This post uses discoveries and thoughts from the archaeologist at Gobekli Tepe and some other mainstream discoveries, to show how there may be more settlements to be found underwater from the same time period as Gobekli tepe. At least some with monoliths of some sort. [Note: Despite discoveries by mainstream archaeologists and a physical site as further evidence for the beginning of an exploration, included here, I'm not expecting such a theory from a "layperson", such as myself, despite my degree indicating I may be able to think critically, to be taken seriously by individual archaeologists when they mock people in their own field for decades, if they don't like it.]
The Pre-History Guys: GÖBEKLI TEPE REVEALED: What we know in 2022 | Dr. Lee Clare
Dr. Lee Clare is the research co-ordinator and archaeologist in charge of the excavations at Göbekli Tepe. Dr Clare took on the position of research coordinator of the DFG long-term project at Göbekli Tepe in 2015, and in 2019 moved to the DAI’s Istanbul Department where he is now acting consultant for prehistoric archaeology.
The image of Göbekli Tepe in the wider world has become a bit distorted over time as far as we can tell and has not kept up with the most recent discoveries and interpretations. We thought we’d go straight to the source and talk to the man who can give us the very latest on the excavations and current views one of the oldest megalithic site in the world
10:50 - Göbekli Tepe in its broader context
Here is when we start getting into some of the advanced thoughts of archaeology. Dr. Lee points out that settlements of different types probably existed (some with domestication some without etc.) and there wasn't a linear development. That means civilization and communities probably rose and fell, developed and regressed and rose again going back thousands of years. Of course he says 1-3 thousand years but it could be much longer if rise in sea levels are taken into account and some other scientific discoveries are added to the data set as I will argue later. What I think is important to note from the 10:50 to 14:38 segment of the Q&A is that Dr. Lee argues that Gobekli Tepe wasn't necessarily the "trigger" people make it out to be. It was probably just a point along a long journey. This is a very important point. Even a cursory look at mainstream archaeology articles gives the impression that every artifact found, if the oldest found thus far, is also considered to be the first of its kind that led to a revolution. That's the thinking that permeates the field of archaeology and thus our understanding of history.
Gobekli Tepe upended the original story the mainstream was selling but the old mentality of what you have found being the original of all things in existence, remains and reshaped itself around Gobekli Tepe being the first. By the way, one argument of why the Sphinx couldn't be older was that there was no precedent for it. Now that there is, it has made no difference to the debate or lack of it. That's very suggestive of the cultlike mindset we seem to be dealing with here, as I hope to prove soon. First lets cover the "first ever" mindset permeating the field with the belief that there was nothing before that discovery. Here are some examples:
Discover Magazine: Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Astronomical Observatory? - Pseudoscience and genuine archaeological mysteries surround humanity's oldest known temple. But was it the world's first astronomical observatory?
BBC: The structures were 11,000 years old, or more, making them humanity's oldest known monumental structures, built not for shelter but for some other purpose.
Smithsonian Mag: Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?
Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey’s stunning Gobekli Tepe upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization
LiveScience: The world's oldest temple was built along a grand geometric plan
NPR: The World's First Temple! Or ... Not?
TV Station: The world's first village ever: Karahan Tepe
84,481 views 12 Oct 2021 Archeologists discovered the world's first village in Sanliurfa, in southeastern Turkey. Mysteries about Neolithic humans have been unearthed during excavations.
How do we know this is the first village ever? We don't. Its simply the oldest one we have found so far. A few years ago the oldest village was the city Catalhoyok. Before that it was considered to be several thousand years earlier. The first skeleton of a neanderthal found had a bone disease and from that the archaeologists of the 1800's to mid 1900s assumed that Neanderthals were hunched over beasts ("brutes" was typically used for them) and this view didn't change till relatively recently. Joseph Campbell (one of my favorite intellectuals) writes, "But now, with respect to the earliest deployment of fire, a curious problem arises when it is realized that although the heavy browed family of Sinanthropus crouched around its hearth as early as c. 400,000 B.C. and that of Neanderthal Man c. 200,000, those lusty brutes gobbled their meals of fresh meat and brains - whether human or animal - absolutely raw. For it was not until the period of the far more developed races of the temple caves c. 30,000 - 10,000 B.C. that the art of roasting was invented. But then why the hearths?". Primitive Mythology pg 395
Campbell then goes onto suggest that hearths were initially for religious purposes for hundreds of thousands of years. Now we know differently. Neanderthals cooked food:
The Guardian: Oldest cooked leftovers ever found suggest Neanderthals were foodies - Pancake/flatbread with a ‘nutty’ taste is first evidence of complex cooking and food culture
The burned food remnants – the oldest ever found – were recovered from the Shanidar Cave site, a Neanderthal dwelling 500 miles north of Baghdad in the Zagros Mountains. Thought to be about 70,000 years old, they were discovered in one of many ancient hearths in the caves.
Campbell was taking the discoveries and beliefs of of his time to analyse the data and got it wrong. A person can't help but create a story around a fact. But the only way to make the story accurate is to use as many facts as you can and ALWAYS be open to exploring new facts and theories. Turns out Neanderthals were not as dumb as archaeological founders liked to believe for decades.
Now I would like to make some important points using the above information by the leading archaeologist at Gobekli Tepe as the jumping off point.
As I've posted about before, we have found pottery pieces in a cave in China dating to 20,000 years ago. We have found ovens to make a sort of bread going back 23,000 years. Different communities with different lifestyles and household items. One has bread and another, on the other side of the continent, has pottery. This fits the explanation that different kinds of communities existed with different lifestyles and that they represent a development not of 1-3 thousand years but over 10,000 years, i.e. emergence of oven for baking and pottery was 10,000 years before Gobekli Tepe and must constitute a development in communal living in the main human habitation regions over thousands of years. With major developments like breadmaking and pottery already made in isolated communities, regions, or cultures/tribes.
Here is where it gets exciting. Humans love to habitat coastlines. When traveling they love to go along costliness. Simple rafts and boats/canoes have probably been used for over 50,000 years as the Aborigine existence in Australia proves. If you take into account how low the sea levels were when break making and pottery evidence has been found and add to that the knowledge that the biggest, most evolved, communities tend to form on the coastlines. What we are looking at here is that some communities that initialized arts like pottery and cultivation and/or bread making have probably been lost to rising sea levels. According to a basic sea level chart, some of the first communities where the first steps towards communal living and civilizational type cultural developments probably thrived in areas now under over 400 feet of water.
Above chart is from here:
Sea Level in the Past 200,000 Years
Probably, the factor that influences sea levels on the planet more than any other is the proportion of the Earth’s water that is in the form of ice at any point in time.
The figure illustrates this very well. Take a look at the curve on the graph, obtained by analyzing oxygen isotopes in ice cores. It represents the fluctuations in sea level from 200,000 years ago to the present (going from right to left on the x-axis). Approximately 125,000 years ago, the sea level was approximately 8 meters higher than it is today. This was during the Sangamonian Interglacial, the last time the north polar ice cap completely melted. After this peak in sea level, ice returned to the planet. And the Wisconsinan Glacial period followed between 80,000 and 20,000 years ago when a glacial maximum, and sea level low stand (more than 130 m lower than today) took place. This is what most people mean when they refer to the "ice age". Glaciers covered much of North America. Following the glacial maximum, we see sea levels rising rapidly - the curve is about as steep as the one leading up to the Sangamonian Interglacial. It began to level off about 5,000 years ago, leading to fairly slow sea level rise in recent geologic time and the sea level human society has been accustomed to.
Now add to this knowledge that Dr. Lee said that Gobekli Tepe probably wasn't a trigger event but something which existed on a sort of continuum. Even if we accept Dr. Lee's much shorter timeline of 1-3 thousand years and ignore the pottery and bread making findings, it still suggests that Gobekli Tepe wasn't the first of its kind and there will be other such structures around.
Sure enough an older site has been found underwater (notice the only debris of settlements found so far is the monolith itself, at least as far as reporting goes):
Live Science: Ancient Monolith Suggests Humans Lived on Now-Underwater Archipelago
Several features suggest the monolith was man-made, possibly by people living during the Mesolithic period about 10,000 years ago, Lodolo said. It has a fairly regular shape and contains three holes with similar diameters. One hole, with a diameter of 24 inches (60 centimeters), punched all the way through the stone.
