The latest ideas that the appearance of the dog star, Sirius, for the first time in their history inspired the temple builders of 11,000 years old Gobekli Tepe, the world’s oldest known temple, are fascinating.
It’s a site I’d love to visit, as I would Catalhoyuk, another neolithic site in Turkey, and one of the worlds first cities. A honeycomb place without streets, footpaths, windows or any public buildings. Why would thousands of people choose to live that way?
So it looks like religion came first – or maybe it was astronomy. I rather like the idea of neolithic scientists. Perhaps in those days there was no distinction between the two. Trying to imagine the world-views of people from that era, that lost culture, intrigues me. Perhaps it’s impossible. Whatever their reasons and beliefs, I think they were trying to understand and measure the world, with the desire to predict, or even control it.
Like Stonehenge the questions Who? How? and Why remain.Culture there must have been – to move the 40-60 tonne stones and carve the accomplished animal designs. The theory that dawning agriculture drove society, religion and art seems overthrown, at least here. Rather than spare calories driving innovation somehow it’s nice to think that first they looked up at the sky in awe and dreamed, and then acted on those dreams.