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        Prehistoric Turkey: (Anatolia)

Ashikli Huyuk - Agate necklace (7,500-7,000 BC), Turkey Bull-worship, Catal Huyuk, Turkey Explore the underground city of Derinkuyu, Turkey. Earth-mother, Catal Huyuk, Turkey. Link to Gobekli Tepi Explore the underground city of Derinkuyu, Turkey.

Turkey has produced some exceptional and unique archaeological surprises that have forced us to reconsider the traditional view of prehistory in the middle east.

For a long time, it was said that civilisation began in Egypt but the discovery of ancient Turkish cities and industrial complexes, combined with evidence of skills and technology, geometry and astronomy, are revealing a very different picture from that prescribed in most history books.

Discoveries include: The earliest evidence of metallurgy in the world, dating at 7,200 BC. The use of 'Mud-bricks for structures at 6,500 BC. As well as this, the underground city at Derinkuyu which was connected to four other similar sites, creating a potential capacity of 100,000 people.

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   Featured Turkish Sites:
 

Göbekli Tepe - One of the most exciting discoveries in Turkish archaeology this century. It currently stands as the oldest known Megalithic Temple complex in the world (9,000 BC). The site has numerous intricately carved T-shaped megaliths , covered with exquisite images if birds and animals.

Some of the megaliths are estimated to weigh onwards of 50-tons apiece..

(More about Göbekli Tepe)

 

 
 

Nevali Cori - One of the oldest stone temples and carved monoliths in the world. This site is now underwater due to the creation of the Ataturk dam. According to carbon dating, the earliest occupation of the site began at about 8,400 BC. The settlement was continuously in use until the middle of the sixth millennium BC. (1).

Of the 22 buildings uncovered at Nevali Cori, only one appears to have been used as a dwelling.

(Note: The style of hands on the monolith (right), is similar to that found at several early S. American sites)

(More about Nevali-Cori)

 
 

Derinkuyu underground city, TurkeyDerinkuyu - An 18-storey underground complex capable of housing approximately 20,000 people. Carved from the living rock, Derinkuyu is one of five inter-connected underground complexes with a total estimated capacity of 100,000 people. 

The underground complex is multi-storey (18 storeys deep), with fresh flowing water, ventilation shafts and individually separated living quarters or 'apartments', shops, communal rooms, wells, tombs, arsenals and escape routes. On its own it has the potential to house up to 20,000 people. The complex was air conditioned throughout, with 52 air shafts discovered so far. 

(More about Derinkuyu)

 
 

Ashikli Huyuk - Evidence of sophisticated technology dating to 7,500 BC. 

This remarkable necklace (right), was uncovered in 1989. It is made of burgundy agate and consists of ten polished beads all shaped between 2.5 cm and 5.5 cm in length and perforated longitudinally no more than 7-8 mm diameter, even though agate is 7 on the Mohs' scale of hardness. (The necklace is dated to between 7,500 BC and 7,000 BC). To drill similar holes today requires the use of a highly specialised diamond-tipped tungsten-carbide drill. (1) Regardless of the technical difficulties of perforating the stones, the presence of such early technology, expertise and craftsmanship does not appear overnight but is developed over many years, suggesting an even earlier origin to develop the required skills.

(More about Ashikli Huyuk)

 
 

Catal Huyuk, Turkey, Earth mother. (Ancient-wisdom.co.uk)

Catal Huyuk - One of the earliest known 'cities' in the world dating back to 6,800 BC. Several 'shrines' including some of the clearest evidence of 'earth-mother-goddess' worship and both bull and vulture veneration.  Cultural suggestion of links to both proto-Egyptian and Sumerian cultures. This city, along with several other 'Metsamorian town-ships' from the same time has radically changed our thinking of development in the middle east.

