Jul 10 2018

World’s oldest temple complex in Turkey shows UNESCO's "noble dream" – the Guardian

The Göbekli Tepe archaeological site in southeast Anatolia, which is location of the Earth’s oldest temple complex discovered, is a remarkable expression of the “noble dream” held by UNESCO and a worthy recent addition to the organisation’s World Heritage list, wrote the Guardian in an editorial published on Jul. 4.

The 11,000-year-old site appears to be a bare hill of dirt from the outside, but archaeological digs since the 1990s have revealed rings of megaliths, carved stones weighing as much as 20 tons, which were first placed there by societies “before the invention of agriculture or the discovery of metal.”

The site shows remnants of a people whose thought process would be utterly alien to ours today, and its existence before the area became inhabited and before the existence of cities “raises huge questions about the development of civilisation and offers no answers at all,” said the Guardian.

Göbekli Tepe and over a thousand other world heritage sites show that, despite accusations that it is overseen by a “bloated bureaucracy,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation reflects “a noble dream: that there could be places and buildings so beautiful that they transcend nationality and even culture and speak in some way to the whole human race,” said the Guardian’s editorial.

“They range from Malawi’s Chongoni rock art area all the way to the whole city of Venice. And their immense, incomprehensible diversity shows us that the human imagination is stranger – and stronger – than we can ever hope to understand,” it concluded.