Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Animals of Gobekli Tepe

In 1998 a stone structure was uncovered in Anatolia (Turkey) that prompts reevaluation of our knowledge of megaliths. Gobekli Tepe is 12,000 years old and inaccurately referred to as the world’s first temple. To date it is the oldest megalithic observatory to be discovered, and questions abound as to who built it. Gobekli Tepe means “Potbelly Hill” and was discovered 1994 by Savak Yildiz, an old Kurdish shepherd. Later archaeologist Klaus Schmidt inspected the site and dated it to the Neolithic period. 

Excavation revealed T shaped stones in series of large rings, each stone weighing 10 – 20 metric tons. How these stones were moved is miraculous, and yet the most unique and intriguing thing about this site is that it was deliberately buried under as much as 650 cubic yards of debris, comprised of small limestone fragments, stone vessels and tools, and animal and human bones. 

Andrew Collins has spent years studying this site. In his presentation Finding Eden he states “These stones are incredibly beautifully carved.” He says they show a variety of different animals: herons, arachnids, vultures, pigs, bovines, aurochs, lizards, canines, reptiles, lions, flightless birds, water fowls, and on one stone, serpents crawling all the way around the side. 

It is said that this site raises more questions than it answers. A study of the symbols found on the stones, comparing them with other symbolic styles, and placing this structure in context of Duncan-Enzmann’s timeline will help answer some of these questions. It is he that can read the pictograms, and from them extract information about why the site was built, how the builders lived, and who they were. (see Ice Age Language: Translations, Grammar, and Vocabulary, Robert Duncan-Enzmann and J Robert Snyder) 

The study of symbols found throughout history is a proven and accurate way of gaining information about our ancestors and the places they lived. Duncan-Enzmann’s translations of Magdalenian transcriptions from 12,500 BC – only 2500 years prior to Gobekli Tepe – have brought solid information to our generation about Ice Age culture, and dispelled many of what I now term “Cave Man Myths.” It is likely that the picture language of the Magdalenians (Altamira and Lascaux being the most familiar) is the basis for the pictographs found on the stones at Gobekli. 

To begin decoding these picture stories let’s look at some symbols of a more recent culture, the Picts. Comparing Pictish inscriptions with those at Gobekli shows astonishing similarities. They style of art, the method of carving, even the subject matter is similar. One could come to the conclusion that the carvings were made by the same culture.

Pictures are the oldest language in the world, and pictograms are not a dead language – picture languages are based on nouns. Things. A lion is still a lion. The sun and moon are still the same images. Therefore, a language which uses images, or nouns (Duncan-Enzmann refers to them as Cardinals), is still valid in terms of communication. That these carvings resemble those by the Picts is the first observation. We can compare the Gobekli symbols to those made thousands of years prior and find the same result. Coupling these comparisons with the historic timeline of Duncan-Enzmann supports a conclusion that the ancestors of the Picts made them, and so it would be they that built Gobekli Tepe Observatory. It is aligned for observation, and the holes in the stones are perfectly bored, and were used for astronomical siting. (see Astronomical Advances in Prehistory, and Duncan-Enzmann Timeline)

Symbols are strong evidence of people and their traditions. Images still in use today can be traced back 70,000 years to their origin, made by our ancestors as they watched the skies and recorded their observations on stone, bone, and ivory. At first using pylons, then pillars, they later built megalithic observatories to aid them in their study of the movement in the heavens. That we are here is evidence of their dedication to understanding the natural world in which they lived; learning to predict seasons and migrations was necessary for survival. The animals depicted at Lascaux, Altamira, Gobekli Tepe, and many other sites are calendric records of these cycles. Almanacs of sorts. 

It is known that Gobekli was deliberately buried, not by natural disaster. So why did they bury it? An investigation into the history of human migration provides a clue, and knowing what the site was for is another. According to Duncan-Enzmann, Gobekli was buried to keep the observatory and its recorded knowledge out of the hands of an enemy that was bent on their destruction. There is no other likely reason to do all the work it would take to bury a site of that size, considering they buried without machines. Invasions of neighboring territories had already happened and many were slaughtered. We are no different today, we protect our advances, and keep our technology and weaponry secret. It is how we stay ahead of our enemies, and ahead in business. 

These were the ancestors of the Vanir and Ă†sir of 4000 BC that built a series of megalithic observatories all over the world for agriculture and navigational use. The Vanir circumnavigated the globe, measured the size of the earth, and created the divisions of time we still use today. The symbols they used are the basis for many we are familiar with today in religion, science, and art. They are the origin of many images in the Masonic and Alchemical traditions. Gobekli is indeed worth careful investigation. There is much to be learned if we look at what is there. Really look.

Michelle Paula Snyder
Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, and an author, publisher, speaker, and artist. She  did her post-graduate research at the University of Wales, decoding ancient and prehistoric symbolism, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales.  Her artwork has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.

Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Non-Fiction - Symbology:
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: Decoding Symbols through History
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Art and Symbols
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: ReVision
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Michelle Paula Snyder
Fiction – Fantasy Wonder Tales:
The Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time Lessons, First Book
Call of the Dragon and other Tales of Wonder
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book one: The Lost Unicorn
 A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book two The Lost Mermaid 
A Tale of Three Kingdoms, book three The Lost Dragon


  1. Hi Michelle,
    Am looking at many Australasian rock art correspondences with Gobekli Tepe, and as an Orkney Island descendant have spotted it there as well. Now that there seems to be possible Australasian presence in the Amazon am wondering if the pre Pictish people may have origins in the South Pacific. Would be glad of any thoughts you may have or if you can recommend anyone thinking along these lines I might contact, I'm a total beginner.
    Cheers, Wendy, Adelaide South Australia.

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  4. Hello and greetings. I was sure I saw reliefs of what some would consider a real, horselike unicorn on videos of Gobekli Tepe. Can you comment on this?

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