A temple complex in Turkey older than both Stonehenge and the Pyramidsmay overturn many of the assumptions of modern archeology and anthropology:
Standing on the hill at dawn, overseeing a team of 40 Kurdish diggers, the German-born archeologist [Klaus Schmidt] waves a hand over his discovery here, a revolution in the story of human origins. Schmidt has uncovered a vast and beautiful temple complex, a structure so ancient that it may be the very first thing human beings ever built. The site isn’t just old, it redefines old: the temple was built 11,500 years agoa staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid, and more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge first took shape. The ruins are so early that they predate villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculturethe first embers of civilization. In fact, Schmidt thinks the temple itself, built after the end of the last Ice Age by hunter-gatherers, became that emberthe spark that launched mankind toward farming, urban life, and all that followed.
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Schmidt’s thesis is simple and bold: it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in the very first urban conglomerations. The need to build and maintain this temple, he says, drove the builders to seek stable food sources, like grains and animals that could be domesticated, and then to settle down to guard their new way of life. The temple begat the city.