Located more than 500 miles away from the crowded streets of Istanbul, Sanliurfa in south-eastern Turkey, there in 1994 on a dusty hilltop, a local shepherd noticed the tip of a stone sticking out of his field. He began to dig eventually unearthing a 19-foot pillar. Its edges were precise and rising from its center was a carving of a strange animal. Upon closer examination, it appeared that the finely chiseled stones had been fashioned by talented stonemasons working with advanced tools. When the word of this discovery reached the scientific community, one fact became obvious. This shepherd had stumbled upon what is perhaps the most astonishing archaeological discovery in modern times. A site known as Gobekli Tepe.
Test results have supported the idea that Gobekli Tepe is nearly 12,000 years old- almost 7,000 years older than Mesopotamia’s fertile crescent, long heralded as the cradle of civilization. Curiously, archaeologists have failed to recover any stone cutting tools. Who built this site and what is its purpose? Could this discovery radically change our understanding of human history?