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A unique sanctuary from the Neolithic period

Şanlıurfa Göbeklitepe Archaeological Site

Date of submission to the Tentative World Heritage List: 15/04/2011
List Reference:  5612

A unique sanctuary from the Neolithic period

The site of Göbeklitepe is located in the vicinity of Örencik village, 18 km northeast of the city center Şanlıurfa. The area was discovered during a field work in cooperation with the Istanbul University and University of Chicago, and was defined as "V52 Neolithic settlement". The actual value of the site was revealed only after the excavations had started out in 1994. The excavations showed that Göbeklitepe was a 12,000-year-old cult centre. In the middle of about 20 round and oval-shaped structures, with an approximate diameter of 30 m, there are two T-shaped, 5 m high limestone columns. There are also smaller columns in the inner walls of the structures. The scientific data in relation to Göbeklitepe yielded important information requiring the reassessment of the theoretical framework and dating of the archaeological study of the Neolithic period. The date, location, size and monumentality of the structures on the site proved Göbeklitepe to be a unique sanctuary of the Neolithic period. The site remained intact for 12,000 years in its natural ambience and is therefore an important archaeological find.

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