11 New Hills Discovered at Gobekli Tepe Megalithic Site
Turkey just made an announcement about a major archeological discovery at Gobekli Tepe. Could this finally shed light on who built the world’s oldest megalithic site, and why?
First unearthed in 1995, the 11,000-year-old excavation site at Gobekli Tepe has yielded the most significant collection of stone pillar monoliths ever discovered. While most archeologists agree that the structure is the world’s oldest temple, they have long-debated the origins and motivations of its builders. The recent findings of 11, possibly 12, new sites around Gobkeli Tepe may provide those answers.
Andrew Collins is an ancient history researcher who has written extensively about the site.
“Gobekli Tepe is in many ways the best evidence that we have of a lost civilization—a pre-Ice Age civilization that existed worldwide and was probably wiped out by very harsh conditions and possibly some kind of comet impact about 13,000 years ago, and that the sole remnants of this went on to create Gobekli Tepe,” Collins said.
Laser Scanning Reveals Mayan Complex Hidden for Centuries
Laser mapping reveals nearly 500 ancient ceremonial sites hiding just under the landscape of modern-day Mexico and leads scientists to revise their understandings of the origins of the Maya Civilization.
Eastern Mexico is home to the ancient Maya, renowned for their striking pyramids, written language, and complex calendar system. It is there that scientists first discovered Aquada Fénix, the largest and oldest-known Mayan construction.
Professor Takeshi Inomata is an archeologist at the University of Arizona who led the study. “We did LiDAR, which is an airborne laser marking technique. Using this technique we found Aguada Fénix, which is the oldest monumental construction in the Maya area,” Inomata said. “It has a huge artificial plateau which has a perfect, rectangular shape measuring 1.4 km long and 400m wide, which represents the largest construction in the entire Maya history. It dates to probably 1,100 – 700 BC, which makes it the oldest monumental construction in the Maya area. So the interesting part is that the largest building happened at the very beginning or oldest stage of Maya civilization.”
Having made this extraordinary find, the team recently expanded their search to a broader area using the same cutting-edge LiDAR technology. They were specifically hoping to find sites built by the Olmec people, an older civilization thought to have influenced the development of the Maya. What LiDAR revealed was groundbreaking.
“We found nearly 500 ceremonial complexes, which look like Aguada Fénix, although they are not as big. This distribution shows they shared similar concepts of space, ritual, and probably worldview. It tells us the people in the Olmec area and the Maya area really exchanged ideas and that kind of interaction was very important for the initial development of Mesoamerican civilizations,” Inomata said.
“This is the earliest evidence for the gathering of a really large number of people. Those people probably did not have too many hierarchical organizations, they most likely did not have kings. They didn’t have much marked social inequalities, so those people gathered and organized themselves, then made these huge constructions. This really makes us think about the development and possibility of human societies, not just about Mesoamerica, but about human societies in general.”