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Magnificent discoveries in Karahantepe and Göbeklitepe: The largest human statue and the first painted animal statue

21.11.2023 | 13:32 |
 Magnificent discoveries in Karahantepe and Göbeklitepe: The largest human statue and the first painted animal statue

New finds have been discovered at Göbeklitepe and Karahantepe, which are among the world's oldest Neolithic sites.

Thus, during the latest excavations carried out at nine archaeological sites, sculptures of people and animals were discovered. The excavations were carried out within the framework of the Tash Tepeler (Stone Mounds) project, which brings light to prehistory and has yielded significant discoveries on a global level, human and animal sculptures were found.

Human statue: an impressive example of ancient art

Recent excavations at Karahantepe have unearthed the largest known human statue of then period. This statue, with its lifelike expression, claims to be one of the most impressive examples of ancient art. Measuring 2.45 meters in height, it was securely fastened to the ground on a bench.

The statue of a male figure in a seated position resembles a deceased person with the ribs, spine and humerus bones emphasized; on the other hand, the string position of the figure indicates a living person. In the same area, an ostrich sculpture was discovered placed on the front side of a bench, where stone slabs remaining on it were also found.

Boar in Göbeklitepe: the first life-size statue

During excavations carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, a life-size statue of a boar made of limestone was found in Structure D Göbeklitepe. The sculpture, which shows traces of red, white and black pigmentation on its surface, is the first life-size example of the painting found from its period to the present day. The boar sculpture discovered at Göbeklitepe was found on a bench, decorated with patterns, an H symbol, a crescent moon, two snakes and three human faces or masks.

Göbeklitepe: the site that changed the course of history

Situated approximately 18 kilometers northeast of the city center of Sanliurfa, near the village of Orencik, Göbeklitepe is one of the most significant legacies of human history. As Turkey's 18th site on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this archaeological site has significantly changed our understanding of hunter-gatherer societies about the Neolithic era. The first excavations at Göbeklitepe began in 1995, and in a short period numerous finds were discovered, including T-shaped columns decorated with animal motifs and geometric figures, various human and animal sculptures, stone and bone tools, and ruins such as bones of plants and animals, reflecting the dietary economy of then era. The work at Göbeklitepe provided important insight into how a sedentary and productive way of life emerged, one of the most significant transformations in human history. It also revealed a wealth of new information about the social life, architecture and art of the period, highlighting the existence of a highly developed society in the early stages of the Neolithic era.

Tash Tepeler: Land of Great Transformations

Turkey, which has long been the land of ancient civilizations, has undergone numerous archaeological excavations and restoration projects in historical areas to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage. Türkiye currently leads the world in the number of archaeological projects. The number of archaeological excavations and research in Turkey is expected to reach 750 by the end of 2023.

Archaeological excavations in the country are journeys through time, revealing past stories and connecting us with human heritage. Research into contemporary sites in a particular region provides a more complete understanding of past histories. One of these recent projects is Tash Tepeler. The project, led by Professor Necmi Karul, head of the Department of Prehistoric Archeology at Istanbul University, examines the technological, environmental and social aspects of the first established human societies. Surface surveys on the Sanliurfa Plateau led to the discovery of modern settlements close to Göbeklitepe. These settlements, collectively called "Tash Tepeler" (Stone Mounds), include Karahantepe, Sayburç, Sefertepe, Kharbetsuvan Tepesi, Gürcütepe, Çakmaktepe, Medic, Kurttepesi, Tashlıtepe, Ayanlar, Yogunburç and Yeni Mahalle, in addition to Göbeklitepe. As part of the project, which provides insight into some of the earliest examples of grounded societies and social complexity, research continues at nine archaeological sites. Excavations at Karahantepe have revealed monumental structures similar to those at Göbeklitepe. These areas continue to contribute to archaeological research, shedding light on human history.


Photo: by Embassy of Turkey in Turkmenistan

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