Human and Animal Sculptures Unearthed in Turkey are the Earliest Examples of Prehistoric Art

Archaeologists in Turkey have found some of the earliest examples of sculptures at prehistoric sites that may be connected to the bible, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which oversaw the excavations, announced late last month.

At the Karahan Tepe site in southeastern Turkey, experts found a human effigy measuring over seven feet tall. Dubbed “one of the most realistic sculptures of the period” by the ministry, the sculpture depicts a man with realistic facial expressions, along with carved ribs, a spine, and shoulder bones. This may be the oldest human statue of its kind discovered thus far, as the site dates to around 9,400 BCE. Additionally, a vulture statue was identified in close proximity.

Situated in the Upper Mesopotamia region and home to ancient farming communities, Karahan Tepe is about 37 miles east of Şanlıurfa, believed to be the ancient city Ur of the Chaldeans. The city is thought to be the birthplace of Abraham, the father of the three “Abrahamic” religions, and is considered a holy site among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

At the nearby Göbekli Tepe site, a life-size limestone statue of a wild boar was unearthed. Coated in red, white, and black pigment residues, it is “the first painted sculpture found from that period”. The statue was also found with H-shaped symbol decorations, a crescent, two snakes, and three human face masks.

During a joint survey by universities in Istanbul and Chicago in 1963, Göbekli Tepe was discovered; however, excavations didn’t begin until 1995. Its megaliths predate those at Stonehenge by roughly 6,000 years.

Göbekli Tepe is believed to be tied to a biblical account of Noah. It is one of the oldest and largest centers of worship, dating back to 9,600 BCE.