World History

Göbekli Tepe D: Mysteries Continue

Göbekli Tepe D: Mysteries Continue

Central Pillars

Stone Guardians

The Oldest Ideagrams?

Exploiting Catastrophobia?

The Final Clue?

Experiencing Enclosure D

Göbekli Tepe D: Mysteries Continue

Central Pillars

They stand side by side in the center of Enclosure D, these two T pillars, even more massive than the ones along the sides. Each is 18 feet tall and weighs 16.5 tons.

If we wondered how the smaller pillars were raised, the difficulty has now multiplied.

How did they stand? These pillars stand in rectangular pedestals carved into the bedrock: but at only 4-6 inches deep, the pillars are unstable.

At the site, they are supported by scaffolding.

That seems odd. It’s not at all what we have come to expect of these precise engineers. Maybe they were stabilized by the roof that they supported at its apex?

Another thing seems odd. The top stones slant downward slightly toward the enclosure entrance.

Stone Guardians

Oh, my goodness!

These pillars represent people! They have skinny arms slanting downward along the broad sides of the uprights. The fingers almost meet on the thin side, just above a belt’s buckle. From the belt hangs a fox (wolf?) pelt loin cloth, the animal’s tail hanging downward. And each “person” wears a neck ornament.

That makes the top stone the head of the statue. There are no features at all!

Now, we have more questions! Was facial identity unimportant? Did one statue represent a group of people instead of an individual? Are features left off as a kind of respect by not reproducing the face?

Who are these stone guardians? Heroes? Gods? Ancestors? All of the above? Is this the long memory of the Sethite line from Adam? Why only two? Why are both men? Is one a chief and the other a shaman?

For that matter, do the other pillars also represent people?

And why is the eastern central pillar more decorated than the western?

The western pillar has a featureless belt and buckle. It has a fox loin cloth. (Was the fox/wolf already the evil trickster it would become in world mythology?)

The head of a horned bull is the neck ornament, and one arm seems to carry a fox.

The eastern pillar’s belt is wide and highly decorated. There are flightless birds on the pedestal.

The Oldest Ideagrams?

Speaking of the decorations, they do not seem random. They are few in variety. The most frequently used are the C and the H…or maybe it’s two connected Ts. All of them are sometimes in these positions, but sometimes on their sides. Does position mean anything?

None of these are obvious carvings of natural things. Yet, they don’t seem to form words. It is thought that these and other less frequent symbols are ideagrams. They express an idea, such as love or war or courage. If so, we don’t know what ideas they represent.

On the neck of the eastern pillar is this: an H, beneath that a doughnut with a hole, and below that a C on its side so it looks like a cup.

The belt is completely decorated with Hs and (s in varied positions. The belt comes around to the front of the pillar where there is an oddly decorated buckle. It is a thick U shape with another inside it. Inside of both is a single thick upright. (See the photo above.)

Exploiting Catastrophobia?

The book interprets the belt buckle symbol as a three-tailed comet that caused massive destruction. It hypothesizes that the Swiderians obtained primacy by exploiting the catastrophobia of other cultures. They offered “protection” from a repeat of the event through knowledge and ceremony.

If that is a three-tailed comet on the buckle, and the Swiderians did act on those fears, it makes sense to give it important placement.

Remember, though, that we have already recognized serious questions about an event of worldwide destruction by a comet. However, comets could have been part of that destruction, perhaps even an early part of the event. In that case, they could be remembered as the heralds of worldwide destruction.

All of this is, of course, speculation.

The Final Clue?

You know, I keep returning to the heads of the central pillars.

It’s not just the featureless visages. It’s the heads themselves.

Why do they bother me? The overall art isn’t naturalistic, so why should I expect the heads to be accurate human heads? After all, there are no legs, and the arms are extremely thin, as if these parts are not important. Perhaps that’s also the message of the blank faces.

But the heads are so very alien! Look at the markedly thin faces. And the proportions of the heads are not even close to normal.

That’s what bothers me: the proportions! The anterior-posterior ratio of each head is significantly longer than the width. In fact, it seems to be accentuated to draw attention to the head.

Maybe that’s why the faces are featureless. It’s the heads that are important.

And the heads are definitely Swiderian!

Experiencing Enclosure D

You are in the time of Enclosure D.

You have never seen the night sky so clear and bright. But it’s normal here and now because this is pre-industrialization.

You enter the Enclosure.

The night sky behind you illuminates the interior darkness in a straight path to the Sighting Stone, the heart of this place. Your eyes are drawn to the hole in the stone, illuminated with its own sky light.

Looming between you and the Sighting Stone are the massive Stone Guardians: two statues of Swiderians whose heads soar into the shadows of the roof, but can be seen bent toward you, staring at you while you enter, as if demanding to know your purpose here.

Slipping sideways to a bench, you are deeply relieved that you will not be the one to walk between those pillars tonight.

Suggested reading:

Collins, Andrew. Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2014, p. 51-56, 120, plates 11-14 and 16.

Photo credit: ©tegmen from