Göbekli Tepe. Time-spaced cultural connections.


I found many such traces, clues and elements and I was not particularly concerned with finding explanations. Because the distance in time is so great (5.000 years!), plausible explanations can hardly be sustained. The elements I found refer mainly to symbols (icons) and their meaning. We found many symbols that have a pair and therefore a graphic equivalent in the Sumerian proto-cuneiform signs. Further starting from these pairs generates different assumptions and interpretations.I was also very surprised and pleased that other researchers noticed such similarities. A paper that deals with this kind of “cultural continuity” with the civilizations of the ancient Syrian area, is:

From the Treasures of Syria. Essays on Art and Archaeology in Honour of Stefania Mazzoni.
Edited by P. Ciafardoni and D. Giannessi. https://www.vorderas-archaeologie.uni-muenchen.de › …PDF Rezultate de pe web www.nino-leiden.nl This pdf is a digital offprint of your contribution … de EON ART 9.000 YEARS OF CULTIC TRADITIONS IN NORTHERN MESOPOTAMIA AND SYRIA? THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CRESCENT, THE BULL AND THE POLE WITH HUMAN HEADS Adelheid Otto aotto@lmu.de

alpha-Forum: Adelheid Otto, Vorderasiatische Archäologin | Video |  BR-KLASSIK | Bayerischer Rundfunk

<< … Indeed, there seems to be evidence of both the sun disc in a crescent and the moon disc in a crescent in ancient Near Eastern depictions (Collon 1993-1997). A good example of the crescent and disc as a symbol of the moon is given by votive stone discs resembling the full moon, which name the two Akkadian princesses Enheduana and Enmena as the high-priestesses of the Moon-God at Ur.

