Sodom & Gomorrah along with Zoar, Admah and Zeboim constituted the Cities of the Plain referred to in the Bible and believed to have been situated in the Jordan Valley before their obliteration (apart from Zoar) in a catastrophic episode during the 2nd millennium BC. Explanations, religious and rational have been offered to explain the event. My preferred explanation is that an encounter with an extraterrestrial body such as a comet or asteroid caused the devastation(d).
In 2008, a Sumerian clay tablet, known as the ‘Planisphere’ in the British Museum, was, after 150 years, translated and claimed to record an encounter with an asteroid ‘suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah(e). Sean Bambrough supports a Mesopotamian location for the biblical Sodom(l).
In October 2015, there were reports that the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah had been finally located(a). November 2018 saw a further claim(b) that Sodom and possibly other the ‘cities of the plain’ had been destroyed by a meteoric airburst, similar to the Tunguska or the more recent Chelyabinsk events. This catastrophe took place north of the Red Sea in what is now Jordan, according to archaeologist Phillip Silvia of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque(g).
Silvia’s conclusions have been confirmed by Dr Steven Collins(c),>dean of the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University,<who has excavated at the Tell el-Hammam site over sixteen seasons.(n) He describes his findings in his book co-authored with Dr Latayne C. Scott, Discovering the City of Sodom .
A September 2021 paper(h) outlines interesting new evidence that the destruction of the Tell el-Hammam site was probably caused by a Tunguska-type airburst and further suggests that “about a minute later, 14 miles (22 km) to the west of Tall el-Hammam, winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. Jericho’s walls came tumbling down and the city burned to the ground.”
Jason Colavito added some further comments on the authors and background to this paper and concluded that “In short: The claim Tell El-Hammam was destroyed by an airburst is disputable. Its identification with Sodom is unproved and dubious, and no one has provided any evidence that an event supposedly transpiring in 1600 BCE was preserved accurately down to the composition of the first written account of Sodom in the surviving Genesis narrative, typically ascribed to the period around 500 BCE or later. If we can’t agree whether the Greeks preserved any real history from the Mycenaeans after only five centuries, we should be very careful in imagining the preservation of stories for two or three times that long with no evidence of intermediary versions.”(j)
The original report appeared on the Nature website and so far over a quarter of a million people have accessed it. This lengthy document can also be read on the cosmictusk.com website(k).
More imaginative commentators, such as Dan Sewell Ward (1940-2019) have proposed(f) that the destruction of S & G was the result of atomic warfare!
In Atlantis and other Lost Worlds , Frank Joseph claims that Comet Encke in 1198 BC “scores a number of meteoric hits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and possibly on Atlantis itself, which perishes ‘in a single day and night’, according to Plato. The catastrophe is global, encompassing the destruction of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah” Joseph bases this on the studies of two Swedish geologists, Thomas B. Larsson and Lars Franzén.
This linkage of Sodom with Atlantis is not new. In the 18th century, Carl Friedrich Baër (1719-1797) who was pastor at the Lutheran chapel in the Swedish Embassy in Paris, was possibly the first to propose a connection between the demise of Atlantis and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
A similar theory was proposed by Roger M. Pearlman in a 2018 booklet . In this small, difficult-to-read, book the author also suggests, a linkage between the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah and Atlantis, placing Atlantis in the Jordan Valley and equating Abraham with Atlas – “If Atlas, as described in Plato’s work, was based on a historic figure, Abraham alone meets key criteria.”
On a lighter note, in 1948, William Comyns Beaumont published an extraordinary book, Britain – The Key to World History , in which he claimed among other things, that Edinburgh was the original Jerusalem, London was Damascus and rather worryingly, that Bristol was Sodom.
However, more recently, some demented soul has suggested that “Atlantis comprised three centers of civilization. The main center of civilization was a very large island stretching through what is now the area of the Azores near the mid-Atlantic, down almost to off-shore Brazil in South America. The present-day Islands of the Azores are mountain tops of the original. The second was along the foot of the Himalayans, now occupied by Nepal and Northern Punjab. The third was the plains, now called North America.” Then for good measure, they claimed that Sodom had been located in Washington State in the United States and Gomorrah could be found offshore Miami!(i)
In 2021, Mauro Biglino & Cinzia Mele published two books  that link a number of biblical episodes with locations in the Baltic region. One was the identification of two places in Finland as Sodom and Gomorrah, which was followed by dozens of similar geographical ‘coincidences’(m)!
