A celestial meaning? More on Gobekli Tepe


One of the pillars at Gobekli Tepe.


By Sharon St Joan


In his remarkable book, Gobekli Tepe, Genesis of the Gods, Andrew Collins paints a portrayal of the possible cosmic significance of these great mysterious circles of stone pillars, in southeastern Turkey, whose origins go back nearly 12,000 years into the past, to the time of the ending of the last great Ice Age. They are believed to be the oldest megalithic structures in the world.


Obviously, no one today can know for sure what the builders of Gobekli Tepe intended or what they were thinking.


On some of the stone circles, imaginative depictions of animals are carved on the right sides of each of the great pillars – only on the right side, with no carvings on the left. Andrew Collins makes the point that these seemed to be designed for circumambulation – as devotees would have walked clockwise around the great circle, they would have been able to view all the carved animals; whereas, if they walked counterclockwise, they would have seen no carvings. In Hindu and Buddhist temples today, circumambulation is always clockwise. In Islam, on the other hand, during the hajj, pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba in a counterclockwise direction. Collins notes that sun dials, and later clocks, were designed to reflect the movement of the sun, and to go clockwise.


A century or so ago, it used to be thought that the Greeks invented the zodiac, dividing the sky and the seasons into 12 segments. There were many much earlier cultures, however, who used this division of the sky into 12 segments.


Andrew Collins states that, by at least 2400 B.C.E., and probably long before, the Indus Valley civilization had divided the celestial horizon into 12 parts, and they were using an instrument made of shell to mark off 360 degrees on the horizon. Some of the great enclosures of Gobekli Tepe are divided by their pillars or columns into 12 parts, though there is no evidence that these ancient builders were thinking in terms of a zodiac. Perhaps they were, or perhaps they weren’t. We may never know.


The placement of two large pillars in the center of the Gobekli Tepe enclosures suggests an axis mundi or world axis – portrayed in spiritual traditions throughout the world.


A Hopi kiva showing a sipapu.


Seen as the cosmic tree or the cosmic mountain, the world axis is the line linking the earth, the heavens and the underworld – or the many worlds or levels, depending on the views of the particular culture. In Hopi and other southwest Puebloan traditions, the sipapu is the point of connection between the worlds and the point of emergence from the previous world into this earthly world. It is not a mountain, but a straight line, with openings from world to world. It is believed by many Hopis to be located in the Grand Canyon, the place of creation, where people emerged into this world from the previous world which was underground.


Ma’rib, ancient capital of the Sabaeans, in modern-day Yemen.


Collins points out what seem to be a number of celestial correspondences between the stone pillars and the stars, and he mentions that the Sabaeans, who were star worshippers living in the city of Harran, right near Gobekli Tepe, are known to have held an annual celebration, the Mystery of the North, during which they revered the northern direction as the source of life. These people, living around 8,000 BC were most likely the direct descendants of the people of Gobekli Tepe, who may have passed on to them their worship of the direction North.


They are not unique in their reverence for the North. Apparently, the Yazidis (or Yezidis) – the much-persecuted people who were in the news two years ago, stranded on a mountain top, in imminent danger from Isil forces, also turn to the north in prayer, as do the Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran. The Brethren of Purity, an Ismaili sect, do the same. All these peoples may have had their cultural views passed down to them from their Neolithic ancestors.


The constellation Cygnus, showing the former pole star, Deneb


Deneb is the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus. Though the name Cygnus means swan, the constellation is perceived just as often to be a vulture, as a swan. During the years prior to 9500 B.C.E., the time of Gobekli Tepe, Deneb was a circumpolar star that never set; it was the North Pole star, the position that Polaris occupies today.


Perhaps the builders of Gobekli Tepe were archeoastronomers who aligned their tall, elegant structures to the heavens, possibly with a particular worship of the northerly direction and the North Pole star.


© Sharon St Joan, 2016


Andrew Collin’s book, Gobekli Tepe, Genesis of the Gods is available on Amazon, click here




Top photo: Erkcan / Wikimedia Commons / “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.” / The sculpture of an animal (perhaps a fox) at Gobekli Tepe, close to Sanliurfa.


Second photo: Wvbailey / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / “Image of sipapu (small round hole) in floor of ruin of kiva at Long House ruins in Mesa Verde.”


Third photo: Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / Ruins of ancient Ma’rib, the capital of the Sabaeans, in present-day Yemen.


