When we begin to think of how exactly 20 circles with monoliths weighing tons could have been put in place by ancients in 10,000 B.C. and then we have a hard look at some of the columns themselves and see what artisans these stone masons were, carving recognizable figures of animals both in three D (way before 3 D glasses 🙂 and in simple relief, the mind begins to boggle. We are not talking here about stick figures painted on the walls of caves here. We are talking about sophisticated and interesting representations of animals, and precision carving of tops and sides of columns as well, with figures even on the sides of some columns. Who were these people, and where did they gain their skills? Was there a hunter-gatherer school of the arts and architecture (just kidding)? In a dangerous world where human beings were struggling to survive, who had the time, the skill, and most of all the need or desire to create such structures— and why? Did they do this at night during their off hours? (Picture below courtesy of Nat Geo). Of course I am kidding. But Gobeckli Tepe raises far more questions than we have answers.
One of the real mysteries Klaus Schmidt has pondered is why do the later circles seem to reflect less care and skill? Did the skills erode over time? And why build more circles? Did the first ones loose their unction to function? Did the builders really bury each one in sand and move on to the next ones? The latter is Schmidt’s theory, and I find it an odd one. Why would they do that especially when the later circles do not seem noticeably different than the earlier ones. Schmidt also believes the circles depict human beings facing inwards to the center as if observing some ritual. Or are these T shaped monoliths really stylized humans? Why are the hands reaching down? Hands lifted up was a gesture of prayer, but pointing down are they meant to indicate that they are reaching down to pick up one of the animals for sacrifice?