>It was recently (April 2022) written(o) that “What everyone agrees on is that something unusual happened at Tall el-Hammam, an ancient settlement near the Dead Sea.” Unfortunately, that is as far as any agreement has gone. Even the date for the disaster is hotly disputed.
“What was unlike destruction caused by earthquakes or warfare were pottery shards with their outer surfaces melted into glass, some bubbled as if boiled, “bubbled” and melted building brick and plaster, suggesting some unknown high-temperature event. Objects of daily life, carbonized pieces of wooden beams, charred grain, bones and limestone cobbles were burned to a chalklike consistency.”
“But last month Steven Jaret, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, and R. Scott Harris, a space scientist at Atlanta’s Fernbank Science Center, challenged these conclusions of the 21 scholars, also in Nature, basically hinting that Collins’ group confused run-of-the-mill smelting and pottery processes with heat from an airburst.”
I think the mystery of S & G will have a longer run than The Mousetrap in London!<
See: Köfels Impact
Roger M. Pearlman is a Torah scholar, who has written extensively on the reconciliation of the Torah with science. A number of his papers can be found on the academia.edu website.
He has also tackled the subject of Atlantis in his Plato’s Atlantis Legend Resolution: Abraham is the Real Atlas (1596). Apart from the unexpected identification of Abraham, he also equates Hercules with the biblical Samson and places the Pillars of Hercules at Gaza! Disturbingly, he suggests that Sodom can be identified as Atlantis. Then, for good measure, he maintains that Gobekli Tape was founded by Noah’s family!
>Perhaps I should mention that the superficial resemblance of Samson to Heracles was noted as far back as the time of Eusebius (Circa 300 AD)(a).
Diffusion is the anthropological term used to describe how similar customs, beliefs and artefact designs are spread between cultures through migration, invasion or trade. Diffusion is not just a ‘one-way street’ as history has shown that ideas have travelled in all directions, while in fact most ancient civilisations can be demonstrated to have absorbed cultural elements from a multiplicity of foreign societies. Today, globalisation has increased exponentially the variety of influences that all societies now experience. Not only is the number of these influences greater but the rate of increase is apparently accelerating. The ubiquity of Coca-Cola, T-shirts, Irish pubs, Japanese cameras, German cars, English language, Guinness, Chinese toys, ABBA, AK-47s etc., etc., etc., are indicative of the global reach of commercial ‘empires’ today. In older civilisations trade was more concerned with commodities such as metals, olive oil, wine, amber, obsidian, or timber, so the technologies involved in their production or exploitation were also exchanged.
The development of agriculture also saw techniques spread, which had to be modified to suit different climates, although recent studies indicate that agriculture started around the same time in a number of centres(I).
in the Fertile Crescent as far north as the Zagros Mountains. Further north, on the steppes of Russia, horses were domesticated and apparently there also the use of chariots originated. A book by David W. Anthony also attributes the region as being the source of what is known as the Proto-Indo-European family of languages.
Societal concepts, religious or legal were no different as their geographical spread can also be tracked over time. Consider the different strands of the Abrahamic faiths, beginning with Judaism, which spawned Christianity and later was joined by Islam through Muhammad, who claimed to be a descendant of Abraham. Similarly, democracy has slowly evolved and spread over time and still has a long way to go.
Since early man left Africa, he has had ample time to settle all over our planet and exploit its resources, moving from being a hunter-gatherer to becoming a settled farmer, developing urban centres (city-states), then empires and the inevitable wars. Wars, then like today, led to the development of new technologies, chariots, longbows, and armour, to be copied and if possible improved upon, by each side.
My view is that initially, technology and techniques were freely exchanged between peoples, until gradually the idea of monopoly entered the human psyche, eventually leading to the paranoia and greed associated with the ownership of ‘intellectual property’ today. I would speculate that a freer and possibly gentler diffusion of ideas lasted until, at the earliest, the first millennium BC.
In 2014, the University of Connecticut published the result of studies that demonstrated that human technological innovation occurred intermittently throughout the Old World, rather than spreading from a single point of origin, as previously thought(j).
Egerton Sykes, a leading 20th-century Atlantologist, was a committed diffusionist, describing it as “the lifeblood of civilisation”(h).