Fourth photo: Torsten Bronger / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / The Cynus constellation

Enigmatic pillars and buildings



By Sharon St Joan


In 1963, when archeologists first went to southeastern Turkey to investigate Gobekli Tepe, they found the surrounding hills littered with stone tools, remnants left by ancient hunter-gatherers, just on the verge of transitioning to a new age of pastoralists and farmers.


Andrew Collins writes about Gobekli Tepe in his very fascinating book – Gobekli Tepe – Genesis of the Gods. It must have been an extraordinary place for archeologist Klaus Schmidt to see when he visited there in 1994.


Who could explain these elegant, enigmatic columns – tall, well-finished and beautifully carved with animal forms – going back many, many thousands of years to around 9,500 BCE, thousands of years earlier than any other known megalithic structures? What language did these early people speak and what was their culture? What gods did they worship? What were their lives like? And what was the meaning of these great, eerie, magnificent, mysterious columns inscribed with such strange art and symbols?


There was certainly a meaning to these great creations in stone, and these are our ancestors – one way or another – over 12,000  years their descendants must have spread both east and west, across the earth.




Back in 1963, when a joint Istanbul/Chicago team of archeologists visited Gobekli Tepe, the importance of the site, which had not been excavated, was not immediately apparent to them. Instead they focused on a site about one hundred and fifty miles to the north, Cayonu Tepesi. Cayonu Tepesi is a few miles from modern Diyarbakir, an ancient city first identified in Assyrian writings from around 1300 BCE, as being an Aramean or Aramaic city. (It’s a very long and very complex history.) This whole region in southeast Turkey lies not far north of the Syrian border.


Cayonu thrived between 8630 BCE and 6820 BCE, or about one thousand years later than the beginnings (unless there are earlier beginnings not yet excavated) of Gobekli Tepe. The people were using beaten, though not smelted, copper. They had domestic pigs, and had developed linen as a fabric. The site is near Gobekli Tepe and may well have been the same civilization.


The floors in the Cayonu buildings were extraordinary, in one case the flooring was composed of polished limestone slabs over six feet in length. In another building, the flooring, a hard polished surface of crushed lime and clay, was 16 inches thick.


In the interior of the rooms were stone posts and tall stone pillars.


Another Pre-Pottery Neolithic site, Nevali Cori, stands on a hill overlooking the Euphrates, thirty miles (forty-eight kilometers) north/northeast of Gobekli Tepe. Its heyday was between 8500 BCE to 7600 BCE, around the same time as Cayonu.


One of the rooms at Nevali Cori featured twelve columns, with the stone at the top of each column forming either a T or an L shape, like those at Gobekli Tepe. A separate elongated stone head was found, with a long ponytail. A pillar ten feet (3 meters) high, that still stands, was carved into a stylized human form, showing two hands around the body. The way that the hands are carved, with long narrow stylized fingers and no visible thumb, and their placement, is very reminiscent of the hands on the great stone statues, called moai, at Easter Island. The Easter Island heads are mostly not just heads, but can be seen to be torsos once they are uncovered from their burial under the earth. Many have hands just like this.




When German archeologist, Klaus Schmidt stood on the slope of Gobekli Tepe and looked across the scattered bits of sculpture strewn on the ground, he reached an alarming conclusion. He realized that if he did not leave immediately, he would feel compelled to devote the rest of his life to excavating this site. Fortunately for us, he did spend his remaining years at Gobekli Tepe. This was good because the entire hillside had been about to be turned into a giant quarry, from which to dig up stones for the construction of a new highway. Without Klaus Schmidt’s intervention to save the site, the world would never have glimpsed any of Gobekli Tepe, now believed to be the world’s oldest known megalithic structure.




Top photo: Teomancimit / Wikimedia Commons / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / A Gobekli Tepe pillar; the carved animals are believed to be a bull, a fox, and a crane.



Second photo: Krahenstein / Wikimedia Commons / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Cayonu Tepesi, the Skull Building.


Third photo: Ordercrazy / Wikimedia Commons / This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. / Klaus Schmidt.


Andrew Collin’s book, Gobekli Tepe, Genesis of the Gods is available on Amazon, click here.


© Sharon St Joan, 2016











Harran and Gobekli Tepe, ancient neighbors


Gobekli Tepe pillar



By Sharon St Joan


In his book, Gobekli Tepe, Genesis of the Gods, Andrew Collins begins with an account of the nearby ancient city of Harran. Both sites are in southeast Turkey, just north of Syria, within a few miles of each other.


Mongol hoards leveled Harran in 1271. It had existed since Mesopotamian times, and was known to the Romans as Carrhae.


