Gobekli Tepe Sculpted Reptiles an the Urfa Plain

Gobekli, located to the southeast of Nevali Cori, was initially recorded by Peter Benedict in 1963 as part of the joint survey in southeastern Anatolia conducted by Istanbul University and the University of Chicago (Benedict 1980).This mound, located on a rock outcrop, caught the attention of the German team from Heidelberg University because of the stone sculpture and pillar fragments and flint tools that lay scattered on its surface. Excavation quickly established that this is an early PPNB site with a building that contained sculpture fragments, and slab-like pillars with animals carved in low relief (Gates 1997:246,Figure1;Schmidt 1997;Ture etal. 1999:Plate26-28). The stone sculptures are in a style similar to that at Nevali Sori, but depict very different images: reptiles are common, including one with a long snout and prominent teeth (Schmidt 1997:Figure4). Both this animal and a second reptile with prominent tail (sculpted in high relief on a pillar fragment; Schmidt 1997:Figure5) share the upright arms and legs and swollen body that are familiar from the Nevali Cori plaque as well as Catalwall reliefs. Other finds mentioned by Schmidt are a human head over 20 cm high, a standing male with erect penis, a wolflike animal, and a lion or bear holding a human head between its paws (1997:75-78, Figure 6). Both sculptures and the decoration of the new pillared structure suggest a cult budding, but with images of supernatural figures quite different from those at Nevali Cori.

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