on 20 June 2014
This is far more than a book about the archaeology of Gobekli Tepe. Collins' ability to think outside the box and see the bigger picture, together with his ability to present his case in a very readable and understandable format, has resulted in a fascinating and thought-provoking theory about the role of Gobekli Tepe in the rise of civilisation itself. We are not talking about purely mystical speculation here, the theories presented are based on the archaeology and archeo-astronomy of the site together with information gleaned from the legends and religions of the surrounding areas. Expertly bringing together the science and religion, the author provides a convincing explanation for how hunter-gatherers suddenly became megalith builders and farmers and for the enduring legends in all cultures about a race of God-like people coming from the far north. It is all backed up by hard evidence from Collins' decades of research and continuing visits to Gobekli Tepe and surrounding areas. The sheer amount of references in the bibliography is testament to the massive amount of research that has led to this ground-breaking book. Whether you agree with the author's conclusions or not, you will learn a great deal about Gobekli Tepe, the surrounding areas and about the cultures who were involved in building this recently-discovered wonder of the ancient world, all presented in an easy to digest format.
on 19 May 2014
Like others, I am interested in the archaeology but it will take many years for it to be properly available for lay persons to comprehend. I was a little disappointed to be led into the realms of speculation, but it is obvious that the earliest forms of religion will have involved the solar system and the cycle of life so I decided to read on. I am glad that I did as the author is not dogmatic and is restrained in his obvious enthusiasm. All in all, the author encourages one to give serious thought to the symbolism of the art and this is invaluable. Other authors will concentrate upon the basic archaeology and, in due course, upon the technical aspects of the art and the mechanics of the site, but Collins has outlined a vision of the human dynamics which is challenging and encouraging. Not what I expected when I preordered but an excellent, thoughtful and very readable book.
on 29 June 2014
I bought this book as a result of a coincidence: having been talking to a friend about Gobekli Tepe when I returned home I went to look up an unconnected book on Amazon and the first thing that came up was this one. I was so stunned I thought someone must be trying to tell me something so I bought it!
I am not disappointed. Apart from looking at the material context and nature of the ancient stone circles (the archaeology) Collins attempts to identify the people who built them (anthropology) and understand their motivation (mythology). This is a much more difficult task which leads Collins on a wide ranging cultural tour of detection for possible links. However he doesn't lose the thread, always managing to relate the discussion to Gobekli,Tepe in a style which is clear and precise. In some ways his book recalled to mind the brilliantly intuitive study of the palaeolithic cave paintings by David Lewis-Williams, `The Mind in the Cave'.
In the end his thesis - that Gobekli Tepe was inspired by a group of shamans trading on fears of a cosmic disaster which persuaded people to change their ways - is unpersuasive simply because it is too narrowly based. The fact is that what was happening here was part of much wider change that was going on across the whole of the Levant, from Jordan (Wadi Fayan - which predates Gobekli Tepe) to Syria (Tell Abr) involving significant construction - Collins mentions the tower and walls of Jericho. What all these sites have in common is that they seem to have been built to accommodate ceremonial and ritual practices reflecting a widespread change or development in social organisation. But why?
In the end, despite the speculation and supposition, it is a time so distant that we can really know very little. But the importance of Gobekli Tepe is that this `little' has been enough to radically challenge and overturn the established narratives about the origins of civilization and the so-called Neolithic Revolution. We can now see that one of the most important transformations of human lifestyle in history was driven not so much by material or economic need as spiritual belief, ceremonial and ritual concerns which in turn promoted new ways of living. Unlike in our own materialistic age, homo sapiens emerges from the mists of time preoccupied with the spiritual world which is defined in the context of a symbolic order. It is this that sets modern humans, in their origins, apart from their predecessors and may have contributed to their ultimate dominance. So different is this past to our present that we find it very hard to conceptualise it, let alone understand it - but AndrewCollins deserves full marks for trying.
on 22 May 2014
This is not a book only about the archaeology of Gobekli Tepe. It is a quest to understand the site in the context of its rather special situation in time and space. It was built in the time following the cataclysmic environmental upheavals of the Younger Dryas period 11 to 12 thousand years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. It is also found in that part of the world where agriculture, metal-working and civilisation began. Collins takes the reader on a wide-ranging exploration of archaeology, anthropology, mythology and folklore. His style, as ever, is very readable. While approximately the first half of the book is in a third-person style, the second half switches to first-person as he takes us through the journey of research and discovery, including his own quite personal search for a lost monastery in the fabled land of Eden itself.
