Constructed 6,000 years before Stonehenge and 6,500 years before the Giza Pyramids, Göbekli Tepe is the World’s oldest known Megalithic site. A number of large circular structures supported by massive engraved stone pillars, it was built by a pre-pottery and half-nomadic population of hunters-gatherers in Southeastern Anatolia.
Six enclosures have been identified and excavated so far, revealing almost 50 T-shape pillars weighting several tons with depictions of serpents, foxes, and boars, but also gazelle, mouflon, onager, ducks, and vultures. How do we explain these monuments? How is it possible for a half-nomadic group of people to build these enormous structures? If done for religious purposes, what did the religion and the rituals look like? How do we now understand this crucial stage in the development of human society towards agriculture and city-building?
Resulting from several recent stays in this region of Turkey / Türkiye, and a first-hand iconographic documentation from the archaeological site itself and the museum specifically built for its purpose at Şanlıurfa, this seminar is led by Guillaume Durand, Ph.D. It will provide an in-depth exploration of this archaeological site in the broader context of the transition from a hunter-gatherer economy to an agricultural-based economy with all its social and religious implications.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Göbekli Tepe is of the likes of discoveries such as the tomb of King Tut, the skeleton of Lucy, or the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet, all of which have transformed our understanding of the evolution of humankind.
Most of the answers to these questions are still strongly debated as Göbekli Tepe reveals new discoveries every year. Experts believe that by 2021, only 5% of the site has been excavated. This seminar aims to give the first pieces of this archaeological jigsaw puzzle by a close examination of the discoveries made so far.
Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with increased knowledge and understanding of what is considered as the most sensational archaeological discovery of the last 50 years.
Passionate about the regions and countries at the crossroad of civilizations, Guillaume Durand, Ph.D. has long-standing expertise in Ancient art and archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. Assistant dean and professor in archaeology and art history at the Institute for American Universities and the American College of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, France, Guillaume has traveled many times in Iran during these six past years in order to study the Persian Empires. He is also a tourist guide and lecturer in this country for French citizens.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.