Göbekli Tepe: Who Built It, When and Why

Andrew Collins, GrahamHancock.com
Waking Times

We are pleased and honored to welcome back as June Author of the Month Andrew Collins. Join Andrew during June on the AoM Message Boards to discuss his new book Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods

Göbekli Tepe is a name familiar to anyone interested in the ancient mysteries subject. Billed as the oldest stone temple in the world, it is composed of a series of megalithic structures containing rings of beautifully carved T-shaped pillars. It sits on a mountain ridge in southeast Turkey, just 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the ancient city of Urfa, close to the traditional site of the Garden of Eden. Here, for the past ten thousand years, its secrets have remained hidden beneath an artificial, belly-shaped mound of earth some 330 by 220 yards (300 m by 200 meters) in size. Agriculture and animal husbandry were barely known when Göbekli Tepe was built, and roaming the fertile landscape of southwest Asia were, we are told, primitive hunter-gatherers, whose sole existence revolved around survival on a day-to-day basis.


So what is Göbekli Tepe? Who created it, and why? More pressingly, why did its builders bury their creation at the end of its useful life?

  • These are the questions I ask in new book Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, in which I provide compelling evidence that the myths of the Watchers of the book of Enoch and the Anunnaki of Mesopotamian myth and legend are memories of the Göbekli builders and their impact on the rise of civilization. I believe also that Göbekli Tepe was constructed by a hunter-gatherer population still in fear following a devastating cataclysm that nearly destroyed the world – a comet impact that science today recognizes as having taken place around 12,900 years ago, with terrifying aftershocks that lasted for several hundred years afterward.


    Human Hybrids

    Yet it seems unlikely that those who came up with a plan to counter the innate fear of another cataclysm (something that visionary and writer Barbara Hand Clow so aptly calls catastrophobia) were the indigenous population. This appears to have been orchestrated by members of an incoming culture, composed of groups of shamans, warriors, hunters and stone tool specialists of immense power and charisma. Their territories, across which they traded different forms of flint, as well ashematite used as red ochre, stretched from the Carpathians Mountains in the west to the Russian steppes and plain in the east. More incredibly, anatomical evidence points to them being of striking appearance – tall, with extremely long heads, high cheekbones, long faces, large jaws, and strong brow ridges, which some have seen as evidence they were Neanderthal-human hybrids. So who were these people?

    Rise of the Swiderians

    The answer is the Swiderians, whose mining operations in Poland’s Swietokrzyskie (Holy Cross) Mountains are among the earliest evidence of organized mining activities anywhere in the world. This advanced society, who thrived in both Central and Eastern Europe around the time of the comet impact event of 10,900 BC, was responsible for the foundation of various important post-Swiderian cultures of the Mesolithic age as far north as Norway, Finland, and Sweden, as far south as the Caucasus Mountains, and as far east as the Upper Volga river of Central Russia. The Swiderians’ highly advanced culture, which included a sophisticated stone tool technology, was derived from their distant ancestors, the Eastern Gravettian peoples that thrived between 30,000 and 19,000 BC in what is today the Czech Republic and further east on the Russian Plain.

    In around 10,500 BC I believe that Swiderian groups moved south from the East European Plain into eastern Anatolia. Here they gained control of the regional trade in the black volcanic glass known as obsidian at places like Bingöl Mountain in the Armenian Highlands and Nemrut Dağ an extinct volcano close to the shores of Lake Van, Turkey’s largest inland sea. This brought them into contact with the communities who would later be responsible for the construction of Göbekli Tepe around 9500-9000 BC.

    Ritual Purpose

    Everything suggests the Swiderians possessed a sophisticated cosmology gained in part from their cousins, the Solutreans of Central and Western Europe, who were themselves related to the Eastern Gravettian peoples. They believed in a cosmic tree supporting the sky world entered via the Great Rift—the fork or split in the Milky Way caused by the presence of stellar dust and debris—corresponding to the position in the northern heavens occupied by the stars of Cygnus, the celestial swan (a.k.a. the Northern Cross). The Swiderians believed also that birds were symbols of astral flight, and that this was the manner in which the shaman could reach the sky world. In Europe the bird most commonly associated with these beliefs and practices was the swan, while in Southwest Asia it was the vulture, a primary symbol of death and transformation in the early Neolithic age. Both birds are identified with the Cygnus constellation.


