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 Location: West of Kantara, village of Hilvan, Turkey.  Grid Reference: 37.58° N, 38.63° E

 

      Nevali Çori: (Cult Buildings).

 

The discoveries at Nevali Cori have contributed to an emerging picture of Neolithic progress in the middle-east that is pushing the date of 

The site was examined in 1993 during the erection of the Attaturk Dam. Excavations were conducted by a team from the University of Heidelberg under the direction of Professor Harald Hauptmann. Together with numerous other archaeological sites in the vicinity, Nevali Cori has since been inundated by the dammed waters of the Euphrates.

(Map of site - How to get there)

 

 

   Nevali Çori: (Pron. Chor-ree).

This site, together with numerous others in the vicinity are now underwater and no longer visible.

(Various remains, including the monolith are now on display in the nearby  'Urfa' museum).

The site of one of the oldest carved monoliths in the world. The temples were lost when the Ataturk dam was established and flooded the area. The central cult building has been carbon dated to 8,000 BC, and consisted of a temple built with 13 stone uprights in the walls, and with an enormous monolith in the centre (once a pair). The design of the temple has been compared to the Kalasaya at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, while the hands on the monolith are reminiscent of those on the Easter island statues.

Of the 22 buildings uncovered at Nevali Cori, only one appears to have been used as a dwelling. The presence of decorated skulls inside the shrines, as at several other Neolithic sites in the middle east (Çayönü, Çatal Huyuk etc), suggests that the site was used for the practice of a common ritual. The evidence emerging from this site strongly suggests the 'the sculpted figures and carvings depict shamanic individuals adorned in coats and head-dresses of vulture feathers'. (1)

 

Chronology: According to carbon dating, the earliest occupation of the site began at about 8,400 BC. The settlement was continuously in use until the middle of the sixth millennium BC. (1)

 

 

In terms of absolute dates, 4 radiocarbon dates have been determined for Nevalı Çori. Three are from Stratum II and date it with some certainty to the second half of the 9th millennium BC, which coincides with early dates from Çayönü and with Mureybet IVA and thus supports the relative chronology above. The fourth dates to the 10th millennium.

(Ref: wikipedia.org)

 

 

 

Farming and Agriculture-

Analysis of the seeds discovered from the site shows that farming in the form of domesticated wheat was practised at Nevali Cori as early as 7,200 BC. (2)

 

The Statues and Carvings.

The local limestone was carved into numerous statues and smaller sculptures, including a more than life-sized bare human head with a snake or sikha-like tuft. Some of the pillars also bore relief's, including ones of human hands. The free-standing anthropomorphic figures of limestone excavated at Nevali Cori belong to the earliest known life-size sculptures. Comparable material has been found at Göbekli Tepe (Currently considered to be the oldest temple in the world at c. 9,500 BC).

Several hundred small clay figurines (about 5 cm high), most of them depicting humans, have been interpreted as votive offerings. They were fired at temperatures between 500-600°C, which suggests the development of ceramic firing technology before the advent of pottery proper.

This particular sculpture (right) is claimed to be the head of an Indian Vedic priest by B. G. Sidhartha, who whilst researching the early (similar) date of the Rig Veda, came across it in the archaeological literature. He said of it:

"Even a not-too-well informed Indian can make this out to be the sculpture of a Vedic priest, because such a hairstyle is a dying, but still alive tradition in India today". (3)

(More about ancient India)

 

Alignments:

  - The corners of the main 'cult' building are aligned cardinally, leaving the temple facing almost exactly SW. The monoliths inside (originally there were two), were both orientated so as to face out of the building and along the Euphrates river. Nevali Cori is suggested by Collins (1), to be orientated towards Giza, 1080 Km away.

 

(Other Prehistoric Turkish sites)

 

References:

1). A. Collins. Gods of Eden. 1998. Headline book Publ.
2). www.ndsu.nodak.edu
3). B.G. Sidhartha. The Celestial Key to the Vedas. 1999. Inner Traditions Publ.

 

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