It's an excellent read, by turns informative, thought-provoking, and full of wonder.
on 1 June 2014
The author takes us on a long journey into the past to examine in detail the construction and structure of Gobekli Tepe, possible reasons for it and what peoples were involved. To do so, he draws on an extensive knowledge of ancient astronomy, astrology, archaeology, geography, geology, as well as universal religious beliefs, legend and myth.
Andrew Collins reveals his theories by using a wealth of diverse information from both numerous early and more recent sources, painting a fascinating picture of a Garden of Eden, its inhabitants and their legacy to the world.
on 10 April 2015
One of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the last half of the 20th Century is located in the southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey. Originally in what later became part of Armenia, the constructions of Göbekli Tepe date back to the 10th millennium BCE (the end of the last ice age). And while---except for a substantial article in National Geographic--- the general public has heard little of this find, it is the belief of German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt that Göbekli Tepe is the earliest known example of temple architecture, dating back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period of the Near East. Schmidt heads a team that has been excavating the site since 1996.
Andrew Collins, co-discoverer of a massive cave complex beneath Egypt’s Giza plateau and author of several important books on pre-history, became interested in Göbekli Tepe as a consequence of his lifelong fascination with the subject of angels. His travels in Turkey took him to “Potbelly Hill” (the English translation of Turkish “Göbekli Tepe”) where he says, “Here, on a hilly ridge close to the southernmost limits of the Anti-Taurus Mountains, is the oldest acknowledged monumental architecture anywhere in the world. It takes the form of a series of circular and rectangular stone sanctuaries constructed as early as 9500 BC by an advanced group of hunter-gatherers who might well have been responsible for catalyzing the genesis of civilization in a manner echoing the very human-like activities of the Watchers in the Book of Enoch.”
Indeed, Collins proceeds in this latest book to correlate the larger area surrounding Göbekli Tepe with the Old Testament description of the Garden of Eden, including the angelic beings said to have guarded it. In the earlier Book of Enoch, the antediluvian great-grandfather of Noah tells of the Fallen Angels and their offspring from human females called Nephilim, “who are described as extremely tall…, with pale and ruddy skin, powerful eyes, white hair, and long, viper-like faces.” While being dismissed as pure allegory by theologians and Biblical scholars, Collins proposes that these beings were the descendants of the Anunnaki talked about in the Sumerian clay tablets.
He further reminds us that an ancient Hebrew work known as the book of Jubilees, which also tells the story of the Watchers (sometimes described as “serpents”), relates how the legendary Cainan uncovered an inscription carved on a stone stela that contained the antediluvian science of astrology as taught by the Watchers. All this takes place near in the region of Şanlıurfa (Edessa), the birthplace of Abraham and very close to Göbekli Tepe. Coincidence? Collins thinks not.
Though packed full of great detail, this book is not at all boring. In fact, it engages the reader to the extent that Collins makes a solid case for the Anunnaki-Serpent-Nefilim connection. He visits Professor Schmidt’s lifetime work at a location he describes as an “archaeological minefield.” We see photos and diagrams of buildings with great “T”-shaped monoliths containing carvings of serpents which may very well have been part of a snake worshipping cult. The preciseness of the carvings and the immensity of the stones led one historian to claim the people of the region “went through an unexplained stage of accelerated technological evolution.” Could it be that some 12,000 years ago they were taught by beings not from this earth who they could only describe as “divine”? Or, perhaps, were they remembering those beings and what they taught from an even earlier time?