    Using this guise the shaman could enter the sky world and counter the actions of the supernatural creature seen as responsible for cataclysms like the comet impact of 10,900 BC, referred to by scientists today as the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) event. This cosmic trickster was seen to take the form of a sky fox or sky wolf, embodied perhaps in the leaping foxes carved in relief on the inner faces of key pillars at Göbekli Tepe, and remembered also as the Fenris-wolf responsible for causing Ragnorak, a major cataclysm preserved in Norse mythology. All across Europe, and into Southwest Asia, accounts exist of supernatural foxes and wolves that have attempted to endanger the sky pillar supporting the starry canopy, an act that if achieved would have brought about the destruction of the world.


    Someone realized that only by allaying people’s fears regarding the immense potency of the cosmic trickster could stability be truly restored to the world. And whenever this supernatural creature returned to the heavens in the guise of a comet—seen as a visible manifestation of the sky fox or sky wolf—it would be the shaman’s role to enter the sky world and counter its baleful influence, a primary motivation I see as behind the construction of Göbekli Tepe.


    Womb Chambers

    Yet there were clearly other reasons for the construction of Göbekli Tepe. Its stone enclosures served, most likely, as womb chambers, places where the shaman entered into a primal state, like that experienced before birth, after passing between the enclosures’ twin central pillars. These enormous monoliths, sometimes 18 feet (5.5 meters) in height and weighing as much as 16.5 US tons (15 metric tonnes) a piece, acted as otherworldly portals to invisible realms – true star gates in every sense of the word. And their target: the setting down on the local horizon of Deneb, Cygnus’s brightest star, which marked the start of the Milky Way’s Great Rift, a role played by Deneb as early as 16,500-14,000 BC. At this time Deneb acted as Pole Star, the star closest to the celestial pole during any particular epoch. Even after Deneb ceased to be Pole Star around 14,000 BC, due to the effects of precession (the slow wobble of the earth’s axis across a cycle of approximately 26,000 years), its place was taken by another Cygnus star, Delta Cygni, which held the position until around 13,000 BC.


    After this time the role of Pole Star went to Vega in the constellation of Lyra, the celestial lyre. When around 11,000 BC Vega moved out of range of the celestial pole, no bright star replaced it for several thousand years. This meant that when Göbekli Tepe was constructed, ca. 9500-9000 BC, there was no Pole Star. It was for this reason that Deneb, and the Milky Way’s Great Rift, retained their significance as the main point of entry to the sky world, making it the primary destination of the shaman. Standing stones erected in the north-northwestern sections of the walls in two key enclosures at Göbekli Tepe bore large holes that framed the setting of Deneb each night, highlighting the star’s significance to the Göbekli builders, and showing the precise direction in which the shaman should access the sky world.

    Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods

    Cosmic Knowledge

    Everywhere you look at Göbekli Tepe there is confirmation that its builders shared a sense of connection with the cosmos. From the strange glyphs and ideograms on the various stones, which include symbols resembling the letters C and H, to the twelvefold division of stones in the various enclosures, there is powerful evidence that these 11,000-year-old temples resonate the influence of the celestial heavens. The H glyphs seem to relate to the shaman’s journey from this world to the otherworld, while the C glyphs are almost certainly slim lunar crescents signifying the transition from one lunar cycle to the next. Even the design of the enclosures appears to have cosmic significance. Invariably the structures are ovoid in shape, with a length to breadth ratio of 5:4, numbers that could hint at the Göbekli builders’ profound awareness of cosmic time cycles not usually thought to have been understood until the age of Plato.

    If Swiderian groups were the shamanic elite responsible for Göbekli Tepe, then there is every chance that the cosmic knowledge encoded into its construction came, at least in part, from highly evolved individuals who were by nature Neanderthal-human hybrids of striking physical appearance. These people were most likely the product of interactions between Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans at the dawn of the Upper Paleolithic age, c. 40,000-30,000 BC. This is a very exciting realization that tells us that we might well have underestimated the dynamic potency of hybridization in the formative years of human history.

    Final Abandonment

    Over a period of around 1,500 years twenty or more major enclosures were constructed within the gradually emerging occupational mound at Göbekli Tepe. Old enclosures were periodically decommissioned, deconsecrated and covered over, quite literally “killed,” at the end of their useful lives. New structures were built to replace them, but as time went on they became much smaller in construction, until eventually the cell-like buildings were no larger than a family-sized Jacuzzi with pillars no more than five feet (a meter and a half) in height. Somehow the world had changed, and the impetus for creating gigantic stone temples with enormous twin monoliths at their centers was no longer there.