There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements," the researchers wrote in the study, referring to the regular shape and similar size of the holes.
The archipelago disappeared underwater about 9,500 years ago, suggesting the monolith was erected before then, Lodolo said.
And an older site has been found on land;
Ancient site older than Gobeklitepe unearthed in Turkey - Discoveries at Boncuklu Tarla in southeastern Mardin are around 1,000 years older than those in Gobeklitepe, says professor
So it stands to reason there will be more sites especially if we take into account there is evidence of sailing in the Mediterranean going back 450,000 years.
Science Alert: Archaic humans may have worked out how to sail across the sea to new lands as far back as nearly half a million years ago.
According to a new analysis of shorelines during the mid-Chibanian age, there's no other way these ancient hominins could have reached what we now call the Aegean Islands. Yet archaeologists have found ancient artifacts on the islands that pre-date the earliest known appearance of Homo sapiens.
This suggests that these ancient humans must have found a way to traverse large bodies of water. And if reliance on land bridges was not necessary for human migration, it may have implications for the way our ancestors and modern humans spread throughout the world.
The question of when hominins began sea-faring is difficult to answer. Boats throughout history tend to be made of wood, a material that doesn't often survive the ravages of time intact – and certainly not for tens of thousands, never mind hundreds of thousands of years. So there's no hope of a record of the first boats skimming across the oceans.
Some evidence will never be found and has to be deduced from finds from contemporary time periods and human innovation and creativity.
Are we really to believe that people were sailing for hundreds of thousands of years and making stone structures at least 10,000 years ago but isolated themselves in south Turkey? Its absurd.
Further evidence that the earliest settlement sites may be underwater at "chock points"(as a starting point for exploration, other sites would be on lost landscapes with mostly lost geographical features);
Science Daily: Remnants of human migration paths exist underwater at 'choke points'
The researchers behind the paper studied "choke points" -- narrow land corridors, called isthmuses but often better known for the canals that cross them, or constricted ocean passages, called straits. Typically isthmuses would have been wider 20,000 years ago due to lower sea levels, and some straits did not even exist back then.
"We looked at nine global choke points -- Bering Strait, Isthmus of Panama, Bosporus and Dardanelles, Strait of Gibraltar, straits of Sicily and Messina, Isthmus of Suez, Bab al Mandab, Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Malacca -- to see what each was like 20,000 years ago when more water was tied up in ice sheets and glaciers," said lead author Jerry Dobson, professor emeritus of geography at the University of Kansas and president emeritus of the American Geographical Society. "During the Last Glacial Maximum, the ocean surface was 410 feet lower than today. So, worldwide the amount of land that has been lost since the glaciers melted is equivalent to South America."
Dobson has urged dedicated study of this land lost to the sea -- an area of archeological interest he dubs "aquaterra" -- and he thinks global choke points are the best places to begin.
"We have lost an area equivalent to South America in size," Dobson said. "That is an enormous amount of land, and it's even better on average than any continent today. It was all coastal, all flat, and mostly tropical. We have a much better estimate of the size now than we did a few years ago. The difference is because of this new way we calculate sea level. The new model considers how the ocean bottom shifts in response to the weight of the water."
Coastal areas during the Last Glacial Maximum likely would have attracted people, as coastal lands do today. Dobson said archeological exploration is needed to search for boats, ports and settlements -- evidence that could revolutionize conceptions of human migration and know-how at that time.
"How much technology was there?" he said. "Were there boats? No boats have ever been found that were that old, but we know people made it from Southeast Asia to Australia 65,000 years ago. So, anthropologists surmise they must have had boats. Even when sea level was at its lowest, the individual hops they had to make were long enough that it would seem likely they had boats. In the new article, we study the history of boats of all kinds based on research published in reputable scientific journals. Maritime travel goes surprisingly far back. So now, what kind of evidence can we find of ports? No one has ever claimed evidence of ports that far back. Of course, ports on coasts 400 feet lower than today would be hard to find, and precious little underwater archaeology has been conducted at that depth. We need to treat boats and ports as unknown and look for the evidence rather than proclaiming whether it did or did not happen."