THE BUCRANIUM, THE CRESCENT AND THE DISC ON T-SHAPED PILLARS FROM PPN GÖBEKLI TEPE
In view of this state of knowledge, we can imagine what a shock it was when the monumental pillars in Nevalı Çori, Göbekli Tepe and other sites at the northern end of Upper Mesopotamia came to light (Figs. 2-3). Some of the so-called T-shaped pillars exhibit bent arms with hands, girdles, and necklaces in shallow relief, which indicate that they were supposed to represent anthropomorphic beings. The wide upper end of the pillars had apparently been modelled on an oversized head, as is substantiated by an only 80 cm high, but morphologically very similar statuette from Adyaman-Kilisik (Fig. 4a)10, or on two juxtaposed heads, as is shown by a Janus-faced sculpture in the Gaziantep Museum (Fig. 4b)11. The concept on which these T- shaped pillars are based, is thus indeed the strongly stylized and monumentally oversized representation of anthropomorphic beings.There are always two especially large anthropomorphic beings in the center of the round or rectangular buildings. They are much taller than the other pillars, which were integrated in the wall and decorated in a different way. Ever since these T-shaped pillars came to light, there has been a lively discussion whether these pillars represented supernatural powers or deities (Becker et al. 2012), or whether they were “images of ancestors and demons” and “refer to a shamanistic background for the ceremonies… not… to the worship of a distinct deity or of different deities” (Hauptmann 2011, 96, 98).The two largest pillars excavated so far, Pillars 18 and 31 in the center of circle D at Göbekli (Figs. 2 and 3), are – in my opinion – crucial in the discussion about ancient beliefs. The two T-shaped pillars are located in the center of the circular room and with their height of 5.5 m tower over the other pillars, which form an integral part of the circular wall. Especially remarkable is in which detail pillars 18 and 31 are distinguished as anthropomorphic beings (Schmidt 2011, Figs. 32-34): the long arms reach diagonally over the sides of the pillars and the hands are placed on the waists so that the fingers almost
touch themselves. They wear a decorated belt with a fur-loincloth hanging from it. Especially important is the fact that the pillar figures wear a necklace on their front sides, directly below the T-shaped widening, i.e. below their heads. This is rendered as two parallel bands, hanging down from the neck in a V-shape – similar to the necklace of the anthropomorphic statue from Urfa (Fig. 5a), and to the T-shaped pillar 2 from Nevalı Çori (Fig. 5b). But in marked contrast to these, pillars 18 and 31 are distinguished by pendants attached to the necklaces, which were obviously meant to identify these colosses.The pendant of pillar 18 (Fig. 3b) consists of two oppositely arranged oblong motives
with diagonal extensions, and a semicircular band and a donut-like disc with a central cavity below (Schmidt 2011, 81, Fig. 32). The upper pair of motives is difficult to interpret, the one below can easily be recognized as crescent and disc. The pendant of pillar 31 has rightly been identified by Schmidt as a bucranium, since the bulls on pillar 2 (Schmidt 2011, 68, Fig. 14) and pillar 20 (Schmidt 2011, 73, Fig. 22) exhibit a similar head.12 However, the motives of these “pendants” differ distinctly from other images found on the T-pillars. The numerous depicted animals so far known from Göbekli Tepe – Schmidt (2007, 165) vividly talks of a “stone age zoo” – used to be rendered as complete animals and shown in side view. The isolated bull’s head or bucranium,depicted frontally and perfectly symmetrically, clearly was an abbreviated rendering, and served as a sign or symbol. The crescent and disc are also exceptional, since they seem to have been the earliest renderings of celestial bodies so far. In view of the monumental dimensions of the anthropomorphic pillars 18 and 31 –they are more than three times human live size – it is difficult not to imagine the concept of supernatural powers behind these earliest “colossal statues”. And – since the symbolic value of the bucranium and the crescent with the disc seems evident to all people dealing with the Near Eastern Bronze and Iron Age cultures, where these motives were distinct symbols of certain deities, it is equally difficult not to associate them with these gods. This is all the more so, because the region where the “communal buildings” of the PPN period
were prevalent, corresponds almost exactly to the region where the moon god and the storm god had been venerated in their main sanctuaries at Halab, Harran, Doliche and others for millennia (map Fig. 10). PPN POLES, ADORNED WITH A HUMAN HEAD AND A BIRD
A slightly different pole (Fig. 6) has come to light in the PPNB settlement at Nevalı Çori, in the extraordinary terrazzo building, which is rightly interpreted as a “Sondergebäude”. Three fragments were separately integrated in the eastern bench of the medium phase of the building, which allows the conclusion that in the previous phase the pole had been standing in the terrazzo building. This pole shows two anthropomorphic beings back to back. They embrace each other in a way that the arms of each person embrace the other person from the back. Their hands with the five fingers rest on the narrow sides of the pole (Hauptmann 2011, 99, 134, Fig. 24a/b). One face shows elaborate features with almond-shaped eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The face of the second figure has almost completely dropped off. Both wear a head garment or long hair, which has been engraved in the soft clay as a meshed structure. One figure’s hair reaches down to its back. The hair of the other figure seems to be somewhat shorter, which could be also due to its
