Klaus Schmidt commemorated on death anniversary
The site, located in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Örencik district and 18 kilometers from the city center, is a settlement belonging to the Neolithic period. It was discovered by researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities during a survey in 1963. The most concrete findings were revealed with a statue found by a farmer in his field in 1986. Considering that the stone is valuable, the farmer handed it over to the officials of the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum.
The statue, which was not understood at first, was taken under protection in the museum. Later, Schmidt, who came to the city, saw the findings in the museum and started carrying out a detailed study considering that these sculptures are very important, following which the excavations were initiated in 1995 in the region.
Schmidt became the head of excavations in Göbeklitepe in 2007. The excavations carried out under the direction of Schmidt revealed significant clues for the history of humanity.
A human statue from the Neolithic era, limestone-shaped wild boar, fox and bird reliefs, as well as a large number of arrowheads were found in excavations.
T-shaped obelisks from the Neolithic era towering some 3 to 6 meters and weighing 40 to 60 tons were also unearthed at the site. During the excavations, diverse historical artifacts, the world’s oldest temple remains, as well as a 65-centimeter-long human statue dating back 12,000 years were also discovered.
The site, the fame of which quickly crossed the borders, was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List in 2011.
Schmidt died at the age of 61 on July 20, 2014, due to a heart attack in Germany, where he had gone on vacation.
Göbeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 1, 2018.
Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Zeynel Abidin Beyazgül said that Schmidt had done a great service to the world heritage.
Stating that Schmidt carried out the excavations with great enthusiasm, Beyazgül said: “He made great efforts for this place. Therefore, he is the father of this place. We express our thanks once again on the anniversary of his death.”
Mahmut Yıldız, the owner of the land where Göbeklitepe is located, stated that they met Schmidt in 1995 when he was exploring the land and that he created a business opportunity for villagers in the region during the excavations.
Explaining that he closely witnessed Schmidt’s struggle to unearth and promote Göbeklitepe, Yıldız said, “He used to work here like a worker. He used to eat and drink with us. Everyone loved and respected him.”