A more extreme view is the concept of ‘hyperdiffusion’, which is the idea that there was a single ‘mother-culture’ that led to the development of all major civilisations. Ignatius Donnelly was a hyperdiffusionist, advocating Atlantis as the mother culture. His ‘heretical’ views were highlighted by the range of similarities between structures around the world in apparently unrelated cultures, which seem to greatly exceed what could be expected by mere coincidence alone. This is explored further in a recent illustrated article on the Malagabay website(v).
Similarly, James Churchward proposed his invention, Mu, as an alternative hyperdiffusion centre. Perhaps better known is the work of W. J. Perry who was convinced  that an archaic civilisation had begun in Egypt and gradually spread eastward through Asia and Polynesia, eventually reaching the Americas. Ben Urish published a paper(d) in 1986 that offers a critical overview of hyperdiffusion.
Konrad Kulczyk promotes a hyperdiffusionist theory that places his proto-civilisation, New Atlantis, just south of the Aral Sea(e).
Ivar Zapp proposes the existence of a global seafaring civilisation thousands of years before the Greeks, Egyptians or Sumerians(k) in an as-yet-unpublished book, Babel Deciphered.
Hyperdiffusion is clearly a seductive theory that has attracted the attention of researchers such as Richard Cassaro, who has produced an impressive collection of visual cultural similarities between ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian America(a). While the idea is not new, Cassaro’s images highlight the concept of diffusion very effectively, although he has, in my opinion, overinterpreted the evidence in order to support hyperdiffusion.
Cassaro published The Missing Link in 2016 in which he expands on the widespread distribution of what he refers to as the ‘godself icon’. Although he clearly demonstrates that the motif has an extensive geographical spread it is equally obvious that the appearance of the icon is spread over a vast period of time apparently coinciding with the emergence of civilisation in different places at very different times, which, in my view, is not fully compatible with the concept of hyperdiffusion, as I would have expected a ‘mother-culture’, if such existed, to have spread its global influence far more rapidly.
A comparable discovery has been made by Ozgür Baris Etli, who has drawn attention(o) to carved hands at Göbekli Tepe that have counterparts in many other parts of the world where hands meet at the navel are similarly depicted. I recently came across an image of(q) a megalithic statue in the Indonesian Bada Valley(u) showing its hands in a similar position. Also in Göbekli Tepe, we encounter what has become known as ‘the handbag of the gods’(y) which has been found depicted in many locations such as Turkey (Göbekli), Iraq (Assyria), Mesoamerica (Olmecs)(w), Egypt and New Zealand(x). These images are not only spread over thousands of miles but thousands of years.
>However, Andrew Gough is the only researcher who seems to have come anywhere near to explaining the purpose of the ‘handbag’. In a lengthy article on his website, he explains how a British Museum guide confirmed that the bag was a pollen carrier(ac). This dovetailed with Gough’s view of his belief regarding the importance of the bee in ancient cultures.<
Having mentioned Indonesia, I must draw your attention to a recent book by Dhani Irwanto, entitled Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilizations (1618), in which he makes a strong case for considering his native land as an ancient diffusionist centre, which experienced waves of emigration at the end of the Younger Dryas period that influenced the great civilisations of the Indus Valley, Egypt and Greece. Irwanto also claims that their cultural impact included the transference of the story of Atlantis from its original home in Sundaland.
Equally intriguing is the ‘Three Hares’ motif, found across Europe, the Middle East and as far as China(p) and now the subject of a book by Greeves, Andrew & Chapman. Another stylised symbol is that of the rosette found in the Mediterranean and spread as far as India(r)(s).
In a similar vein, Jim Allen has devoted chapter three of his latest book to outlining what he entitled Bolivia and the Sumerian Connection(b). Arguably even more impressive is the array of images presented by Allen(c) suggesting that the civilisations of America were greatly influenced by ancient cultures in both the east and the west. It is obvious that a number of artefacts can be developed independently, but at some point the number of similar items produced by two separate cultures can exceed the number that can be reasonably put down to coincidence. The number of similarities presented by Allen alone clearly exceeds that threshold, demonstrating that the Americas were influenced by different sources, ruling out the Americas as the home of a mother culture.
An extensive website managed by Erich Fred Legner offers a wide range of evidence to support the view that the Americas had been visited and settled by people from both Asia & Europe before Columbus(aa).
The whole subject of diffusion is wide-ranging and complex and well beyond my competence to do it justice in this short entry. However, for those interested in pursuing the subject further, I would like to recommend a 1997 paper(l) by David H. Kelley (1924-2011), available on Dale Drinnon’s website.
