June 16, 2012 Gobekli Tepe 8 miles northeast of Sanliurfa, Turkey - On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, as the sun rose I was standing on the Gobekli Tepe hilltop. Ramps have been built around the archaeological excavations of mysterious, thin, tall (16 to 19 feet), T-shaped, elegantly carved limestone pillars placed carefully in circular patterns over some 30 acres a thousand feet above the valley floor and sculpted with odd, even unrecognizable, animals, insects and humanoid figures to be detailed in Part 2.
I joined Boston University geologist Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D., his wife Katie and their Turkish tour team of Gregory Poplawski and Jack Jakubowsky from Poland and Turkish guide Suat
Dokumaci, who led our group of about 40 Americans from Istanbul through many other ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine archaeological sites as we traveled southeastward to Gobekli Tepe during the first two weeks of June 2012.
Gobekli Tepe in Turkish means a “potbelly hill” first studied in a 1964 survey by Istanbul University and University of Chicago scientists, who concluded the hill could not be an entirely natural feature. But not until 1994 did German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, Ph.D., begin excavating layer-by-layer, carefully dating and studying the surrounding soils as he dug.
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