By Esber Ayaydin
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) – German archeologist Professor Klaus Schmidt, who shed light on the history of humanity in Gobeklitepe, known as the “zero point in history” in southeastern Turkey, is commemorated on the fifth year of his demise.
Recognized by many international organizations, Gobeklitepe — hailed as the world's oldest known temple — was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.
Located in the southeastern Sanliurfa province, Gobeklitepe was found in 1963 in a surface research by researchers from universities in Istanbul and Chicago.
In 1986, a farmer who was cultivating his field found a sculpture, and later concrete findings were unearthed in the area.
The sculpture, which was initially unidentified, was taken under protection in a museum.
Prof. Schmidt, who visited the area in 1994, noticed that the stones on the upper parts of Gobeklitepe belong to the Neolithic period.
Thereupon, under the chairmanship of the Sanliurfa Museum Directorate, Professor Harald Hauptmann of the German Archaeological Institute, and later on Prof. Schmidt and his team carried out continuous excavation works at the site from 1995 until 2006.
In 2007, Prof. Schmidt became the head of excavations in Gobeklitepe.
The excavations under the direction of Schmidt revealed important clues for the history of humanity.
A human statue from the Neolithic era, limestone-shaped wild boar, fox and bird reliefs, as well as a large number of silex-made arrowheads were found in excavations.
The T-shaped obelisks from the Neolithic era towering some 3-6 meters (10-20 feet) high and weighing 40-60 tons have been also unearthed at the site.
During the excavations, diverse historical artifacts like 8-30 meters (26-98 feet) in diameter, circular and rectangular in shape, the world's oldest temple remains, as well as a 65-centimeter-long (26-inch) human statue dating back 12,000 years have also been discovered.
The site, the fame of which quickly crossed the borders, was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List in 2011.
Prof. Schmidt passed away at age of 61 on July 20, 2014 due to heart attack in Germany where he had gone on vacation.
Gobeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 1, 2018.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev