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The traditional view is that erecting a complex on the order of Göbekli Tepe would have required a sedentary, organized, labor force; and this would only be possible after domestication and agriculture were well established. Did the gathering of large numbers of people at Göbekli Tepe cause depletion of the local natural resources, and essentially force the development of agriculture?Early farming may have been disadvantageous compared to gathering and hunting in a paradise.Vultures in particular may represent birds that carried away the dead, and human bones found in association with Göbekli Tepe have been suggested as in­dications of a death cult. Göbekli Tepe has been hailed in some circles as figuratively, if not literally, the Biblical Garden of Eden.Some of the human bones appear to have been unburied, perhaps left to be scavenged by wild animals as was done in various later cultures (Tibet is an example). Like the fabled Eden, it lies between the northern portions of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.What I would have given for a good example of megalithic structures securely dated to 10,000 or 12,000 years ago. Located in modern Turkey, just north of the border with Syria, Göbekli Tepe (the name means hill with a belly or navel) has yielded dozens of carved limestone megaliths, many of which date back to the extraordinarily early period of 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. The date is incredibly early, even earlier than my “conservative” estimate for the date of the Great Sphinx.Klaus Schmidt (German Archaeological Institute) has been heading the excavation team since 1994, and there is no doubt as to the importance, authenticity, and dating (based on radiocarbon) of Göbekli Tepe. Göbekli Tepe dates back to the end of the last Ice Age.The megaliths excavated thus far were originally erected in four distinct stone circles, ranging from ten to thirty meters in diameter. Based on the known evidence, the site was not permanently inhabited; no living areas have been found.

Did each of the approximately two dozen stone circles belong to a different tribe?

The Sphinx, if indeed it dated so far back, appeared alone, isolated, with no solid context so very long ago. Enter evidence from other quarters that high culture dates back at least 12,000 years.

Göbekli Tepe When I first publicized my re-dating of the Sphinx, one of the accusations repeatedly hurled by the establishment amounted to this: It is impossible for the Sphinx (more correctly the proto-Sphinx, since it has been reworked, re­paired, and the head re-carved) to be so old, since people back then did not possess the social and organizational capa­bility to undertake such a massive project.

Some suggest that the T-shaped pillars represent stylized human figures.

The general consensus, not to say it is cor­rect, is that Göbekli Tepe was a religious site, a very ancient temple, a holy and sacred spot, a series of shrines, a pil­grimage site.

When I look at the carvings of animals, I think of shamans with their animal totems and guides.

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