The KU researcher said choke points should be of interest to geographers, ocean scientists, underwater archeologists, anthropologists and oceanographers because they provide "strategic insights on where to search for submerged evidence of human settlement."
"It's a matter of efficiency," Dobson said. "To understand maritime travel and associated settlements long ago, we can search whole oceans. Underwater searches are expensive, however, so little territory gets searched. Finds are rare because artifacts are few and far between. Choke points funnel travel into narrow corridors, and logically that concentrates the artifacts as well. If there is any evidence, that's where we most likely will find it."
What this means is that if Gobekli Tepe exists then other such megalithic sites in that time period probably coexisted with Gobekli Tepe. To be honest, I think the first megalithic site in human history couldn't possibility be far inland when people tend to gather in great masses on the coastlines. The first megalithic sites must be in low lying areas that Gobekli Tepe people were influenced by and sought to make their own. If I'm right, and I'm sure I am, then the earliest megalithic sites will be underwater. Given that cultures rise and fall and that there is rarely a linear progression, its possible there may be many artifacts underwater. At the very least you have to admit that Gobekli Tepe was built when sea levels were much lower that they are now. If it was influenced by another culture, the monuments of that cultures, whether covered or uncovered, would exist underwater. Of course, I discovered a site similar to Karahan Tepe in an old Graham Hancock video which I outlined in this post (isn't it too circular to be natural?):
Breakthrough Discovery: Connecting A Recent Excavation Of The 12,000 Year Old Karahan Tepe To An Underwater Site Off The Coast Of Japan Opens Up New Questions Of How Many Megalithic Sites Are Really Out There, Especially If The Rise In Sea Level Of That Time Period Is Taken Into Account
At 30:33 of this video: Carved out of the bedrock like at Karahan Tepe! At the same era as Gobekli Tepe given the rise in sea level!
Here is Karahan Tepe, different culture, same concept like buildings today?:
News: Turkey opened its mysterious prehistoric site Karahan Tepe, considered one of the birthplaces of known civilizations, to the public for the first time on Friday.
If I can discover something by simply searching for scientific type people on youtube then there might be alot of stuff underwater just waiting to be discovered. Here is a good time to point out that underwater archaeology is something people shy away from for obvious reasons such as difficulty of research etc. but it is a very important part of putting together human history as alot of human history happened when sea levels were much lower, as this recent discovery article points out;
Discover Magazine: Rising Seas Swallowed Countless Archaeological Sites. Scientists Want Them Back
Continueing with the interview:
14:38 - How do settled hunter-gatherers subsist?
In this next segment the question asked 'if there is something in this area which makes sedentism take hold' contains the assumption that archaeologists like to make that this was the first region where people began to make sedentary communities. The disease of the first ever from which all evolved, in the archaeological community when something is found. Dr. Lee points out that sedentism even developed in Europe. I just wanted to point out here that the 'first ever' mythology or mental stance permeates the field even in the questions people ask.
Given that pottery was found in China going back 10,000 years, and that cultures rise and fall, and that China lost land the size of India to rising sea levels, to make such an assumption corresponds to the explanations I have above. Given how much land was lost in Indonesia and China its likely there were settlements there as well, especially if you take into account the pottery fragments found. Even a cave in the middle east show constant living of humans indicating sedentism at some time in the past. The middle east is where agriculture took over in a big way after the rise of the sea levels is the most accurate statement one can make if taking the facts into account.
18:17 - Some Göbekli Tepe myths dismissed
Some of these myths are brought up. A variety of 'first ever' theories about Gobekli Tepe, such as origin of feasting or that it was the first templer ever etc. have been "disproven" with the discovery of habitation at the lowest levels of the site. Another great example of people in archaeology jumping the gun with one of their first ever theories that have been disproven. Now I guess the theory will be first ever habitation that led to a monument despite the fact that sea levels were much lower in the time before and during Gobekli Tepe, i.e. an absurd assumption.
Just a point - pre pottery neolothic refers to traditional way of living in the region. Pottery has been discovered going back 10,000 years more than Gobekli Tepe. So pottery existed in some communities and simply hadn't been adopted by everyone in the region yet. Maybe even pottery became fashionable more than once before is became a tradition in all cultures of the ancient world.
