Turkish temple older than civilization  FEB 22 2010

An archeological find in Turkey, believed to be a temple built 11,500 years ago that predates "villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculture", suggests religion created civilization and not the other way around.

Most startling is the elaborate carving found on about half of the 50 pillars Schmidt has unearthed. There are a few abstract symbols, but the site is almost covered in graceful, naturalistic sculptures and bas-reliefs of the animals that were central to the imagination of hunter-gatherers. Wild boar and cattle are depicted, along with totems of power and intelligence, like lions, foxes, and leopards. Many of the biggest pillars are carved with arms, including shoulders, elbows, and jointed fingers. The T shapes appear to be towering humanoids but have no faces, hinting at the worship of ancestors or humanlike deities.

Photos and more from Smithsonian magazine and Wikipedia.

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