hair ending at the beginning of the hair line of the other figure. A bird is sitting on top of the upper head. Its legs and body with flight feathers and tail have been preserved, whereas its head has broken off. Nevertheless, it is certain that the bird formed the upper ending of the pole, for the small place of fracture does not allow to carry heavy weight.
Such as it is, the stone pole with two human heads and topped by a bird is 1 m high, with the heads being live-sized. Adding the broken-off bird’s head and assuming that the pole extended below the figures, it must have measured at least 1.20 m, but may also have been much taller. Another stone pole with a human head and topped by a bird was found at Nevalı Çori (Fig. 7ab).14 The human face is rendered in a similar elaborate way, with almond-shaped eyes, a strong nose and a mouth. At 29 cm height, the head is slightly over live-sized. The head is crowned with a kind of cap with vertically engraved lines, which is supposed to be either the scalp hair or a head garment. Above and behind the head, the remains of a bird’s convex breast and its acute wings, pointing back downwards, have been preserved. In contrast to the other one, this pole has a clear exhibition side. The existence of a second figure on the other side of the pole can be excluded, but the pole might have extended below the head. A fragmentary sculpture of a bird, which presumably was holding a human head between its claws, was found reused in a wall at Göbekli Tepe (Schmidt 2007 100, Fig. 30). So far, no standards with human heads and birds have come to light further south in the Euphrates valley, but two decorated stone poles, each ending in a bird’s head, were found in situ in the large communal building
EA 100 in Jerf al-Ahmar (Fig. 8). The only furniture of this round, semi-subterranean building was a bench along the inner side, which was elaborately adorned with decorated stone slabs. Therefore, the excavators interpret this building as “bâtiment collectif” for reunions (Stordeur, Abbès 2002, 586). The two poles with bird’s heads were placed to the right and left of the largest vertical stone slab in such a way that the heads projected above the bench. The embellishment of the slabs not only consisted of a zigzag decor on the front side, but also of two engraved human headless corpses (Stordeur/ Abbès 2002, 587, Fig. 15): another proof of the association of birds with headless humans.15 Many more stick-like objects ending in a bird’s head are attested from PPN sites in Northern Mesopotamia and Syria, from Qaramel in the West to Nemrik in the East (Kozlowski, Aurenche 2005, 206). In all these cases, the meaning of the human-headed pole topped by a bird, and the pole ending in a bird’s head, escapes us. Since headless bodies and birds are frequently depicted together in the Neolithic period (e.g. on wall paintings at Çatal Höyük or on
pillar 43 from Göbekli Tepe), and since the skull cult is a striking phenomenon of the Early Neolithic period in many Near Eastern sites,16 the association of the remarkable pole with human heads and a bird (Fig. 6) with the skull cult is tempting at first sight. However, the open eyes and the hair or head garment as well as the arms speak against it. Without understanding the meaning, we have to agree to Hauptmann and Schmidt, who recognized “bird and human head” as one of the main themes of PPN monumental art (Hauptmann,Schmidt 2007).Having assembled these examples of a pole topped by human heads and/or birds, it is impossible not to think of a very peculiar object that was to be venerated in precisely the same region, but some 6000 years later. THE POLE TOPPED BY TWO HUMAN HEADS AND A BIRD ON OLD SYRIAN SEALS
Old Syrian cylinder seals of the early second millennium BC show a strange motive: a vertical pole which is topped by two human heads or – less frequently – by only one head (Figs. 9 a-h). A bird is often, but not always, depicted sitting on top of the upper head. The pole is always depicted socketed, either emerging from a rectangular base, or
standing on a quadruped, most often a lion, but sometimes a gazelle.This strange object is unparalleled in the whole Near Eastern imagery. Nevertheless, it must have been an important object, since it received veneration. Many seals show a female person standing in front of it, lifting one hand. Already in 1960, Henry Seyrig proposed to identify this object as the famous semeion, which in the 2nd century AD had been described by Lukian of Samosate as an age-old ritual object that was venerated in the famous sanctuary at Hierapolis, modern Menbij in Northern Syria. According to
Lukian, the semeion had no body of its own, but bore the images of other gods and a golden dove on top. Paolo Matthiae has recently collected all the hitherto known depictions of the ‘standard with heads’ and summarized the state of knowledge. Matthiae (in press) stated that the motif was especially common on Syrian seals between 1900 and 1750 BC. Dated and provenienced examples are attested on tablets from Kültepe kārum II, from MB I and MB II contexts at Ebla, Hammam et-Turkman, Ugarit and Alalakh (Matthiae in press; Marchetti 2003). The iconography and style of the more than 40 seals known so far vary considerably (Fig. 9 a-h). Therefore it is reasonable to conclude, that these seals were not cut at one place only, but at several places, and that the pole was a frequently used motif on seals in the Syrian and North Mesopotamian area roughly between the Mediterranean coast and the Balih valley. The varying number of heads, the fact, that the bird is sometimes missing, and the different shapes of the pole’s socle (rectangular or theriomorphic as lion or gazelle) do – in my opinion – strongly speak in favor of different ‘real’ poles with human heads, which served as models for these renderings. There may even be added a few later seals of the late 18th century, which depict the pole with the heads in a slightly different manner, e.g. en face or with a pointed headgear
