Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?

Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey’s stunning Gobekli Tepe upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization.

Now seen as early evidence of prehistoric worship, the hilltop site was previously shunned by researchers as nothing more than a medieval cemetery.

By Andrew Curry
Photograph by Berthold Steinhilber
Smithsonian Magazine, November 2008

New Light on Stonehenge

Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it’s the site of the world’s oldest temple.

“Guten Morgen,” he says at 5:20 a.m. when his van picks me up at my hotel in Urfa. Thirty minutes later, the van reaches the foot of a grassy hill and parks next to strands of barbed wire. We follow a knot of workmen up the hill to rectangular pits shaded by a corrugated steel roof—the main excavation site. In the pits, standing stones, or pillars, are arranged in circles. Beyond, on the hillside, are four other rings of partially excavated pillars. Each ring has a roughly similar layout: in the center are two large stone T-shaped pillars encircled by slightly smaller stones facing inward. The tallest pillars tower 16 feet and, Schmidt says, weigh between seven and ten tons. As we walk among them, I see that some are blank, while others are elaborately carved: foxes, lions, scorpions and vultures abound, twisting and crawling on the pillars’ broad sides.

Schmidt points to the great stone rings, one of them 65 feet across. “This is the first human-built holy place,” he says.

From this perch 1,000 feet above the valley, we can see to the horizon in nearly every direction. Schmidt, 53, asks me to imagine what the landscape would have looked like 11,000 years ago, before centuries of intensive farming and settlement turned it into the nearly featureless brown expanse it is today.

Prehistoric people would have gazed upon herds of gazelle and other wild animals; gently flowing rivers, which attracted migrating geese and ducks; fruit and nut trees; and rippling fields of wild barley and wild wheat varieties such as emmer and einkorn. “This area was like a paradise,” says Schmidt, a member of the German Archaeological Institute. Indeed, Gobekli Tepe sits at the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent—an arc of mild climate and arable land from the Persian Gulf to present-day Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Egypt—and would have attracted hunter-gatherers from Africa and the Levant. And partly because Schmidt has found no evidence that people permanently resided on the summit of Gobekli Tepe itself, he believes this was a place of worship on an unprecedented scale—humanity’s first “cathedral on a hill.”

With the sun higher in the sky, Schmidt ties a white scarf around his balding head, turban-style, and deftly picks his way down the hill among the relics. In rapid-fire German he explains that he has mapped the entire summit using ground-penetrating radar and geomagnetic surveys, charting where at least 16 other megalith rings remain buried across 22 acres. The one-acre excavation covers less than 5 percent of the site. He says archaeologists could dig here for another 50 years and barely scratch the surface.

Gobekli Tepe was first examined—and dismissed—by University of Chicago and Istanbul University anthropologists in the 1960s. As part of a sweeping survey of the region, they visited the hill, saw some broken slabs of limestone and assumed the mound was nothing more than an abandoned medieval cemetery. In 1994, Schmidt was working on his own survey of prehistoric sites in the region. After reading a brief mention of the stone-littered hilltop in the University of Chicago researchers’ report, he decided to go there himself. From the moment he first saw it, he knew the place was extraordinary.

Unlike the stark plateaus nearby, Gobekli Tepe (the name means “belly hill” in Turkish) has a gently rounded top that rises 50 feet above the surrounding landscape. To Schmidt’s eye, the shape stood out. “Only man could have created something like this,” he says. “It was clear right away this was a gigantic Stone Age site.” The broken pieces of limestone that earlier surveyors had mistaken for gravestones suddenly took on a different meaning.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html#ixzz0gX82elg3

Tiger Woods: Rehabbing His Brand

We’ve got how many wars going on this planet?

How much corruption being exposed in government? How much mass unemployment? Violence? This is what the mainstream news flooded TV screens around the world with??????


Wake up world!

THIS IS NOT WHAT MATTERS on Planet Earth. Don’t let corporate America tell you that it is!!!!

