kotias Klde caves near Dzudzuana were genetically intermediate between EHG (Eastern Hunter Gatherers) and the first agriculturalists of Iran sampled from the Zagros mountains (Iran_N; ~10kya)".
It is already known that EHG known from samples near the Urals, albeit from a later date (Samara 7.5kya), do have ANE ancestry as well.
Gobeklitepe 11.6-8.6kya is equidistant to both locations where ANE ancestry is recorded Satsurblia (13.3 kya), Georgia and Zagros, Iran (10kya). It is also somewhat in the middle of these two locations along the north-south axis. Moreover, Zagros mountains are the continuation of the eastern Taurus mountains where Gobeklitepe is located.
The data clearly indicates the spread of ANE ancestry to the Near East between 13-10 kya at the latest.
Siberian Ancestry in Sumerians is once more confirmed with this study
Siberian ancestry is found in the Zagros mountains, Iran Neolithic, as early as 8000 BC. The fact that Sumerian civilization (4000 BC) was not authocthonous/indigenous is largely accepted by main stream archaeologists and many say that the Sumerians came from the Zagros mountains.
From my book published in December 2016, Sumerian Turks: Civilization's Journey from Siberia to Mesopotamia
"...And there is a stupid claim that these people, including Sumerians, came from the Zagros mountains, as if a mountain range in Iran is the end of the world and there is nothing beyond, say, like Central Asia or Siberia! We know Sumer had trading partners beyond Iran, such as India and Afghanistan."
The above genetic research has proven my above statement two years after the publication of my book.
Since the people in Zagros are now known to have ancestry from Siberia, the mainstream suggestion that they came from the Zagros mountains simply supports the Siberian origins of the Sumerian civilization! And for those who claim Sumerians came from the Caucasus, the above would still hold, they would still have ANE ancestry.
Sumerians came from Central Asia, with a much later wave, Botai/Kelteminar people mixed with Iranian farmers, which had ANE ancestry too. And there might have been a wave from the Caucasus too, probably connected to the Akkadians rather than the Sumerians. And we know that direct descendants of ANE were alive during the Bronze Age, comptemporary with the Sumerian civilization!
The fact that Sumerians had Siberian ANE ancestry is certain even when we still do not have ancient genome data from the Sumerians.
Only Ancient North Eurasian migrations may connect Gobeklitepe, Shigir Idol and American Pacific NorthwestThe date for the start of ANE contribution to the Near East is between 24,000 BC (Dzudzuana without ANE) - 11,000 BC (Satsurblia with ANE) in Georgia, the Caucasus, and the Iran Neolithic from Zagros with ANE dated to around 8000BC, towards the end of the Gobeklitepe civilization.
Probable date range of ANE migration to the Near East also corresponds to the Bering Land corridor migration events from Siberia to the Americas between 17,000-11,000 years ago, though later migrations via sea travel are also theorized to have taken place.
To sum up, the date range Ancient North Eurasian people swept into the Near East perfectly corresponds to the known Ancient North Eurasian migrations from Siberia to the Americas, and both migration events are proven with genetics science.
Ural - Near East connected through Central Asia, and may be Caucasus too, at least until the Sumerian periodThe migration of people with Siberian ancestry into the Near East some time between 26,000-13,000 years ago was not a single isolated event.
I have already proven the original homeland of the Sumerians to be Central Asia. And Lake Baikal, Lake Balkash, Altai mountains as the ancestral homeland of the Sumerian Turks, while noting the connection to the 24,000 year-old Mal'ta boy from the Altai.
Thanks to ancient genome studies we now know that Uralic speakers migrated from Siberia, ancestral homeland of the Turks. For more see Uralic and Turkish and haplogroup N (Includes all genetic evidence as of January 15, 2020).
Sumerian was classified as a Uralic language by Finnish scholar Parpola even though he had stated that genetic relationship with Turkish seemed likely due to highest number of word matches See the great Finnish Assyriogist Simo Parpola's presentation of the results of the Sumerian Uralic word comparison results to the World Assyriology Congress in Moscow, 2007. !
Greek scholar Kenanidis had classified it as r-Altaic. I had shown that Sumerian is largely an Ugur Turkish language, hence Ugric, but also related to Uguz/Oguz Turkish as well as other languages as far away as Basque region in Spain. See Sumerian Language Turkish comparisons and analysis. Hungarian American scholar Peter Revezs ( see Prof. Peter Revesz' Youtube Channel on ancient languages) has found Uralic and Dravidian substrate in Sumerian.
For my proof, see Sumerian Migrations, Sumerian Original Homeland Central Asia, Ancestral Homeland Siberia, Ugur (Hurrian), and Implications for the Indo-European Homeland for details.
Sumerian Migrations on Eurasian Map click on the map for the article and full size image
Shigir Idol post on Tepetelegrams blog in February 2019In Tracking analogies the Shigir Idol from the Urals/ Gobeklitepe archaeologist Oliver Dietrich mentions Shigir Idol - Gobeklitepe artistic/religious connection, and the following quote is from that blog post:
"At this point in time, there is only one other site that has produced human respectively human-like monumental depictions – Göbekli Tepe. There is a considerable geographic distance between both sites, however, which makes direct contacts and interaction not the most probable explanation for these apparent similarities."