Egypt is frequently mentioned in this regard being seen as the influence behind Neolithic megalith building AND the pyramids of Central America, in spite of the fact that Newgrange was constructed before the Egyptian Pyramids and the New World pyramids were built thousands of years after those in Egypt. Atlantis is regularly suggested as another mother culture but without a single piece of evidence to support this speculative contention. For decades the idea that the pyramids of Egypt and those in the Americas were the consequence of diffusion from a common source, namely Atlantis situated in the Atlantic was heavily promoted. However, we can now more closely identify the pyramids of America with the step-pyramids of China!
Consequently, for me, hyperdiffusion is not convincing. History has clearly shown that inventions have frequently been independently developed at the same time in different countries, while even in prehistoric times it has been demonstrated(f) that the evolution of stone tools took place as a result of the innovative abilities of local populations, addressing the same needs.
A word of warning; “recent research published in Nature by a team led by Tomos Proffitt at the University of Oxford shows that capuchin monkeys regularly produce sharp-edged flakes indistinguishable from those made by early hominins.”(t)
Even today technologies are developed independently throughout the world, but not in complete isolation, because of the instant worldwide communications available.
As a result of global marketing, in Ireland now we drive German, British and Japanese cars, use US computer technology and play with Chinese toys. However, being generous by nature, we gave the world the Irish pub, Riverdance and Guinness.
A two-part blog(m)(n) highlighting the many weaknesses in the concept of hyperdiffusion should be required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Although Donnelly and his contemporaries, focused on the possibility of Old World influences in the New World, today, there is less of a Mediterranean centred or Eurocentric approach to diffusionism. Instead, there is greater acceptance that the Americas have also had extensive cultural influences from Asia.
>In March 2021, Hugh Newman published a paper drawing attention to the similarity of megalithic building techniques, using polygonal stones, in America, Asia, Europe and Africa. He goes further noting that “Peruvian relief carvings match those at Göbekli Tepe.” How much might be the result of coincidence is a matter of opinion.(ab) In January 2022, Marco M. Vigato published a new book, The Empires of Atlantis ,<in which he offers a hyperdiffusionist view of Atlantis. He “traces the course of Atlantean civilization through its three empires, as well as the colonies and outposts formed by its survivors in Egypt, Göbekli Tepe, India, Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, and North and South America” and “reveals how the first Atlantean civilization lasted from 432,000 to 33,335 BCE, the second one from 21,142 to 10,961 BCE, and the third Atlantis civilization–the one celebrated by Plato–collapsed in 9600 BCE, after the Younger Dryas cataclysm.”(z).
(l) See: Archive 3563
(u) Atlantis Rising No.110 March/April 2015 p.41
The Last Atlantis Book  by Gene Matlock, claims on its cover that this is the last Atlantis book you will ever have to read. He attempts to prove that Mexico was the location of a Meso-American Atlantis that was essentially a Phoenician colony, established about 4000 BC. Although, a fairly slim volume, he covers a lot of ground, linking Mexico, India and Atlantis. He deals extensively with possible linguistic connections between Mesoamerica and Atlantis and Sanskrit. However, his linguistic abilities, not to mention his conclusions, have been subjected to severe criticism, as was the book generally. I think many more books other than Matlock’s will have to be read before the truth can be finally established.
Matlock identifies a site near San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán as matching Plato’s description of Atlantis. Matlock claims “the archaeological remains in San Lorenzo supposedly belong to the Olmec culture. The Olmecs themselves were either survivors of the Atlantis disaster or latecomers to the area”.
The back cover notes claim that over 25,000 books have been written about Atlantis. This is utter nonsense – at most the figure is in the mid hundreds. This sort of inaccuracy raises doubts about the quality of research and the rest of the book. Two further quibbles are that this book is surprisingly short at 140 pages and unforgivably, it has no index.
Matlock has also ventured into other contentious areas claiming that the story of Abraham and Sara of the Old Testament was based on Brahm and Saraisvati in Hindu mythology(a).
Gene D. Matlock (1928- ) was born in El Dorado, Kansas. He claims that from the age of twelve onward, he developed an interest in foreign languages and human beliefs.