Tiger Woods: Rehabbing His Brand posted by DAVE ZIRIN – The Nation Today’s Tiger Woods press conference was an exercise in painful self-abasement that will achieve the opposite of its intended effect. I haven’t seen anything this painfully scripted since the Phantom Menace. The same George W. Bush media advisers who gave us Mission Accomplished were hired by Tiger to present the world with Emission Regretted. There are right now two kinds of people on earth. Those who would die happy if they never hear the name of Tiger Woods again and those who want their pound of flesh. The people sick of the Tiger Woods drama could care less about his marriage, his personal life, and today’s awkward, scripted statement. Those who want their pound of flesh, are itching for Tiger to do the stations of the tabloid-cross: Oprah, tears, and “humility.” “He owes us an apology,” they say. What they don’t say is that an uncomfortable part of this is as American as apple pie: a prurient obsession with black male sexuality – particularly those African American men involved with sports. From boxer Jack Johnson to Tiger Woods, a sex scandal is never so juicy as when black men are at the center of it. Tiger tried today, but the day’s carefully scripted message served to satisfy neither those sick of this story nor people who like their reality television in-the-raw. Tiger spoke repeatedly and vaguely about “never repeating the mistakes I made” and “running through the boundaries of acceptable behavior.” I’m sure he believes he humbled himself, but the chum is now officially in the water. The chum stinks to the haters and just makes the fanatics hungrier. But both sides don’t get the central dynamic of today’s Seinfeld-like press conference (it was about nothing). This is about brand rehabilitation for the first billion dollar athlete. This was about game-planning to get Tiger back on the course for the Masters in April. Apologies were forthcoming for Tiger’s business partners, as well as the people who “work for me” at Tiger Woods, inc. Now he returns to the “sexual addiction clinic in Mississippi” (to help those wealthy men who get caught with their pants down. Men who aren’t caught need not apply). The sad truth is that Tiger Woods the man clearly wanted to get up and say, “I publicly apologize to my wife and family who I have publicly humiliated. To everyone else, it’s none of your business.” That might have felt right to the Tiger the man, but today we saw what you do when you’re a brand before a man.

School ‘spied on pupils at home through webcams’

Administrators of a wealthy suburban school district have been spying on students and their families at home after giving them laptops fitted with webcams, according to a lawsuit filed by parents.

By Tom Leonard in New York

The Lower Merion School District, which administers a Philadelphia suburb that is one of the wealthiest parts of Pennsylvania, issued all 1,800 students at its two high schools with laptops so they could access school materials at home.

However, according to a civil action filed in the local US district court, neither parents nor their children were ever warned that the access worked both ways.

Michael and Holly Robbins claim they were alerted to the snooping when an assistant principal at Harriton High School warned their son, Blake, in November last year that he was “engaged in improper behaviour in his home”, citing a photo taken on his laptop webcam as evidence.
Mr Robbins said he later verified through the assistant principal, Lindy Matsko, that the school district was able at any time to “remotely activate” the webcam in a student’s laptop and “view and capture” whatever image was in its line of sight, all without the user’s knowledge or permission.

The lawsuit also argues that “many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions” including “various stages of undress”, the lawsuit adds.

Robbins family have filed a class action on behalf of all parents and pupils at the schools against the school district, its board of directors and its superintendent.

They are seeking damages for invasion of privacy, theft of private information and unlawful interception, claiming the defendants made “indiscriminate use” of the webcams to “spy” on students and the families.

The laptops were given out as part of a “one-to-one” computer initiative led by Christopher McGinley, the school’s superintendent.

On the school district’s website, Mr McGinley boasted that it was “ahead of the curve” in this initiative, which would provide an “authentic mobile 21st century learning environment”.
He added that it “enhances opportunities for ongoing collaboration, and ensures that all students have 24/7 access to school-based resources and the ability to seamlessly work on projects and research at school and at home”.

The lawsuit claims the district’s use of the webcams violates the American Constitution’s guarantees of privacy as well as Pennsylvania common law and the US Civil Rights Act.
A statement from the school said: “The District is dedicated to protecting and promoting student privacy. The laptops do contain a security feature intended to track lost, stolen and missing laptops. This feature has been deactivated effective today.”