 

(More about Catal Hoyok)

(More about the Earth-Mother-Earth goddess)

 
 
 
Çayönü - Metallurgy, beads and human sacrifice at 7,200 BC. Çayönü presents certain discoveries that cause us to rethink our prehistoric past. The site contains a large number of rectangular stone buildings, laid out in a grid-plan formation, as at  Nevali Cori. Many of the buildings show evidence of having had special functions, for example, the 'Flagstone' building has a floor made entirely from large flagstones into which were set megalithic stones.

Includes the 'Skull' building' - A structure 7m x 7.9m in size with a round asp at one end. In two small ante-chambers, archaeologists unearthed roughly 295 skulls. A large chamber was also discovered that contained a one-ton cut and polished stone block, which, along with the discovery of a large flint knife makes it almost certain that the stone acted as an 'offering table'.

(More about Cayonu)

 
 
 

Troy (Illium) - The long believed mythological city of Homers Illiad revealed.

The city of Troy was finally discovered in 1870 after a lifelong quest by Dr. Harold Schliemann. In return for his vigilance, he found the so called 'Priam treasures' which he late confessed to smuggling out of Turkey with his wife and '...sadly all but one pair of earrings and a few other small objects disappeared from Berlin in 1945' (2).

(More about Troy, Illium)

 

Armenia.

(Armenia became officially recognised in 1991)

 

Metsamor (Armenia since 1991) - Metsamor is a working excavation and museum on the site of an ancient city complex with a large metallurgical and astronomical centre (occupied ca. 7,000 BC - 17th c. CE).  The site occupies a volcanic hill and surrounding area.

The astronomical observatory predates all other known observatories in the ancient world. That is, observatories that geometrically divided the heavens into constellations and assigned them fixed positions and symbolic design.  Until the discovery of Metsamor it had been widely accepted that the Babylonians were the first astronomers.  The observatory at Metsamor predates the Babylonian kingdom by 2000 years, and contains the first recorded example of dividing the year into 12 sections.  Using an early form of geometry, the inhabitants of Metsamor were able to create both a calendar and envision the curve of the earth.

(More about Metsamor)

 
 

 

   Prehistoric Turkey in the News:
 

The Earliest Evidence of the Wheel:

Recent discoveries in the southeastern province of Mardin in Turkey have revealed what are currently the oldest examples of the wheel in the world. Until recently, it was believed that the Sumerians were the inventors of the wheel, with examples dating back to c. 3,700 BC, but the discovery of a stone-carved 'toy' wheeled vehicle dating back to c. 5.500 BC adds to the list of cultural 'first's' now being shown to have originated in this area long before the Sumerian or Egyptian cultures existed.

The earliest example of a wheeled vehicle in the world c. 5,500 BC, now on display in the Mardin Museum, Turkey.

(Link to Full Article)

 

Article: 'Lost Civilisation under Istanbul'. (Feb. 2009).

Recent excavations in Istanbul, have uncovered remains dating back to 6,000 BC. The vase that the cremated remains were found in shows similarities with nearby Anatolian cultures.

(Link to National Geographic Article)

 

 

 

   List and Description of Featured Turkish Sites:

 Turkey.

Ashikli Hüyük  

 Evidence of sophisticated technology dating to 7,500 BC

Çatal Hüyük  

 City dating back to 6,800 BC. Numerous interesting artefacts.

Çayonu  

 Metallurgy, beads and human sacrifice at 7,500 BC.

Derinkuyu  

 An 18-storey underground complex capable of housing approximately 20,000 people.

Göbekli Tepe    Earliest known temple complex in history. 50-ton carved stones.
Nevali Cori  

 One of the oldest stone temples and carved monoliths in the world.

Troy    The long believed mythological city of Homers Illiad.

Armenia.

Metsamor  

 Megalithic complex with advanced astronomy and geometry.

 

 

References:

1). A. Collins. Gods of Eden. 1998. Headline book Publ.
2). The Atlas of Mysterious Places, Ed. J. Westwood. 1987. Guild Publ.
 
 
 
 

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