You are looking at the oldest known human-built structure. This monolith and wall is part of a temple complex recently uncovered in Turkey that is 7,000 years older than the Pyramids, 6,000 years older than Stonehenge, and according to our current understanding of human cultural progression, older than agriculture by almost a thousand years, and older than domesticated animals by more than that.
They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot—the exact spot—where humans began that ascent.
This is completely rewriting early human history. And doing so emphatically since these constructs are far more sophisticated and abundant than any archaeologist would have imagined before stumbling across this site. There are at least 50 separate temple sites, each with its own monolith and carefully constructed walls. Many of the monoliths are exquisitely carved in a naturalist style far removed from the cave paintings known to have been done at about the same time.
This is just at the tail end of the last ice age. Just when humans were finding a world that was not a brutal fight to survive against the cold. Neanderthals roamed Europe at this time. It is possible that these temples were built before the first human city was built. In fact the archaeologist who found them theorizes that it was the building of these temples that led to the construction of cities, the cultivation of wheat and the domestication of animals. He might be right. Currently all the evidence we have is that wheat was first cultivated within a few miles of this location, and the first domesticated pigs were also traced to a short distance away.
What strikes me is how solid and clean the construction appears to be, especially the monoliths themselves. They are presumed to be carven idols of gods, and their “T” shape is thought to be an attempt to mimic the shape of the human body. If both of those presumptions are true, and they are both plausible, then that would mean that the builders of these temples contemplated gods as being similar to man.
Again, to try to put this in perspective, if these dates and conclusions are right, these 50 some odd temples with these huge monoliths (up to 17 feet tall, built with quarried rock from a nearby hill and weighing several tons each) were built by a culture that had no written language, no mathematics, no agricultural base and no domesticated animals, meaning every block was moved through pure human muscle power alone. Without even copper tools, all the stones were carved with stone tools.
I find this to be fascinating. I also doubt that we have just happened to stumble onto the oldest structures ever built. I am sure there were other, older structures, but this is undeniably old.
Interestingly, the site shows signs that it was deliberately buried some 3,000 years after it was built. To me that is just as curious as the building itself. Why would a new culture completely bury the temples of an old culture? They didn’t destroy it, they buried it. Interesting indeed.