A short distance away from the fabulously old Gobekli Tepe is an (older) sister site - Karahantepe (or Karahan Tepe). Gobekli Tepe is a Neolithic archeological site that is dated between 9,500 and 8000 BC and Karahan Tepe maybe even older.

Karahan Tepe is only around 35 kilometers (or 20 miles) from Gobekli Tepe and appears to be just as old (or older). At the site, archeologists have uncovered similar T-shaped stelae there including 250 obelisks featuring animal figures according to Daily Sabah. Excavations are ongoing and it is a very exciting time with new discoveries being made constantly.


About Gobekli Tepe And Karahan Tepe

Gobekli Tepe (or Göbeklitepe) is between 12,000 and 10,000 years old and has been dated to pre-pottery Neolithic times. By the time the Pyramids of Egpyt was built, this site was already ancient. The site appears to be a large ritual site and interestingly there is no evidence that the people who built it were settled or even farmed. Instead, it seems to have been built by hunter-gathers in the region.

  • Gobekli Tepe Age: Around 12,000 years Old
  • Karahan Tepe Age: Currently Undated But Could Be Much Older

At this point in time much more is known about Gobekli Tepe than Karahan Tepe, but that may change in the coming years. It is hard to overstate how important Gobekli Tepe and now Karahan Tepe are.

One of the things about Karahan Tepe that distinguishes it from Göbeklitepe is the Stelae with human depictions and three-dimensional human sculptures.

Fortunately for posterity, it seems that Karahan Tepe was filled with dirt and rubble - that had the effect of preserving the columns. The columns are very distinctive T-topped columns that have been carved into the bedrock.

Today the excavations here are part of the Gobekli Tepe Culture and Karahantepe Excavations project. It is located in the Tektek Mountains and it (together with Gobekli Tepe) has challenged much of what was believed and assumed about how states form and how "civilization" begins. It has changed much of what was thought of about prehistoric civilization.

  • Date Discovered: Karahan Tepe Was Discovered In 1997

Some archeologists even suspect that Karahan Tepe could be even older than Gobekli Tepe. According to Ancient Origins, researchers believe "that Karahan Tepe “is much older,” than its “younger sister,” Göbekli Tepe."

Daily Sabah meanwhile reported Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy as saying:

"Göbeklitepe has a history of 12,000 years. Our new settlement in Karahantepe will be older...We will probably have a new discovery that will make an overwhelming impression on the world again after Göbeklitepe,"

Related: Archaeologists Want To Explain These 15 Strange Desert Finds (But Can't)

Part Of The Taş Tepeler Cluster Of Sites

Karahan Tepe is believed to have been the world's very first temple. Or at least one of the very first as excavations are ongoing. Furthermore is Karahan Tepe and Gobekli Tepe are now thought of as being just two of the sites (that have happened to have been partially excavated) of a wider region called Taş Tepeler.

  • Part Of: The Wider Taş Tepeler Cluster Of Sites
  • Number Of Sights: 12 or More So Far Discovered

So far it is thought that the area is home to at least 12 similar sites. And it is also thought that they could have all been built by the same Neolithic civilization.

  • "Tepe": Turkish For Hill
  • Taş Tepeler: Literally Means "Stone Hills"

Among the sites making up Taş Tepeler are: Karahantepe, Harbetsuvan, Gürcütepe, Kurttepesi, Taşlıtepe, Sefertepe, Ayanlar, Yoğunburç, Sayburç, Çakmaktepe and Yenimahalle. It is important to remember none of these have really been excavated yet.

These sites cover an area of 200 kilometers from one end to the other and are located in the Anatolian and Upper Mesopotamian territory that hosted the earliest settled communities known.

Related: Still Excavating Gobekli Tepe: What's Been Most Recently Discovered

Visiting Karahan Tepe And Lastest Info

For those wanting to visit Karahan Tepe, it may be better to wait another year or so. It is still the site of ongoing archaeological excavations and is not officially a sanctioned tourist attraction. But that doesn't mean that intrepid travelers can't go to the site and ask the archeologists to show them around. In fact, visitors have been free to explore - but be aware that this is an ongoing archaeological site.

  • Status: Not Officially A Tourist Site But One Can Visit Anyway

It is important to remember that this is a very exciting and current field of archeology and new knowledge is being gained all the time. Little was known about Karahan Tepe before 2020 and just a few weeks ago in September 2021 important updates on the site were released and many more are to follow - watch this space!

As at the time of writing a "major study" on these hills is soon to be completed and presented. For those eager for updates on these excavations, monitor the English Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.

Next: Gobekli Tepe: 15 Things About The Archaeological Site In Turkey (That Remain Unexplained)