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Home » What is Göbekli Tepe: Klaus Schmidt at TEDxPrague (Transcript)

What is Göbekli Tepe: Klaus Schmidt at TEDxPrague (Transcript)

Klaus Schmidt at TEDxPrague


Ladies and gentlemen, now we are going a little bit under the surface, we are coming to archeology and to a project which is one of the most important projects of the last years.

Those are not only my words – I am the director of this project – but it is internationally told like this. It’s a project in southeastern Turkey, the site called Göbekli Tepe.

Göbekli Tepe means ‘mound with belly.’ It’s just its name, an old name from the map. We didn’t invent this name, but it shows a little bit, or it’s recognizable – we’ve some natural limestone plateau here and all this mound which is not a natural mound but an artificial mound, this is the belly on the mound explaining the name.

The project is done by the German Archeological Institute where I come from too, but in close cooperation with the local authorities, especially the General Directorate for Antiquities in Ankara, and the University of Sanliurfa, the Harran University, and some other institutions, mainly responsible for the conservation and the restoration of the site.

For the scientific work, we have financing mainly from the German Research Foundation which is financing the project, which is a long-term project. We are now in the 20th year of work, and we hope to continue for many, many years in the future.

Okay, that’s the framing. I have to say all this: who are the institutions and who is giving money for our work at the site.


At first, I already showed you this location. It’s a huge limestone ridge, and this artificial mound is on top of it. Such artificial mounds are very common in the Near East. They are called ‘tell’ in Arabic language or ‘tepe’ or ‘höyük’ in Turkish language. I think some will know ‘Çatalhöyük, ‘ an old Neolithic site in central Anatolia, and Göbekli is a site like this, but it has some specifics, it’s a unique site because it’s much older than all the other ones. It belongs to the 10th and 9th millennium BC.

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