After high school, he went to study at the University of New Mexico, and then went to Mexico City College, in Mexico, where he got a B.A. degree in Spanish and Latin American Affairs in December 1951. While in Mexico he became aware that somehow the ancient Mexicans had maintained close cultural and religious ties with India. He was drafted into the Marine Corps after graduating from Mexico City College and sent to Korea. After getting out of the Marines, he ‘travelled up and down Central America, from Mexico to Panama‘.
In New Orleans he earned a Masters Degree in Spanish at Tulane University. After teaching for a year in a New Orleans high school, he returned to Kansas where he taught for a year at Campus High School in Haysville, a few miles outside Wichita. He became a high school teacher in the Azusa Unified School District and retired after 27 years. He now lives in the California High Desert and spends his time researching the origins of Native Americans and their religions.
He believes that India ruled our prehistoric world including parts of America and that Atlantis was located in South-East Mexico at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan. In an attempt to link his Mexican location with Plato’s description of Atlantis Matlock contends that the ‘elephants’ mentioned by Plato were in fact the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c) Furthermore, he claims that there was a connection between India, the Phoenicians, Atlantis and Mexico. Matlock has a widely quoted Internet article(a) on the connection between Abraham and India, beginning with the identification of Abraham and his wife Sarai with the Hindu god Brahma and his wife Saraisvati.>In 2000, Matlock published Jesus and Moses Are Buried in India, Birthplace of Abraham and the Hebrews, in which he develops this theme further.<
A supportive book by the controversial Sri G. Ananda (Gregory Alexander) entitled Brahma: The God of Abraham was published in 2014. However, this idea is hotly debated on the Internet by all interested parties, Christian, Muslim and Hindu.
Matlock is forced to admit that “My readers should know that the ‘Atlantis’ described in this book may not be the same as Plato’s ‘Atlantis’. I’m just proving that there was once a part of the world called ‘Atlantis’ – that a part of Mexico once had the Sanskrit name Atlán, Tlan or Toltán, whose citizens were known as Atlantecas and Atlantl”. He then continues with “if my ‘Atlantis’ is not the real ‘Atlantis’ no one will ever find the one Plato mentioned”.
Matlock has written a number of books none of which have generated any serious critical endorsement, in fact some critiques have been more than unkind. You can judge for yourself by reading some of his radical ideas on the Viewzone website(a)(b).
>He has also contributed to Graham Hancock’s website under the name of Gene Douglas!(e)<
Göbekli Tepe is a site in South-East Turkey, just north of the Syrian border near the town of Sanliurfa that has been excavated for the past 15 years. The Smithsonian.com website noted(be) that “Gobekli Tepe was first examined—and dismissed—by University of Chicago and Istanbul University anthropologists in the 1960s. As part of a sweeping survey of the region, they visited the hill, saw some broken slabs of limestone and assumed the mound was nothing more than an abandoned medieval cemetery.”
The site work has been led by the German archaeologist, the late Klaus Schmidt, who has dated the site to 9600 BC, eerily coinciding with Plato’s apparent date for the war with Atlantis. In fairness to those who accept Plato’s date, the existence of the monuments at Göbekli Tepe at such an early date at least indicates the possibility, of Plato’s date being correct. However, I am not altogether happy with the date assigned to the site, as I cannot imagine how the stones were carved to such a high standard without metal tools, a development still some thousands of years in the future. Dating details are available online(ar).
There is now a claim that another site, Körtik Tepe, may even be older(av), with a suggested date of 12,500 to 11,700 years ago! Furthermore, another site, Boncuklu Tarla, located about 300 kilometres east of Göbekli Tepe is also believed to be older(br).
A paper by Schmidt on the development of agriculture at the time of Göbekli Tepe is freely available online(ao)
Sanliurfa mentioned above was ancient Urfa and is suggested by David Rohl as the original Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham.
The site consists of megalithic stone circles with T-shaped uprights on some of which are carved a variety of animals. What is most peculiar is the fact that these monuments were completely buried after hundreds of years of use. One suggestion is that the site is pre-diluvian and was buried by the biblical Flood!
A paper by Alastair Coombs entitled The Atlantis Twins offered further thoughts on possible prehistoric references, including a suggested link with Göbekli Tepe. This was expanded and retitled as Göbekli Tepe & the Atlantis Twins and later published on Graham Hancock’s website(aq).
Schmidt was convinced that this site marked the transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural society. An interesting article is to be found in the March/April 2009 issue of Saudi Aramco World and on its website(a).
