Turkey, Culture

11,000-year-old temple found in eastern Turkey

Dating from Neolithic period, temple is similar to Gobeklitepe, oldest temple in the world, says archaeologist

Halil Ibrahim Sincar   | 31.10.2019
11,000-year-old temple found in eastern Turkey A drone photo shows a view of temple's remains belonging to the neolithic period in Dargecit ditstrict of Mardin, Turkey on October 30, 2019. ( Halil Ibrahim Sincar - Anadolu Agency )

MARDIN, Turkey

An ancient temple estimated to be over 11,000 years old has been found in eastern Turkey.

The temple dating from the Neolithic period with four monuments (steles) was unearthed in Dargecit in Mardin, an area known to have been home throughout history to Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, Romans, Seljuks, and Ottomans, among others.

Ergul Kodas, an archaeologist at Artuklu University and advisor to the excavation area, told Anadolu Agency that the temple, built with small stones and hardened clay floors, belongs to the same period as Gobeklitepe, the famed “oldest temple in the world.”

Gobeklitepe, declared an official UNESCO World Heritage Site last year, was discovered in 1963 by researchers from the universities of Istanbul and Chicago.

“According to analysis, the temple has four steles. We think it's about 11,300 years old,” said Kodas.

“Excavations are underway, but we have clearly revealed the steles. One of the four steles we uncovered was broken, but the other three were still preserved to this day as they were,” he added.

No figures were found on the steles, Kodas said, adding “This 80-square-meter temple of the Neolithic period has characteristics similar to Gobeklitepe.”

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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