Taş Tepeler Project is Uncovering Ancient History

Taş Tepeler (Stone Hills) Project is one of the most important and exciting archeological studies of the recent decades. The project, which started in 2021, is currently taking place in the city of Şanlıurfa, Türkiye. The aim of the project is to uncover the ancient history of the oldest human civilization and the first religious temples.

woman statue in taş tepeler project

Many people have probably heard of Göbeklitepe which many experts call “the zero point of history.” As of today, Göbeklitepe, which dates back to 12,000 BC, is the oldest human-made monument, even older than Stonehenge, and proof of permanent human settlement and civilization.

the woman statue

While the first excavations in Göbeklitepe started in the 60s, more and more ancients sites have been discovered since then. In the 90s, Karahantepe was discovered but excavations on the site began in 2019. 2 years later, Türkiye Ministy of Culture and Tourism launched the Taş Tepeler Project.

close up of the woman statue found in taş tepeler project
Erdem Denk

The project combines the excavations on Göbeklitepe, Karahantepe, Gürcütepe, Sayburç, Çakmaktepe, Sefertepe and the Yeni Mahalle mound together under one big project. Since the start of the project, officials discovered many artifacts, stones, carvings, sculptures, and statues that shed light on the social and cultural life of this ancient civilization.

excavations at the sites

The carved stone with animal figures of a duck and wild boar.

carved rocks found in taş tepeler project
Gabrielle Ashley Boudville

In Sayburç excavations, archeologists discovered a stone with reliefs and carvings that probably describe a hunting scene. In the carvings, there are two men, two leopards, a snake and a boar. One of the man is wearing a triangle-shaped necklace which is common in the human depictions discovered on the sites.

human carving-statue in taş tepeler project

The human carving in the Sayburç stone.

human statue measured

This discovery was highly important in understanding the hunter-gatherer relations of the time. Moreover, it also reveals the ecology and inhabitants of the nature around the Taş Tepeler people and their interactions with them.

another carving found in taş tepeler project

The stones in this picture are the most important discovery on the Karahantepe excavations, yet. These stones and the stone human head near them are different than the Göbeklitepe ones. That is important and really interesting since it shows two different artistic approaches from very similar people living in close quarters. Experts believe that the discoveries on Karahantepe may be even older than the ones in Göbeklitepe.

vertical stones at the site
human sculpture at the excavations

Karahantepe excavation site has more than 250 stones with various carvings of animals and humans.

another excavation site
fox or wolf carving found in taş tepeler project
another carved stone with shapes

For the first time in 12,000 years, the teeth of a leopard statue saw daylight in 2021 at Karahantepe, Türkiye

excavation site protected by fence
göbeklitepe ruins

One of the recent discoveries in the Taş Tepeler Project was a human statue and a painted wild boar scultpure. The human statue’s most impressive aspect is its height. The statue is 2.3 meters or 7 ft 6 inch tall and was in the ground. The statue has a realistic face structure and a life-like autonomy with ribs, spine, and shoulder bones as well.

the newly discovered human statue
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Moreover, the boar sculpture has become the first painted sculpture belonging to that time. The boar is of the finest craftsmanship with its life-like features, and carved faces of people and snakes.

the boar statue
Göbeklitepe Excavation Team
vulture scultpure
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism
human statue found in in taş tepeler project
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism