More than 8,300 years ago, advanced societies mislabeled by mainstream experts as hunter-gathers were already capable of erecting some of th most massive megalithic towers and temples on Earth. Their history, legacy, and origins remain hidden beneath the surface at archeological sites such as Göbekli Tepe and Tell Qaramel.
People usually believe that pyramids are the greatest architectural achievement in the history of our civilization. But this is highly inaccurate for several reasons. First of all, when people think of pyramids, they think of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Although the Great Pyramid is certainly one of the most impressive man-made monuments on Earth, it isn’t the largest (by volume) nor is it the oldest. Long before the Great Pyramid of Giza was built, ancient cultures around the globe built intricate, megalithic monuments.
In fact, if you ask historians, they’ll say that the oldest pyramids are in South America. According to our current understanding and knowledge of history, some of the first examples of pyramids on Earth were built in present-day Brazil and Peru, between 5,000 and 4,700 years ago. Brail was home to some of the largest as well. It is estimated that the largest Brazilian pyramids covered as much as 35 acres, and some of them were built to a height of around 170 ft.
The pyramids aren’t the greatest architectural achievement also because long before the Brazilian or Peruvian pyramids, ancient—now lost—cultures erected truly massive (megalithic) structures. There are various examples around the globe. One of the most impressive examples of ancient structures that defy our very understanding of megalithic structures are located in present-day Turkey at an archeological site known as Göbekli Tepe.
This site is perhaps as complex and mysterious as the greatest Egyptian pyramid. Göbekli Tepe is a site that is believed to be around 13,000 years old, and many scholars argue it is the oldest megalithic temple on the surface of the planet. Curiously, only around 5% of the site has been excavated to date, which means that a treasure trove of ancient history remains hidden beneath the surface.
Its oldest excavated layers (10,000—11,000 BC) show that an ancient people crafted over 15 stone circles in which they placed massive stone pillars weighing several tons. Some of the largest stones used in the construction of Göbekli Tepe weigh between 10 to 20 tons. One pillar—still in its quarry—has been calculated to weigh as much as 50 tons. This was achieved at a time when the ancient Egyptian civilization, for example, did not even exist. Göbekli Tepe predates the Great Pyramid of Giza by around 7,300 years.
This, by itself, is a mind-boggling historical fact because it tells us that unlike popular belief, around 13,000 years ago, Earth was inhabited by complex societies that were capable of constructing truly megalithic temples with the help of currently unknown tools and techniques. Göbekli Tepe attests to mankind’s capabilities more than 12,000 years ago, proving that during a time when history as we know it was not even recorded, great megalithic temples were constructed across the globe, and developed societies existed and disappeared, many of which remain completely absent from mainstream history books.
But even before that, in the wider area surrounding one of the oldest cities on Earth—Aleppo—, ancient cultures erected massive megaliths as well. Around 8,000 years before the Egyptian Pyramids, people created megalithic towers out of massive stones.
Present-day Syria has some of the oldest, most interesting ancient sites on Earth. The Aleppo Governorate, in particular, is a treasure trove of ancient history. Located not far from Turkey—and Göbekli Tepe—the entire area surrounding the ancient (and modern) city of Aleppo is of great historical and archeological importance. Not far from the city we find an archaeological site dubbed Tell Qaramel, sitting on a fertile valley and important geological position.
There, archeological excavations have discovered that over 12,000 years ago—perhaps when Göbekli Tepe was built, or when it was at its peak—the site of Tell Qaramel was part of a larger site covering a total area of around 3.5 hectares. However, what excavations have revealed at the site is perhaps more important than the age of the site itself.
Tell Qaramel is where ancient people constructed five of the most ancient rounder towers on Earth. the site is also home to two stunning shrines, one of which is thought to have also been used as a common house for meetings. Three of the ancient towers at Tell Qaramel were constructed as far back as 10,900 BC, serving either as a shrine or common house. According to archeological survey and radiocarbon dating, the structures at Tell Qaramel could be around two millennia older than the oldest stone tower at the ancient city of Jericho, considered the oldest known tower to date.
Archaeological excavations at Tell Qaramel revealed that some of its oldest megalithic towers have a diameter of around six meters. This tower probably served various functions. It may have been used as a lookout tower, but it may also have been part of a much larger structure. This tower was likely accessible. Other much lager towers also exist at the site. One such tower has 7.5 meters in diameter with a stone wall that is approximately 2.5 meters thick. This, however, has no internal structures and may have served solely as a defensive structure.
The archaeological remains excavated near Aleppo and at Tell Qaramel attest that the wider region was inhabited by already developed societies over 12,000 years ago. These ancient societies, just as those at Göbekli Tepe, had the necessary material and human resources to construct complex structures during a time when history tells us that hunter-gatherers were the most advanced society on Earth.
That’s why archaeological sites such as Tell Qaramel and Göbekli Tepe are of great importance: they offer conclusive evidence that points to the fact that there were periods in Earth’s history when far more complex societies existed (Not Aliens).
These societies are missing from history books. They are also wrongly tagged as having been mere hunter-gatherers by our current historical views. The truth is, they were far more advanced, and evidence of their development remains hidden beneath the surface in sites such as Göbekli Tepe or Tell Qaramel.
Tell Qaramel, Göbekli Tepe, and other similar sites are of great importance because they tell us that even before some for the most complex cities were founded, and even before the first pyramid complex in Egypt was built, megalithic structures were already erected perhaps even as fate has as 11,000 BC. This would suggest that around 9,000 years ago, people in the wider area of Aleppo and in regions of present-day Anatolia, were developed and sophisticated enough to create true stone buildings.
Just as Göbekli Tepe which remains largely unexplored by experts, Tell Qaramel is poorly researched. According to estimates, less than 2% of the site has been surveyed. Excavations were halted more than 13 years ago after the civil war broke out in Syria.
To find out more, we need to dig deeper and further than ever before.