Grinding stones are found in Gobekli Tepe and we know bread was made in the region 10,000 years before then. Signs of beer have been found at Gobekli Tepe, indicating, to me, that beer may be an additional 10,000 years older as bread and beer both use grains which were common in that area.
Another point I'd like to make that resources indicate if a community is likely to be sedentary. Access to fish via river and sea with a forest nearby would be the best possible areas for look for the start of sedentism. Given how much sea levels have risen all such early sites are underwater but they probably inspired the sites inland. At least, that how it tends to work in our time. Technological improvements/developments are made in big communities on the coastlines and then the ideas drift inland slowly. New York and San Francisco are bigger than Chicago for a reason. People naturally gravitate to the ocean given resources and its also the place were communities can be easily wiped out and, being under 100-400 feet of water, are hard to find & excavate.
25:00 - How the buildings at Göbekli Tepe are perceived
Another emphasis made that this was not 0 point in time, i.e. Gobekli Tepe wasn't the first ever that spawned civilizations as our culture likes to think. Dr. Lee points out that what is new is the size of this site (he forgets or mistakenly doesn't say 'that we have found so far' and this sort of wording leads conceptual misunderstanding in the world of archaeology). Dr. Lee also says it was quit new at the time' but there is no way for him to know that. Another example of cultural stories of the past transmitted to others through language. Adding a 'so far' to these stories would expand the minds of people when dealing with ancient history.
Say instead: This is the most dramatic or well preserved site we have found SO FAR. Other sites may have existed that weren't covered up by the inhabitants and so didn't survive or are underwater since so much land was lost to rising sea levels of that period and would be much harder to find. Leaving out such important caveats transmits the story of 'first ever' through the populace so we have a sort of cultural mythology that Gobekli Tepe was the first ever, we just have been redefining what first ever that is. Gobekli Tepe may be the first ever large site in that area of those hills and maybe not and thats all we truly know. Everything else is hypothetical.
If we drop our trigger mentality when dealing with the past then we can see the possibility that Gobekli Tepe could have been one of many such sites of that time and 1-3 thousand years earlier or more. Maybe each culture using different in designs but using similar building/carving techniques. Like buildings of today.
Then he talks about how Gobekli Tepe was in use for hundreds of centuries and probably evolved in many ways over time and other technical details/findings.
34:43 - The T-pillars: arms but no heads and animal imagery
Here the topic of the T Pillars comes up. Dr. Lee points out that they could make heads but didn't want them for the T pillars. Maybe they were statues, or mythological, basically narratives that the people already knew.
Compare it to the Easter Island statues. Like a cultural quirk in design. You don't have to accept a full blown complicated theory to just look at one fact and wonder. (discovery by Graham Hancock.)
Side note: That's a lot of dirt to be buried under.
If that doesn't speak to a cultural dissemination of a style adapted to different cultures, I don't know what does. Cultural symbols and traditions can last 10s of thousands of years or longer as I covered in this post:
A Look At The Steadiness Of Mythology Over Time & Watch A Ritual Practiced By the Ainu Of Japan That Appears To Be Neanderthal In Origin, If Not Earlier
That means that Easter Island monoliths could be much later as in mainstream archaeology or it could be much older as in less conventional theories. We need more data.
I'm really glad he points out that this isn't a smoking gun for civilization. There is another site with signs of agriculture and not here indicating this was an evolved hunter gatherer type community. He points out that this is a pinnacle of one society. He doesn't say it could have been on a continuum of such sites made it different ways like buildings in different regions have different shapes and styles even today. That would have helped my theories more, I admit, but I think it would be a safe thing to say that if a Gobekli Tepe site existed than an even older such site may have existed in the same culture or a different one. By my theories, based on the evidence I have found, to say that Gobekli Tepe was a trigger site in any way would be to assume the 'first ever' mentality that we like to fit all our discoveries in and given that this first ever category we have created keeps falling apart as soon as a new discovery is made I've decided to treat discoveries as examples of a continuum of cultural rises and falls in different regions that probably have precedents in low lying regions and so much of human history is underwater as coastlines is where humans traditional congregate. And while what I'm saying is logical and self evident, its also a new thought in archaeology, as you can even see in the video above as no one considers rising sea levels in their theories.
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