The consensus now is that Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known temple in the world, predating the temples of Malta by an astonishing 4,000-5,000 years. This, of course, is based on the dating offered by Schmidt, which may require revision. Further north is the ancient site of Kahin Tepe considered to be the oldest temple site in the Black Sea region. The remains of structures there have been identified as belonging to the Aceramic Neolithic Period, which dates back as far back as 12,000 years ago(bf).
However, Adam’s Calendar(c) in Mpumalanga, South Africa, has been dated to over 70,000 BC, which, if true, would throw an even greater number of theories onto the scrapheap. However, such dates are highly speculative and, at this point, without any scientific basis.
An imaginative article by Tom Knox, in the UK’s Daily Mail Online, suggested that Göbekli Tepe may be connected with the Garden of Eden(bd). Klaus Schmidt commented that ‘Gobekli Tepe is not the Garden of Eden: it is a temple in Eden.’
However, the idea that Göbekli Tepe is a temple site has been challenged by Professor Ted Banning at the University of Toronto, who has claimed(j) that it was ‘one of the world’s biggest garbage dumps’ suggested by the amounts of bones, tools and charcoal found there. Instead, he claims that the structures were homes, I find this unconvincing. Needless to say, Schmidt was also unhappy with Banning’s contention and was writing a rebuttal of his claim, which I’m not sure if it was completed or published.
Readers might be interested in comparing the monuments of Gobekli Tepe with the taulas of Menorca(d) at the far end of the Mediterranean. Some of which are also to be found in clusters.
Studies have confirmed astronomical alignments at these sites(i). A German site has highlighted a possible connection(ac). The most extensive publication on the subject of taulas was published in 1995 by Hochsieder & Knösel, in French.
National Geographic magazine published a leading article on the site in June 2011, which can be read online(e). A new website devoted to Göbekli Tepe with more images is worth a visit(f). Another well-illustrated site(k) has drawn attention to the possibility that the animal images at the site match constellations at the time they were carved. It will be interesting to see how this particular investigation proceeds.
Nevertheless, another temple site 30 km to the northwest, Nevali Çori(g), dated to 6,000 BC also has T-shaped pillars but in my mind, it raises the question of how the same form of the monument would still be in use three and a half thousand years later. I would expect some stylistic evolution unless, of course, the dating of the two sites should be closer.
Another large site designated as Karahan Tepe(t), which is 63 km east of Sanliurfa is ‘reported’ to have hundreds of pillars, many T-shaped(h). In September 2019, a start on the excavation of the site was announced(aw). Work continued through 2020 and is expected to restart in 2021(bg). The suggestion now is that Karahan Tepe may be older than Göbekli Tepe(bq). Andrew Collins has written a paper entitled Karahan Tepe: Göbekli Tepe’s Sister Site—Another Temple Of The Stars?(bj)
A Norwegian website(l) has some little-seen images of the Göbekli Tepe site.
A new suggestion has now emerged linking Easter Island and the ongoing discoveries at Göbekli Tepe. This seems to date back to early 2010(m) and has now been given greater prominence in Robert Schoch’s most recent book, Forgotten Civilization. A 2013 article(n) by Schoch includes a report of a recent visit by him to the site.
In July 2013 a paper(o)(p) by Giulio Magli explores the possibility that Göbekli Tepe had been constructed to “celebrate and successively follow the appearance of a new, extremely brilliant star in the southern skies: Sirius.” Sirius is the brightest star and had significance for ancient Egyptians and Greeks and features in Robert Temple’s theory regarding the astronomical knowledge of the Dogon people of Mali.
Magli’s suggestion has been dismissed in a paper(q) by Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale, who have made the alternative proposal that if there was an intended astronomical orientation, a more likely candidate was the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation. Collins has already explored the significance of that constellation in the ancient cultures of America, Egypt and Britain in The Cygnus Mystery.
Nevertheless, Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore have written(bi) about the Cygnus Constellation and a possible link with Ireland’s Newgrange .
In 2014 Collins devoted an entire book to the Göbekli Tepe discoveries with the publication of Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods. In it, he refers briefly to Atlantis commenting that “Plato’s account of Atlantis might well be based on some kind of historical reality” (p.168). This seems to lack the certainty he showed in his best-selling Gateway to Atlantis. Additionally, Collins has produced a 68-minute video entitled Gobekli Tepe and the Watchers of Eden, referencing his earlier work(w). A preview(y) of Genesis of the Gods has been published on several websites including Academia.edu and Graham Hancock.com. Collins’ book has been heavily criticised as pseudoscience(an) by at least one reviewer on ‘goodreads’.