He also included the above listed paper by Russian scholar Mikhail Zhilin et. al. written in 2018.
That's great but the problem with Oliver Dietrich's blog post is that there is no information regarding archaeogenetics research that certainly is related to the research regarding the identity of the people who built Gobeklitepe and our understanding of Gobeklitepe and its relation to Shigir Idol and the totem poles of American Pacific Northwest.
Which language did the people of Gobeklitepe speak?In 2013, a computer based research using modern languages was published: Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia Quote from the paper:
"Here we use a statistical model, which takes into account the frequency with which words are used in common everyday speech, to predict the existence of a set of such highly conserved words among seven language families of Eurasia postulated to form a linguistic superfamily that evolved from a common ancestor around 15,000 y ago."
See also my article Origins of human Language
Gobeklitepe Neolithic skull cult and its similarities to others in South AsiaModified human crania from Göbekli Tepe provide evidence for a new form of Neolithic skull cult by Julia Gresky et. al. analyzes marks in the skulls found in Gobeklitepe and compares them to skull cult finds from other locations such as the Pacific and South Asia. The following quote is especially interesting:
"Remarkably, the positions of the cords in the ethnographic example of the Naga people from India (31) are practically identical to the positions of carvings observed on the Göbekli Tepe skulls, that is, on prominent parts of the facial skeleton and on the back of the head."
Indo-European Languages derive from ANE languageThe 2019 genetic findings from Spain showing that Bell Beakers spoke a non-Indo-European Vasconic language supported my research that the Urheimat of Indo-European languages is located south of the Caucasus, specifically Caucasus and Taurus, Turkey - Zagros, Iran mountains.
You may read more at: The spread of Indo-European languages: genetic evidence, haplogroup info suggests Sumerian and Hurrian origins With special emphasis on the linguistic affiliations of Haplogroup J and R1b who migrated with J.
The study about the Dzudzuna cave showed that the Caucasus Hunter Gatherers and Iran Neolithic had ANE ancestry around 13,000-10,000 years ago, long before the estimated date of the formation of early proto-Indo-European. This proves that Indo-European was derived from Siberian ANE language. And even if Indo-European languages were formed in the Pontic Steppe per Kurgan theory, it would still be a language spoken by descendants of ANE people since we already know that Yamnaya had ANE ancestry too as both EHG which makes up the bulk of Yamna ancestry as well as CHG have ancestry from ANE.Proto-Indo-European derives from an ANE language.
Continuity of Turkish presence in Northwest Iran and Southeast Turkey from at least 4200 years ago in Mesopotamian cuneiform recordsFrom Etruscans, Greece and Rome: In Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, Volume 19. published in 1986 by German scholar Verlang von D. Reimer there is mention of Turuk (Turukkaeans),Su (Suteans) and Lullu (Lullubaeans) being differently named inhabitants of the Aratta country, who probably belonged to the Altaic-Turkish language community.
And then, there is another very important remark, that the "Upper Sea" mentioned in Sumero-Akkadian inscriptions, from Sumerian King Lugalzaggesi (around 2200 bc) onwards, meant the Urmia Lake.
Other related informationWhile searching for cultural links between Gobeklitepe and American Pacific Northwest I came across this book, Snakes, Birds and Dreams by Toru Nakamura, PhD where he mentions totem poles about family ancestors reminiscent of Pacific Northwest of America, like the scene of snakes supporting a baby from two sides in a totem pole, a sketch by Klaus Schmidt and other interesting observations. other interesting observations
There are also many important blog posts from Tepetelegrams such as:
Kilisik Sculpture from Adiyaman
Urfa Man It is the oldest known statue of a man, slightly larger than life-size. The current distribution of ites with T shaped pillars
The biggest surprise in ancient genome studies: A previously unknown, "ghost population" identified: Ancient North Eurasians (ANE)Main article Origin and spread of human language
(Click to read the article and see full size image)
Origin and Spread of Languages on Eurasian Map based on Genetics Research and my books as of May 2019. The world's first known language Sumerian was favorably compared to many linguistic families in Eurasia and America. Comparing ancient Sumerian migration routes constructed from ancient genome studies to these languages will give the opportunity to trace back world languages to a common language spoken some 20,000 years ago.
(Click on the image for the answer)
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Discover groundbreaking revelations on the roots of modern civilization in one short book. How did we arrive to where we are? How ancient civilizations a world apart, Sumer and Maya were connected. An overview that covers a wide range of topics from human migrations 50000 years ago to Gobeklitepe, the first temple in history, the first matriarchal society with written records, Elam, and to the Sun Cult of the Hattis. Their origins and influence on other ancient civilizations including their neighbors, distant relatives: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Hurrian, Scythian, Oguz, Kassite, Gutian, Hyksos and more. (Many of my articles on this website included)