Collins goes on to correlate the Göbekli Tepe glyphs and ideograms with similar artistic shapes and cosmological symbols found in other parts of the globe: with the great cultures of ancient Central and South America, across Europe and Asia, in Norse lore, inside the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves of southern France, in ancient Egypt, with the Australian Aborigines and African Dogons, and in ancient Indian and Greek artifacts. Many of these show a profound understanding of our Milky Way Galaxy, its movements, and its celestial markers of which only a far more advanced civilization could have knowledge. And, as more is unearthed of Göbekli Tepe, we see the same sophisticated knowledge. Above all, there is cognizance of the earth’s vulnerability to cosmic calamity---to impacts from comets and asteroids and solar coronal mass ejections. Collins summarizes their periodic results upon life on earth in terms of “kill, chill, ill, and grill.”
Of special interest to him are the geographic locations and the extended surroundings of “Potbelly Hill” and, especially, the peoples in those areas, both indigenous and wandering. From Scandinavia and the Baltic countries through Poland to Ukraine and Crimea we follow the migration of the reindeer hunter Swiderian culture after the catastrophe that may have sunk Atlantis. They appear to be Neanderthal-sapiens hybrids who inherited the technique for making stone tools from the earlier Solutreans to produce fine stone carvings. They existed 30,000 years ago. The similarity to the stone tools used by the makers of Göbekli Tepe is uncanny. Also are the artful carvings of the two time-distanced cultures. It is those carvings that warn of earthly cataclysms. Could it be, asks Collins, that the huge stone constructions of Göbekli Tepe and other Neolithic monuments somehow echo both the warning and the shamanic method of protection from those catastrophes that involves transmutation of our physical bodies?
Collins correlates Old Testament descriptions of Eden and its “Fountain of Paradise” with personal discoveries he made in the Armenian Highlands northeast of Göbekli Tepe. In this region, traditional Kurdish and Zoroastrian stories of Al-Khidr (the Green Man) seem to mesh with what we now know of Enki or Ea, guardian of the Abzu often pictured as a serpent. Even the conservative scholar Professor Schmidt asks if the anthropomorphous pillars of Göbekli Tepe might be related to the ancient Anuna Gods. And it all seems to connect with the Adam and Eve story of Genesis.
Collins asks, “So could the original book or books of Seth [the son of Adam] have been carved stone pillars, like those being uncovered today at…Göbekli Tepe? Were the twelve Magi that perpetually guarded the book or books of Seth an echo, however slight, of the rings of twelve anthropomorphic pillars erected at Göbekli Tepe some 11,500 years ago?” (It is said by early historians that the secrets of Adam were inscribed by Seth on two pillars, one of stone the other of brick, so as to survive any subsequent fire or flood.)
It has long been thought that the Seth of the Bible was the Seth of Egyptian mythology and that the pillars were the great pyramids. Collins finds no solid evidence for that. Instead, he cites that in the middle of the Göbekli Tepe circles of pillars are always placed two central pillars. Are these the pillars of Seth? And, are there many of them? As the digging goes on, more steles/monoliths/pillars are being uncovered and their carvings await interpretation. Will they “…reveal how we, as mortal humans, can restore our bodies of light, lost at the time of the Fall, and be as angels ourselves; in other words, become as one with our incorporeal selves left behind during the process of incarnation on this earthly plane”?
My advice to the reader: Digest the information in this book, and then stay tuned to further developments as the important work continues in southeastern Turkey.
This review first appeared in New Dawn magazine, issue no. 146
on 4 April 2015
A huge amount of research was required to produce this book for which I think Andrew Collins deserves great credit. From necessity, much of it IS speculation - how can it be otherwise, when the time under discussion is so far back in human history?
However, unless various ideas, thoughts, artifacts, etc., are discussed, shared and disseminated, how do we ever find out about anything?
Much of this book is personal to the author, very interesting and thought provoking - his theories are not necessarily the conclusions at which everyone will arrive but is a very entertaining and informative narrative.
Worth a read anyway to learn much about the architecture and location of this fascinating place.