    Sometime around 8000 BC the last remaining enclosures were covered over with imported earth, stone chippings and refuse matter, and the site abandoned to the elements. All that remained was an enormous belly-like mound that became an ideal expression of the fact that the stone enclosures had originally been seen, not just as star portals to another world, but also as womb-like chambers, where the souls of shaman, or indeed the spirits of the dead, could quite literally journey to the source of creation, located somewhere in the vicinity of the Cygnus constellation. It was a concept dimly remembered in the name Göbekli Tepe, which in Turkish means “navel-like hill.”

    Serpent-headed People

    Even after Göbekli Tepe was abandoned, its memory, and those of the ruling elite behind its construction, lingered on among the Halaf and Ubaid peoples who flourished during the later half of the Neolithic age, ca. 6000-4100 BC. Like their predecessors, they gained control of the all-important obsidian trade at places such as Bingöl Mountain and NemrutDağ, close to Lake Van. Their elites, who would appear to have belonged to specific family groups, artificially deformed their already elongated heads, not only to denote their status in society, but also quite possibly to mimic the perceived appearance of great ancestors, seen to have possessed extremely long heads and faces. It is very possibly these great ancestors who are perhaps represented by the snake- or reptilian-headed clay figurines found in several Ubaid cemeteries.

    The Rise of the Anunnaki

    The elite of the Halaf and Ubaid were probably the forerunners of the god-kings who ruled the first city-states down on the Mesopotamian plain, which eventually became the civilizations of Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylon. Their scribes preserved in cuneiform writing the ruling dynasties’ mythical history, in which the founders of the Neolithic revolution are known as the Anunnaki, the gods of heaven and earth. Their birthplace was said to have been the Duku, a primeval mound located on the summit of a world mountain called Kharsag, or Hursag, and now identified with both Göbekli Tepe and Bingöl Mountain. Here the Anunnaki are said to have given human kind the first sheep and grain, a memory almost certainly of the introduction of animal husbandry and agriculture at the time of the Neolithic revolution, which occurred in the same region as Göbekli Tepe around 9000-8000 BC. The Anunnaki are occasionally likened to serpents, reflecting the snake-like appearance of Göbekli Tepe’s ruling elite, as well as those of the later Halaf and Ubaid cultures.

    The Coming of the Watchers

    Then we come to the impact Göbekli Tepe had on the earliest Semitic peoples of North Mesopotamia. Their oral traditions would one day be carried into the land of Canaan by the first Israelites and recorded down in religious works such as the book of Enoch and the book of Giants. In these so-called Enochian texts the prime movers behind the construction of Göbekli Tepe, and the subsequent Neolithic revolution, are described as human angels called Watchers, who are extremely tall, wear coats of feathers, possess visages like vipers (that is, extremely long facial features), and are occasionally described as Serpents (indeed, one Watcher is named as the Serpent that beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden). Two hundred of their number are said to have descended among mortal kind and taken mortal wives, who produced giant offspring called Nephilim.

    According to the book of Enoch, the human angels revealed to their wives the secret arts of heaven, many of which correspond with a number of firsts for humanity that took place in Southwest Asia in the wake of the Neolithic revolution. Are the Watchers a memory of the appearance in southeast Anatolia of Swiderian groups, whose striking appearance fits the vivid description of the Watchers offered in Enochian literature? If so, then does it suggest that the strange appearance of both the Watchers and the Anunnaki, with their serpent-like faces, might in part be down to them being Neanderthal-human hybrids? Were they the true founders of civilization?

    The Rivers of Paradise

    A memory also of this crucial epoch in human development is preserved perhaps in the stories of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. According to the book of Genesis this was located at the source of the four rivers of Paradise. Three can easily be identified as the Euphrates, Tigris and Araxes (the biblical Gihon), which all rise in eastern Anatolia. What is more, two of the rivers, the Euphrates and Araxes, take their rise in the vicinity of Bingöl Mountain, one of the primary sources of obsidian located just 200 miles (325kilometres) from Göbekli Tepe.

