Representations of calendars and time at Göbekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe support an astronomical interpretation of their symbolism

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Abstract / Description of output

Göbekli Tepe, an archaeological site in southern Turkey, features several temple-like enclosures adorned with many intricately carved symbols. It is located centrally among a group of pre-pottery Neolithic sites which include Karahan Tepe and Sayburç. Earlier work provided an astronomical interpretation for some of its symbolism. Here, that earlier interpretation is supported and extended by showing how V-symbols on Pillar 43 in enclosure D at Göbekli Tepe can be interpreted in terms of a lunisolar calendar system with 11 epagomenal days, which would make it the oldest known example of its type. Furthermore, it is shown how Göbekli Tepe’s 11-pillar enclosures and a megalithic 11-pillar pool structure at nearby Karahan Tepe can also be interpreted in terms of the same lunisolar calendar system. Other V-symbols at Göbekli Tepe are also interpreted in astronomical terms, and it is shown how the Urfa Man statue and a wall carving at Sayburç that display V-symbol necklaces can be interpreted as time-controlling or creator deities. Symbolic links with later cultures from the Fertile Crescent are explored. Throughout, links are made with the Younger Dryas impact which potentially provides a resolution to Cauvin’s theory for the origin of the Neolithic revolution in the Fertile Crescent.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTime and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture
Publication statusSubmitted - 25 Jan 2022

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