The Great Mosque of Harran had been built during the early Islamic period on top of a pagan temple where the Mesopotamian moon god, Sin, was worshipped. Beside the now vanished mosque stands a 110 foot tower, which, it is believed, was used for astronomical observations. After the Moslem conquest, the people of Harran converted to Islam. It was lot safer to do that, but it is believed that they originally belonged to another faith, Sabaeanism. They worshipped the sun, the moon, and the planets.


Many ancient peoples, perhaps nearly all, also worshipped the sun, the moon, and planets. Today, icons of the nine planets can be seen in Hindu temples. Arranged in three rows of three each, they are the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, with Rahu and Kethu, the two nodes of the moon.


The moon god Sin was worshipped primarily in two centers in Mesopotamia – in Ur in the south and in Harran in the north. In the Sumerian language, the crescent moon was called Sakar. Sin was revered as “the father of the Gods,” “the creator of all things,” and the “lord of wisdom.” He rode on a winged bull.


Assyria. Head of winged bull, 9th century B.C.


Harran also appears in the Bible, and is the city where Abraham stayed with his family before setting off for Canaan. Harran has been around for a long time.


According to medieval sources, Abraham, while in Harran, set about trying to convert the Harranites to monotheism. Some, who were converted, traveled with him to Canaan, while others stayed behind, remaining true to the faith they believed had been handed down to them from Seth, Idris (Enoch), and Noah.


Abraham is regarded as the father of both Arabic and Jewish peoples. All around Harran, even today, people tell stories related to the Book of Genesis. In the mountains to the east of Harran, the peak Cudi Dag is believed to be where Noah landed the ark as the flood waters receded. Seth, the son of Adam and Eve, is said to have lived in the nearby Taurus Mountains, and the word Taurus, of course, means bull. The Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers have their sources in this area.


Harran beehive houses


Archeologists have found that Harran has been inhabited since around 6,000 BCE, and six miles away, Tell Idris (Idris means Enoch) is 2,000 years older, going back to 10,000 years ago. Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah. In his apocryphal book, Enoch first mentions the Watchers, a kind of angel.


Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and the northwest corner of Iran are all right there, near the upper regions of the Tigris and Euphrates. In Shanidar, in northern Iraq, are found the oldest bones of domesticated sheep, dating back to between 11,000 and 9,000 BCE.


As early as 8,000 BCE, hard stone drills were being used to fashion beautiful necklaces. Mirrors made of black obsidian have been found in Catal Hoyuk.


Harran and this whole region were a pivotal point at the beginnings of history.


From the top of a mound in Harran, gazing at the northern horizon, one spots a low range of mountains. In these mountains lies the amazing, unbelievably ancient site, Gobekli Tepe. It is the oldest recognized monumental architecture in the world. Its great, massive, carved stone columns arranged in circles go back to 9,500 BCE., built at the end of the last Ice Age. It’s T-shaped columns are gracefully carved with many animals. Discovered when a farmer accidentally stumbled upon the site, it first came to light in 1963, but the first excavation did not begin until its re-discovery by a German archaeologist, Klaus Schmidt, in 1994.



Gobekli Tepe, Genesis of the Gods, by Andrew Collins is available from Amazon. Click here.




Top photo: Zhengan / Wikipedia /” This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.” / Gobekli Tepe pillar.


Second photo: William Henry Goodyear / Brooklyn Museum / Wikimedia Commons / “The author died in 1923, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 80 years or less.” / Assyria. Head of winged bull, 9th century B.C.


Third photo: Zhengan / Wikipedia Commons /” This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.” / Harran beehive houses.


© Sharon St Joan, 2016





An older world than we thought…

Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe



Just a few years ago, an amazing complex of structures was discovered in eastern Turkey.  Known as Gobekli Tepe, these are about twenty stone circles – not formed of rough-hewn stone, like Stonehenge, but formed of straight, precisely cut and polished stone columns, with lintels across the top, decorated with animal sculptures.  These have been dated to around 12,000 years ago – thousands of years earlier than any previously known complex of carved structures.


They were apparently covered up by earth a couple of thousand years after they were created.  One can only suppose they were sacred sites and when the people were compelled to leave them, for whatever reason, they covered them up in order to preserve them to avoid having them deteriorate and fall apart over time.


The time that they were created, around 10,000 BC, coincides with the ending of the last Ice Age.


Gobekli Tepe is written about extensively in the book, Forgotten Civilization, by Robert Schoch, a geologist who gained international renown (and some measure of ridicule) for his work with John Anthony West, related to the Sphinx in Egypt, and the hypothesis that the Sphinx is much, much older, by thousands of years, than previously thought.