(Figs. 9 g, h). These seals indicate that the pole itself did not cease to exist, but slowly became a less popular motive on seals. A similar disappearance of motifs can be observed throughout Near Eastern imagery. It does not indicate, that the objects themselves disappeared, but that the intention of the seal images changed over time. As concerns the semeion, the much later account by Lukian is a strong argument that the pole itself continued to exist, but was no longer depicted on seals. CONCLUSIONS
Definite representations of deities in the Syrian and Northern Mesopotamian region are testified for the first time around the mid 3rd millennium. At least this was the state of knowledge before the monumental T-shaped pillars in Göbekli Tepe, Nevalı Çori and other sites had come to light. They date back to the 10th millennium and already represent anthropomorphic beings. On account of their enormous size, it is obvious that they embody supernatural beings. The largest two pillars excavated so far, placed in the center of circle D at Göbekli Tepe, wear necklaces with a bucranium and a disc- and crescent pendant respectively – motifs, which in much later times were to become the symbols of the storm god and the moon god. This is especially striking, as these two are known to have been
major gods in exactly the same region with important cult centers in Halab, Kumme, Harran and others, which are attested at least from the 3rd millennium onwards. Another striking cult object, in Greek texts called the semeion, was presumably venerated mainly in Northern Syria, approximately from the coast until the Balih region.
It is tempting to trace its origin back to the PPN poles, which were adorned with human heads and a bird ontop. Already the ingenious idea of Seyrig to relate the ‘head standard’ on Old Syrian seals to the semeion described by Lukian, received disapproval at first, but meanwhile seems to be widely accepted. The major obstacle is, of course, that there seems to be no evidence for the period from 1750 BC to 150 AD. However, this could have several reasons: perhaps the pole and perhaps even the heads were of perishable material. Alternatively, the evidence could have escaped the attention of most scholars19. Another explication, which also Matthiae offers, would be that the heads were images of gods, who in subsequent periods mostly were represented as complete figures. Much more challenging is, of course, to postulate a continuity of the venerated beings over 8000 years without the missing link. But it is really necessary to bridge the gap? Holy places have been in use over millennia in all cultures, especially those located in prominent places, and those associated with abundant water, natural springs or caves. In the region examined here, there are several examples of such holy places. Urfa has remained a place of pilgrimage until today, both the area around the so-called sacred spring and a grotto, which is considered as Abraham’s birth place, thus referring to one of the prime fathers of all religions present in this area until today. But already at PPN times, Urfa apparently not only represented a settlement but rather a holy place: the live-sized statue of a male being (Fig. 5a) is reported to originate from there, and a T-shaped pillar was discovered nearby during construction works. A sacred spring, where holy fishes were kept, was also the center of the sanctuary at Hierapolis, where the semeion was kept at the time of Lukian. According to Lukian’s account, the semeion travelled twice a year to the sea. Some sea water was taken back to Hierapolis, where it was poured into the same opening, where the deluge had disappeared. Indeed, the pole on a rectangular socle is often associated with water (rendered as guilloche; e.g. Fig. 9d), the water god (e.g. Fig. 9g), the rain goddess, or fishes. Harran, situated 44 kilometers southeast of Urfa (or Şanlıurfa), has been famous as
the city of the moon god for at least 2,500 years. As well the association of Harran with Abraham and Arabic legends, which localize the grave of Tammuz there (Green 1992), suggest the ancient tradition of a holy place there. Also other forms of the people’s religiousness, which surely trace back to pre-Islamic ideas, can still be found in the region examined: e.g. people seeking for help pilgrimage to “wish-trees”, where they hang up stripes of cloth. One of these wish-trees is located on Göbekli Tepe (Schönberger 2007). Since the upper ends of many PPN pillars are still visible on the surface of several PPN sites, it is possible, that some of them have been always perceivable. Generally, conclusions by analogy over millennia are one of the capital sins of interpretation. If they are drawn nevertheless, the continuity of phenomena is usually explained with the help of the “cultural memory”. For the examples examined here, another model of explanation seems to suggest itself: the continuity of “Holy Places”, which survived in Syria and North West Mesopotamia for millennia.>>

