In the heart of Şanlıurfa, Turkey, the ongoing archaeological excavations at Göbeklitepe and Karahantepe have yielded extraordinary finds: life-sized sculptures of a wild boar and a human figure. These discoveries shed light on the rich prehistoric artistry of the region, with the human sculpture standing tall at 2.3 meters, boasting a remarkably realistic facial expression.
Göbeklitepe: Unveiling Ancient Treasures
Under the umbrella of the “Taş Tepeler” project, which encompasses nine archaeological sites and spans the year 2023, various sculptures of both humans and animals have been unearthed during the excavation. Among these treasures, the most captivating is a life-sized wild boar sculpture found within the structure D of Göbeklitepe. Crafted from limestone, this boar sculpture is adorned with traces of red, white, and black pigments, making it the earliest known painted sculpture from that era.
The wild boar sculpture discovered at Göbeklitepe is positioned atop a platform adorned with decorative elements resembling an ‘H’ symbol, a crescent moon, two snakes, and three human faces or masks.
Karahantepe: Realistic Human Sculptures
Meanwhile, at Karahantepe, another remarkable discovery was made—an exquisitely detailed human sculpture with a height of 230 centimeters. This lifelike sculpture, featuring a realistic facial expression, was found anchored within a stone structure. The area surrounding the sculpture revealed intriguing elements, including rib, spine, and shoulder bones, reminiscent of a reclining human figure. Additionally, an eagle sculpture and stone plates were found on the ground nearby, adding further layers of historical significance to the site.
Taş Tepeler: A Window into Ancient Communities
The Göbeklitepe and the surrounding 11 archaeological sites offer insights into the earliest settled communities in Anatolia and Upper Mesopotamia. These expansive “stone hills” are spread across a 200-kilometer area and hold the promise of illuminating a lesser-known chapter in human history. It is believed that the monumental structures discovered in the “Taş Tepeler” served as communal spaces where people gathered.
The presence of similar features at other locations contemporary with Göbeklitepe, all situated on high hills and ideal for hunting, suggests a shared cultural phenomenon. The surrounding hunting grounds further bolster this theory.
Göbeklitepe’s history stretches back to around 9600 BC, reflecting an uninterrupted timeline of approximately 1,500 years. The significance of Göbeklitepe extends beyond what we commonly associate with it today, encompassing a broader geographical area and maintaining its vitality over an extended period.