    Local tradition asserts that Bingöl was also the source of the fourth river of Paradise, the Pison, while ancient writers record that the true source of the Tigris was in the same region. Armenian tradition also speaks of Bingöl Mountain being the place of the gods and the summit of the world from which emerge four great rivers that carry the waters of life to every part of the world. Everything points toward Bingöl Mountain being not only the “birthplace” of the Anunnaki, but also the site of the mountain of Paradise, and the place of descent of the Watchers in the book of Enoch.

    The Secrets of Adam

    Gnostic writings, such as the various tracts found in a cave at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945, speak repeatedly of the so-called secrets of Adam being passed to his son Seth before his father’s death. Seth is said to have recorded them either in book form, or on tablets or pillars called stelae. These were hidden in or on a holy mountain, existing in the vicinity of the terrestrial Paradise, so that they might survive a coming cataclysm of fire and flood (a memory almost certainly of the Younger Dryas impact event). Called variously Charaxio, Seir, or Sir, this mountain is linked in early Christian tradition with the site inhabited by the generations of Adam following the expulsion of the first couple from Paradise.

    So what are the secrets of Adam, and where might they be found today? Do they pertain to the manner in which Göbekli Tepe was built to curtail the catastrophobia rife among the indigenous peoples of the region in the wake of the Younger Dryas impact event? Had this information been given to the local hunter-gatherers of the region by incoming Swiderian groups, whose elongated heads and long ancestry was connected with their origins as Neanderthal-human hybrids? Were their deeds mythologised into the stories of the human angels called Watchers found in the book of Enoch, and the Anunnaki gods alluded to in Mesopotamian tradition?

    As Angels Ourselves

    Where exactly was Charaxio, or Mount Seir, where the books of Seth containing the secrets of Adam await discovery? This is the quest I embark upon in the second half of Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods, with the result being the discovery in the Eastern Taurus Mountains of a forgotten Armenian monastery overlooking the traditional site of the Garden of Eden. Before its destruction at the time of the Armenian genocide of 1915, the monks here preserved archaic traditions concerning the Garden of Eden and the existence of a holy relic of incredible religious significance. Confirmation of the presence of this holy relic at the monastery (which in the seventh century was given a special decree of immunity from attack signed by the prophet Mohammed himself) reveals what could be Adam’s ultimate secret—the manner in which we as mortals can re-enter Paradise and become, as once we were, like angels ourselves. It is a story of discovery I would now like to share with you.

    There is little question that Andrew was one of the first writers to realize the greater significance of Göbekli Tepe … It is for this reason that Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods is such a masterwork, for it is the culmination of nearly twenty years of Andrew’s original research into the origins of the Neolithic revolution and its relationship to Hebrew traditions concerning the location of the Garden of Eden and the human truth behind the Watchers of the book of Enoch.

    In a testimonial written to accompany the publication of (Andrew’s book) From the Ashes of Angels (1996), I said that Andrew had put important new facts before the public concerning the mysterious origins of human civilization. I stand by this statement and add only that with his vast knowledge of the subject under discussion, there is no one better suited to reveal Göbekli Tepe’s place in history today”

    Graham Hancock from his Introduction
 to Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods


    From History of the Saints, Phillippe Buache, Published in 1783 in Paris.

    About the Author

    Andrew Collins is a historical writer and explorer living in the United Kingdom. He is the author of more than a dozen books that challenge the way we perceive the past. They include From the Ashes of Angels (1996), which establishes that the Watchers of the book of Enoch and the Anunnaki of the Sumerian texts are the memory of a shamanic elite that catalyzed the Neolithic revolution in the Near East at the end of the last ice age; Gateway to Atlantis (2000), which pins down the source of Plato’s Atlantis to the Caribbean island of Cuba and the Bahaman archipelago; Tutankhamun: The Exodus Conspiracy (coauthored with Chris Ogilvie Herald, 2002), which reveals the truth behind the discovery of Tutankhamun’s famous tomb; and The Cygnus Mystery (2007), which shows that the constellation of Cygnus has been universally venerated as the place of first creation and the entrance to the sky world since Paleolithic times.

    In 2008 Andrew and colleague Nigel Skinner Simpson discovered a previously unrecorded cave complex beneath the pyramids of Giza, which has brought him worldwide acclaim. It is a story told in his book Beneath the Pyramids (2009).

Andrew’s latest book Gobekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods is the culmination of twenty years’ study of the origins of the Watchers and Nephilim of the book of Enoch, and the Anunnaki of Sumerian myth and legend. For more on Andrew Collins go to www.andrewcollins.com

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