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In the first time, the author noticed the presence on Gobekli Tepe monuments of ancient, long-lastin already common symbols : the crescent and moon/sun disc and in addition bucranium. Related to T-shaped pillars, the author preferred extremely intelligently not to decide whether they represent supernatural powers or anthropomorphic entities. Then, although he repeatedly refers to the fact that anthropomorphic entities began to appear massively only after 3,000 IEN, he still flirts with the idea of ​​anthropomorphic entities. In my opinion, the T-shaped pillars represent the divine powers, particularly life, obviously of divine essence. So something abstract rather than concrete anthropomorphic deities. The human features and animals present on the pillars only show that it is about life and beings.

MUCH MORE, I ADVANCED THE HIPOTHESIS THAT T-SHAPED PILLAR ARE THE PRECURSORS OF SUMERIAN DIVINE POWERS CONCEPT, “Me”

The PPN era and the previous one constrain us but also offer us evidence of other early and previous phases of religion, namely the animist, shamanistic and totemistic ones.

From damienmarieathope.com https://damienmarieathope.com/2019/04/12000-year-old-gobekli-tepe-first-human-made-pagan-temple/?v=32aec8db952d&fbclid=IwAR0K1aOiPde9CGGKjv2BNSdltyWbBbNVbyIVp3gU2lYrNuGFd7g1a-DOU94 << Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago), Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago), Shamanism (Siberia: 30,000 years ago), Paganism (Turkey:12,000 years ago)

* “paganist” Believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife can be attached to or beexpressed in things or objects and these objects can be used by special persons orin special rituals can connect to spirit-filled life and/or afterlife who are guided/supported by a goddess/god or goddesses/gods (you are a hiddenpaganist/Paganism: an approximately 12,000-year-old belief system) And GobekliTepe: “first human made temple” as well as Catal Huyuk “first religious designed city”are both evidence of some kind of early paganism.

“Göbekli Tepe is one of the world’s most significant, yet mysterious, archaeological sites, where ancient people erected a series of massive stone circles where groups gathered for religious and social purposes. Analysis of bone fragments found at the site suggests that human skulls may once have hung there on prominent display. The fragments belong to three partially preserved skulls that were carved and altered after death. This is the first indication of how Göbekli Tepe’s inhabitants may have treated their dead, and archaeologists believe it may provide evidence of an Early Neolithic “skull cult” (a veneration of human skulls, usually those of ancestors). …. A development of the same process of images making that started with skulls separated burials. Both phenomena can be set into the long duration panorama of the transition from foraging to farming. A synthesis of finds seem to show the development of this custom ranging from between Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) around 11,500-10,000 years ago and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) around 9,600–8,000 years ago early Levantine, Anatolian Neolithic culture and ranging to Upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent focusing on separated skulls. .>>

For example, see the statuette in shape of a totemic pole Image, from Gobekli Tepe Pillar 43 – Vulture Stone https://www.facebook.com/Gobeklitepepillar43/posts/35-this-is-a-totem-and-pillar-57-found-at-gobekli-tepe-there-was-a-discussion-on/1359385220779899/

Gobekli tepe Totem & Hakasya -Abakan Totem Okunev Turkish inscription  Stones with Okunev's culture petroglyph | Ancient knowledge, Ancient  aliens, Göbekli tepe
fr.pinterest.com

The pillars may tend to represent concrete deities https://www.dainst.blog/the-tepe-telegrams/tag/nevali-cori/

Nevali Cori – Tepe Telegrams
The so-called Kilisik Sculpture from Adıyaman, Turkey

Pillars show signs toward concrete deities (see the crescent, disc, bucranium signs present on the belt but also in general on the surface of the pillars), but they are definitely not yet. The worship and veneration of the stone(s) have extremely ancient origins being the first things revered and deified by man. The stone pillars themselves can in no way represent deities, but can only be the seat of divine powers or incipient deities. The worship of the stone leads so far to stone altars and temples or to the notion of the sacred stone Bet-El / Betuli or the stone from Kaba.

Baetylus – Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Baetylus Baetylus (also Baetyl, Bethel, or Betyl, from Semitic bet el “house of god”) are sacred stones that were supposedly endowed with life, or gave access to a deity.

Full developed antropomorpphic deities, apeeared a little later, Urfa-man From https://www.facebook.com/bronzeagecollapse/posts/the-urfa-manworlds-oldest-statue-of-a-humana-neolithic-narrativeurfa-man-carved-/859111487609255/

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Miss Adelheid Otto,
I read your paper “The treasures from Syria”. Independently and before reading the paper, I’ve found that Gobekli Tepe (not ease explainable), is distant related with later sumerian culture.Especially in icons.Some G.T. signs are paired in proto-cuneiform signs. It seems that this is only the top of the iceberg, cause further many other aspects are intertwined.My “golden finding” and discovery is the astounding long life of the Tau sign and shape present later in sumerian as proto-cuneiform sign “Me”.Not probably, but sure there are some signs on Earth wich had an extensive spreading in time and space (e.g. cross/ celtic cross, swastica or ancient greek letter eta /Heta, etc.).One will find that “Me” is virtually intraductible,because has many/complex meanings.From divine powers, oracle through being, till essence and will to live.
Yours, engineer (retired/72) Eugen Rau Timisoara Romania eugenrau@gmail.com
I’m inviting you to take a look on some of related issues at tartariatablets.com

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