Dwarkadheesh Temple
Dwarkadheesh Temple


Graham Hancock, another well-known exponent of the concept that there was a high civilization, unknown to us, in the extremely remote past, examines this in his book Underworld, which looks at a number of sites, now underwater, which are evidence of very ancient, unknown civilizations.  His theory is that, because it is an accepted scientific fact that sea levels rose dramatically when the ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age, that the remains of ancient civilizations, which would have been located on what was then the coast, would now be entirely under the sea, often many meters below the surface.  Many of these sites have been found and Graham Hancock has dived some of them – at the island of Malta, Yonaguni which is off the southern coasts of Japan, Dwarka and other sunken cities off the coasts of India. At these and other underwater sites, there are very extensive remains of ancient megalithic structures.


There is growing interest in this concept of lost civilizations – really of a lost history of the world – and an increasing number of writers who investigate this topic.  It is also covered in the TV series, Ancient Aliens. Ancient Aliens leaves itself open to a certain level of ridicule by proposing that really just about everything in the distant past must have been built by ancient aliens who sailed to the planet earth in UFO’s.  This can strain the credibility even of those who have no problem at all believing in either UFO’s or very ancient civilizations.


However, the series does an excellent job of covering a great many really fascinating archeological sites of extreme antiquity, and is very much worth watching solely for the footage of these sites – if one isn’t too much put off be the assumption that ET himself must have built every single pyramid and every ancient ruin.



The throne room of Knossus
The throne room of Knossus



A new series on the H2 Channel is America Unearthed, in which the forensic geologist, Scott Wolter, travels across the U.S. looking into ancient sites on the American continent which indicate that America was discovered, not just by Columbus, and not just by the Vikings around 1,000 AD, as nearly everyone now accepts, but by many peoples from all corners of the world over many thousands of years.  For example, on Great Isle, on Lake Superior, there have been dug around 5,000 pits, used for extracting copper – one of these was dated to 3,700 BC.  The dating was done of cut and shaped timbers that were in place in one of the pits, supporting a large piece of copper.  A stone containing carved letters was found, and these turned out to be the letters of the Minoan script – the Minoans lived on the island of Crete, where, around 3,000 BC and earlier, they had a great need to mine copper to provide metal for the Bronze Age.  Perhaps they sailed all the way to the Great Lakes, and mined the copper that they found there to fuel the Bronze Age.


It seems increasingly clear that history, as we have been taught it, is simply not true.  It is woefully incomplete, and there are vast chapters of the ancient past that are only just beginning to come to light.  Great civilizations, unknown to us, may have extended for millennia back into the mists of time, perhaps other great worldwide civilizations from tens of thousands of years ago – or hundreds of thousands – or who knows?  Perhaps galactic civilizations lasting over billions of years?  If that’s too far-fetched, don’t worry – it was just a fleeting thought.  Even the sites now found from only a few thousand years farther back into the past will be sufficient to radically alter our view of history.


The well-settled world which we thought we knew fifty or sixty years ago – with its carefully defined boundaries and its nicely stable limitations – is not true.  The walls are falling down – all the preconceived notions – of history, of assumptions about the nature of the physical universe, about “reality” – all these are being upended.


This, if you like, is “the end of the world.”  It is the end of our tidy, finite, limited conceptualization of the world.  Concerning physics, it is the end of the Newtonian world.  Concerning history and archaeology, it is the end of history as we have known it.  It is, simply, the end of our human-imposed boundaries.


With string theories and multiple universes, ancient unsuspected high civilizations, with aliens of all sorts, ancient and modern – with everything that we could not previously have imagined, the world we had grown accustomed to has come to a close, the walls have come tumbling down, and a vast multi-verse of unfathomable, mystic realms — of myth and magic — awaits us.


Top photo: Author: Teomancimit / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / One of the carved columns at Gobekli Tepe.


Second photo: Author: Scalebelow / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / The Dwarakadheesh temple (Dwarakadhish temple/Dwarkadhish temple) at Dwarka, Gujarat, India.  The temple is thought to have been constructed on top of Lord Krishna’s original residential palace, by his grandson, Vajranabha.


Third photo: Author: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons /”This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / The throne room at the Minoan palace of Knossus on Crete.


To watch a video showing the ruins of Dwarka, off the west coast of India, click here.  (This is from the H2 program Ancient Aliens, but don’t let the ancient aliens distract you one way or the other; the relevant point here is to show you the ancient ruins.)



To watch the full episode of America Unearthed, “Great Lakes Copper Heist”, click here.