Hugh Newman, author and self-confessed ‘megalithomaniac’ has now proposed links between Göbekli Tepe and ancient Peru. He has also managed to include Göbekli Tepe in his theory of earth grids(r). Another writer, Trebha Cooper, claims a link between France and Göbekli Tepe(x)!
The unexpected death of Klaus Schmidt (1953-2014) took place on Sunday, July 20th 2014 and was announced shortly afterwards(s).
In September 2014, archaeologists on the site were describing it as “the oldest known sculptural workshop on the planet.”(v)
The excellent The Stream of Time website from ‘antiquated antiquarian’ has a couple of well-illustrated blogs relating to Göbekli Tepe(z) and the region generally.
In April 2015, the Ancient Origins website published a two-part article(ag) by Ozgür Baris Etli, a Turkish scientist, in which he discusses the most recent discoveries on the site. The article(aa)(ab) is well illustrated as the author reviews the carvings there and their possible relevance to the early development of religion. In a 2016 article(ah), on the same site, he has drawn attention to the similarity of the position of carved hands at Göbekli Tepe, Easter Island as well as some other sites around the world where the hands are shown meeting at the navel. The significance of this, if any, is not known.
What has been identified as possibly the earliest pictograph in the world has now been revealed at the Göbekli Tepe site(ad). Andrew Collins also claims(ae) to have found the earliest depiction of Göbekli Tepe in the museum at Sanliurfa. Not unexpectedly Jason Colavito has a few words to say on the matter(af). Colavito also has a critical view(ai) of the recent Turkish documentary, supported by the government, which claims that Göbekli Tepe was built by Telah, Abraham’s father, and destroyed by Abraham. So who built Nevali Çori?
A 2016 paper(bm) by J.A. Belmonte, et al offers a review of recent archaeoastronomical studies in the Eastern Mediterranean including Göbekli, the Hittites and the Egyptians.
The March 2017 edition of Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry (Vol.17, No.1, pp 233-250) includes a paper(aj) by M.B. Sweatman & D. Tsikritsis of the University of Edinburgh. In it they claim that the animals carved on the Göbekli Tepe pillars represent asterisms and that they found “compelling evidence that the famous ‘Vulture Stone’ is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC.” Understandably, their claims have been met with stony scepticism(ak). Sweatman has expanded his ideas further in Prehistory Decoded .
Shortly after Sweatman & Tsikritsis (S&T) published their paper, a number of the archaeologists who have excavated at the site quickly published, in the same journal, several critical comments relating to the methodology and conclusions of S&T(bn).
The interpretation of the carvings has exercised the imagination of various researchers such as Graham Hancock, Andis Kaulins, Paul Burley, as well as Sweatman and Tsikritsis, but no consensus has emerged, apart from an element of an agreement that some form of zodiacal representation is involved. The range of decipherments is discussed in detail in a paper by Edmond Furter who is disinclined to accept the zodiac explanation(bl).
In an August 2019 article on Graham Hancock’s website(at) Sweatman ventures further into the realms of wild speculation with the suggestion that Göbekli Tepe should be considered the world’s first ‘university’. This obviously had Jason Colavito spluttering into his cereal bowl, prompting him to apply his literary scalpel to the idea(au).
Constantinos Ragazas has produced a paper(am) in which he argues against the early date ascribed to Göbekli Tepe by Schmidt and others. He ponders on “How a Date can go wrong: Were Göbekli Tepe built 600 BC by Babylonians/Assyrians, no one would flinch a thought. It is the Date that makes Göbekli Tepe an enigma. The great dilemma for archaeologists is reconciling the date with the people that built Göbekli Tepe. Either the date is wrong or our theories of prehistoric people are wrong. And prehistoric people were more capable 12,000 years ago than all our other evidence tells us. Archaeologists trust their data over their understanding of prehistoric people. I argue the date is wrong. And prehistoric people were as we have always thought.” While this is controversial enough, Ragazas goes further and claims that Göbekli Tepe is, in truth, the site of the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’!
However, Ragazas’ reservations regarding the early dating of Göbekli Tepe were given further support in an extensive 2016 paper(ap) by Dimitrios Dendrinos of the University of Kansas.
In March 2019, a paper by Roger M. Pearlman put forward another radical idea, namely, that Göbekli Tepe had been founded by Noah (Noach) and his sons(as).
