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Carbon-dating suggests Gobekli Tepe is a staggering 13,000 years old…

Gobekli Tepe: Paradise Lost Or Genesis Discovered?

By Jon King

The Garden Of Eden

Hailed as the most important archaeological site in the world, the Mesolithic temple of Gobekli Tepe (pronounced Go-beck-lee Tepp-ay) lies part-buried on a hilltop in the arid Anatolian plains of southeastern Turkey, just a few miles from the ancient city of Urfa.

But what exactly is Gobekli Tepe? Who built it? When? And why?

In a recent article in the Daily Mail, author Tom Knox put forward the startling theory that this vast and complex monument might have been a temple at the centre of the biblical Garden of Eden – in an allegorical sense, at least.

Knox points out that Gobekli Tepe is situated in what was once a lush and fertile land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, as the Bible describes, and was in effect the place where known history began.

He argues that Gobekli Tepe could well mark the spot where humans were thrown out of the ‘Garden of Eden’ and forced to till the land in order to survive.

“Cursed be the ground because of you. With painful toil you will eat from it all the days of your life.” So growleth the Lord in Genesis 3:17 when he expelled Adam and Eve from Paradise.

Couched in more scientific terms, the theory proposes that this ancient site might have been the geographical ‘turning point’ in our social evolution – the place where hunter-gatherers ceased to exist and modern ‘agricultural’ civilization was born.

Certainly Gobekli Tepe is old enough to be considered as a contender in this regard.

What is particularly mouth-watering about this site so far as archaeologists are concerned is that it has been carbon-dated to an incredible 10,000 BCE, predating the generally accepted construction dates of the Pyramids and Stonehenge by a staggering 7000+ years.

Indeed, if the identity of Stonehenge’s architects remains a mystery, then identifying the builders of Gobekli Tepe is even more a mystery, because 12,000 years ago we were still hunter-gatherers unable to read, write, fashion pottery or even build a home beyond a makeshift animal-hide tent.

And yet Gobekli Tepe displays all the signs of architectural magnificence we associate with Stonehenge and other megalithic structures.

So who did build Gobekli Tepe?

Gobekli Tepe: Paradise Lost Or Genesis Discovered?

A Lost Civilization

Author and broadcaster Graham Hancock propounds the theory that a lost or ‘third party’ civilization once existed, that it was possibly wiped out in a global catastrophe around 10,000 years ago, and that this is the civilization responsible for erecting the impressive structures at Stonehenge, Giza, Tiajuanaco in Bolivia, and of course, Gobekli Tepe.

Hancock also proposes that the structures built by this civilization are far older than conventional archaeology asserts.

Certainly there is good mileage in this theory. And good evidence in support of it. True, it throws into question the generally accepted dates regarding the construction of sites such as the Pyramids, the Sphinx and Stonehenge. But that doesn’t mean we should discount it.

For one thing, it is now widely accepted that most if not all of these ancient structures were built on astronomical alignments which existed at the time. Knowledge of these alignments, coupled with our understanding of how they have since moved due to the ‘precession of the equinoxes’, provides us with a valuable tool in dating the ancient past.

Simply put, the precession of the equinoxes means that astronomical alignments which existed in the distant past have moved relative to our view of the heavens today.

Thus, for example, a pyramid on the Giza plateau aligned with the rising and setting of, say, Orion’s Belt, can be accurately dated to when that alignment existed. This system of dating is known as ‘astroarchaeology’.

But this in itself throws up problems, with marked discrepancies arising between the results of carbon-dating and precession-dating.

While the accuracy of Carbon-14 dating continues to be questioned by some, the accuracy of the ‘precession’ is there for all to see.

And because it is, archaeological dating of certain ancient structures has been thrown into considerable doubt.

Gobekli Tepe: Paradise Lost Or Genesis Discovered?

Wonder Of The Ancient World

Like the ancient city of Tiahuanaco in Bolivia, built with 100-ton stone blocks so precisely laid even a needle cannot be driven between them, Gobekli Tepe is truly a wonder of the ancient world.

Indeed, there is every reason to believe Gobekli Tepe, like Tiahuanaco, is probably older even than conventional dating methods claim.

Certainly it has been argued that Tiahuanaco was built on celestial alignments which occurred up to 5000 years before even the predicted age of Gobekli Tepe, dating this ‘Incan’ city to around 15,000 BCE – way too early to fit the model propounded in your standard college history lesson!

And for good measure, there is now solid evidence to suggest the Sphinx might also be older than the Discovery Channel would have you believe.

But even if conventional dating methods are proved correct and Tiahuanaco is younder than claimed, it is still a mystery to behold.

As is the complex series of stone circles known as Gobekli Tepe, similar in many respects to Stonehenge or Avebury, though built from slightly smaller megaliths.

The stones thus far unearthed are mainly T-shaped and carved with what appear to be totems—birds, reptiles, crayfish, boars, lions. Others appear human-like, perhaps effigies of ‘gods’ worshipped by the hunter-gatherers who lived here.

No one, of course, is denying that hunter-gatherers populated this region around 12,000-13,000 years ago, when the monument is said to have been built.

But the question is: were these ‘cavemen’ truly the architects of this incredibly complex and earth-shattering discovery, much of which is still to be excavated?

Indeed, were similar cavemen in South America responsible for the construction of such an architectural masterpiece as Tiahuanaco?

Or did the hunter-gatherers, as Graham Hancock and others have suggested, receive a helping hand from a civilization now lost to history? A civilization perhaps destroyed in a ‘global flood’ or some other catastrophic event?

Or perhaps even a civilization that came from the stars, as so many ancient writings seem to purport?

If so, one wonders where this civilization is today, if it might one day return to reveal a history in stark contrast to the one we are spoon-fed from birth.

Or if it is lost forever, in the ruins of our ancient past.

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images: Wikimedia Commons — Gevork Nazaryan — Ladyzebra published under the terms of the GFDL Licence

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