Modified human crania from Göbekli Tepe provide evidence for a new form of Neolithic skull cult

Archaeological excavations at Göbekli Tepe, a transitional Neolithic site in southeast Turkey, have revealed the earliest megalithic ritual architecture with characteristic T-shaped pillars. Although human burials are still absent from the site, a number of fragmented human bones have been recovered from fill deposits of buildings and from adjacent areas. We focus on three partially preserved human skulls, all of which carry artificial modifications of a type so far unknown from contemporaneous sites and the ethnographic record. As such, modified skull fragments from Göbekli Tepe could indicate a new, previously undocumented variation of skull cult in the Early Neolithic of Anatolia and the Levant.

leer más….Science Advances

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Fig. 4. Anthropomorphic depictions from Göbekli Tepe.
(A) Intentionally decapitated human statue (height, 60 cm). Credit: Nico Becker, Göbekli Tepe Archive, DAI. (B) The gift bearer holds a human head in his hands (height, 26 cm). Credit: Dieter Johannes, Göbekli Tepe Archive, DAI. (C) Pillar 43 (building D) with low relief of an ithyphallic headless individual, one arm raised (bottom right). Credit: Klaus Schmidt, Göbekli Tepe Archive, DAI.
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