There was further excitement at Göbekli Tepe in September 2019 when Andrew Collins was removed from the site and his book, From the Ashes of Angels, banned in Turkey and Collins himself may be subject to a ban. It seems that he may have expressed pro-Kurdish sentiments, which is a big no-no with the Turkish authorities. It is also speculated that some of Collins’ historical views run counter to some extreme Islamic interpretation of the past!
2019 produced another radical theory from A.Refik Kutluer, a Turkish tourism executive, who has proposed in an interesting article(ax) that Göbekli Tepe was a site of ritual sacrifice. He suggests the possibility that “Men tried to placate the gods to avoid their anger and to keep them satisfied. As the gods punished them with natural disasters taking many lives when they became angry, men sought a way to mollify the gods, killing some of their own to ward off the gods’ rage, thinking that the gods were satisfied when these people or animals were sacrificed.“
2019 also saw reports(ay) of a ‘mini’ Göbekli Tepe in the Mardin Province of southeast Turkey and dated to 11,300 years ago.
In 2019, Robert Schoch in a paper(ba) written with Manu Seyfzadeh claimed that the “world’s first known written word at Göbekli Tepe on T-Shaped Pillar 18 means God”. In a recent Lost Origins podcast, Schoch repeated this claim, which led Jason Colavito to attack its credibility(bb), finding it “remarkable that he (Schoch) can translate a heretofore unsuspected system of writing in a 10,000-year-old language no one alive has ever heard. After all, several writing systems from historic times, such as linear A, related to languages that were only spoken a few thousand years ago, remain largely unreadable. We can’t even read Etruscan fluently, and yet Schoch has supposedly learned to read an Ice Age language! Think about that. For example, Old English is largely unintelligible to modern English speakers, while the Ice Age is removed in time from us by a factor of twenty times that chronological distance. The unlikeliness of Schoch’s claim boggles the mind.”
There are now regular updates available regarding the ongoing work at the Göbekli site, with contributions from members of the Göbekli Tepe Archaeological Research Project(az).
In 2020, Stone Age rock tombs were excavated not too far from Göbekli Tepe at the Kizilkoyun Necropolis area, adding to the importance of the region(bc).
Also, in April 2020, Haaretz published a report that “a discovery by Israeli archaeologists suggests the Göbekli Tepe construction project was even more complex than previously thought and required an amount of planning and resources thought to be impossible for those times.”(bh)
In June 2021, “Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy told reporters gathered in the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa that several new sites had been found in the vicinity of Göbeklitepe.” and “We have [discovered] 11 more major hills on a 100-kilometre line around Göbeklitepe,” Ersoy declared. “Here, we will give the details for the first time, and now call it 12 hills.” In fact, Ersoy offered few details about what had been found at these new sites. He explained that a “major study” was on the verge of being completed and said the results of that study would be released in September 2021.”(bk)
Graham Hancock had visited the Karahan Tepe site in 2020 and found a team of Turkish archaeologists well-advanced with their excavations. As their findings were unpublished until now(bp), Hancock refrained from offering his observations(bo). The enclosure revealed a carved human head protruding from the bedrock as well as a number of pillars that appeared to represent phalli! Hancock echoed Minister Ersoy’s comments noting that “a dozen other sites of similar antiquity are under excavation in the so-called “Stone Hills” area, a zone of intense interest to archaeologists extending for 100 square kilometres around Gobekli Tepe.”
>A travel site has a useful article that should be read by anyone intending to visit Gobekli Tepe. This was last updated in August 2022(bt).<
>The World History Encyclopedia offers further interesting information regarding the discoveries at the site.(bu)<
(bm) (99+) (PDF) J.A. Belmonte, A.C. González García, A. Polcaro, A. Rodríguez-Antón, M. Schaltout, ORIENTATIO AD SIDERA (OAS): HIGHLIGHTS OF A DECADE OF ARCHAEOASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION AND BEYOND, in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, 16/4, 2016, pp. 93-101. | Andrea Polcaro and A. Cesar Gonzalez-Garcia – Academia.edu
(bo) https://www.cnnturk.com/amp/turkiye/gobeklitepe-gibi-12-buyuk-kesif-daha-geliyor-insanligin-sirrini-taslarin-dili-anlatacak; and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10050217/Stunning-carvings-human-figures-heads-uncovered-Karahantepe.htm.