For decades, a simple hill in southeastern Turkey was nothing more than a place where locals grew what few crops they could. For generations, the locals would move the rocks they found there out of the way, making room for rows of plants. However, when one of the stones they found made its way to an archeologist from the University of Chicago, everything changed. After examining and dating the rocks, the University sent out an expedition to the hill known as Gobekli Tepe, Turkish for “Potbelly Hill.”
Archeology is one of the most fascinating fields in the world because it allows us to travel back in time, learning where we came from. And at Gobekli Tepe, archeologists would make many game-changing discoveries – some of which occurred thirty years after the original expedition! To find out what the archeologists discovered, and how it completely changes our understanding of early civilizations, as well as the mysteries that still surround Gobekli Tepe, read on!
1. A Simple Hill
For years, a simple hill sat in southeastern Turkey, about six miles from the ancient city of Urfa. Locals called it “Gobekli Tepe,” Turkish for “potbelly hill” because of its large, rounded look. Many generations of Turkish people used the hill for farming, as it sits in the “Fertile Cresent,” a region in the Middle East particularly suitable for agriculture. They moved the rocks found on top of the hill, never thinking twice about what they might be.
However, when the University of Istanbul surveyed the area in 1963, to determine if there were any undiscovered archeological sites, they discovered something interesting. When compared to the surrounding area, Gobekli Tepe was simply too large and too well rounded to be natural. It had to be man-made, so they decided to investigate further…