Göbekli Tepe (Turkish: [ɡøbe̞kli te̞pɛ], “Potbelly Hill”), is an archaeological site at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa. The tell has a height of 15 m (49 ft) and is about 300 m (984 ft) in diameter. It is approximately 760 m (2,493 ft) above sea level. Since the mid-1990s, it has been excavated by a German archaeological team that since 1996 has been under the direction of Klaus Schmidt.
The tell includes two settlement phases dating back to the 10th-8th millennium BC. During the first phase (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected. More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and a weight of up to 20 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock. In the second phase (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller. They stood in rectangular rooms. These rooms had floors of polished lime. Obviously, the site was abandoned after the PPNB-period. Younger structures date to classical times.
The function of the structures is not yet clear. The most common opinion, shared by excavator Klaus Schmidt, is that they are early neolithic sanctuaries.
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