The cult of the Neolithic skull


Already erected about 10,000 years ago, Göbekli Tepe is a place that arouses special interest and curiosity from both archaeologists and researchers. Some recent findings point to evidence of practices related to the “skull cult” at this location.

Some fragments belonging to three Neolithic skulls were discovered in the Göbekli Tepe, with marks and evidence of rituals. In this temple, considered to be the oldest in the world, researchers have unearthed carved bones that point to practices related to the Neolithic “cult of the skull” (practiced by a group whose “religion” was practiced around the heads of the deceased).

Built about 10,000 years ago in southeastern Turkey, Göbekli Tepe is a place of interest. Now, according to research published in the science journal Science Advances, these newly discovered fragments evidence a unique post mortem (post-mortem) type of modification. Researchers at the German Archaeological Institute believe that the bodies have been stripped and bones later carved out of flint (a very hard sedimentary rock). Being a proof that the task was not always easy, the existence of multiple marks in several zones where the muscle attached to the bone.

All brands, including linear, deep and also intentional creases, are unique changes never seen before, said Julia Gresky, lead author of the study and anthropologist at the German Archaeological Institute, information given to National Geographic. The deliberately made markings on the skulls were far less ornate than the carved representations of people and animals decorating the limestone pillars of the temple.
This is the reason why the researchers suspect that they did not have a decorative function, but rather the objective of facilitating the placement of several skulls on a single string.

The skulls were suspended or displayed to the enemies on the spot, something done to honor the ancestors, as it was believed that the powers of the dead would pass to the living, say researchers. “The cult of skulls is not uncommon in Anatolia (Turkey)”, said Julia Gresky. The archaeologist also explains that the remains of the region also indicate that people had the habit of bury their dead and then exhumed them to remove the skull and dispose it creatively. A reconstitution with the fragments shows that the position of the hole made in the bone, aided by the said creases, something that allowed the safe suspension of the skull and prevented the jaw from falling.

Göbekli Tepe goes back to the time of transition from hunter-gatherer humans to the agriculture phase, so there was not yet a habit of taming animals or staying in a fixed place for a long time. The nomadic lifestyle made these peoples subsist with the resources available around them, and there is very little evidence that some people have settled there.

According to the researchers, this leads one to believe that the creation was made solely for ancestral cults.