göbekli tepe (turkish for ‘hill with a tummy’), which is a hilltop sanctuary built on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge about 15km northeast of the town of şanlıurfa (urfa)in southeast turkey. it is said to have been erected by hunter-gatherers at perhaps 11,500 b.c. this is believed to be before the advent of permanent year-round settlement. the finely carved pillars that support the roof seem to conflict with what is understood of other nomadic hunter gatherer cultures. they would require sustained effort over considerable time periods to produce and as such, places into question the nature of the transition to the neolithic agrarian societies. however it is considered to be the oldest known shrine or temple complex in the world and the planet’s oldest known example of monumental architecture.
together with the site of nevalı çori, it is extremely important to our understanding of the anatolian stone age. at the oldest level, the buildings at göbekli tepe contain monolithic t-shaped pillars, which link to coarsely built walls, which form circular or oval buildings. so far four such buildings, with diameters between 10 and 30m, have been uncovered. geophysics suggest 16 more structures exist there.
see early neolithic cities for further comment