A Global Aboriginal Australian Culture? The Proof at Göbekli Tepe
(Originally published in New Dawn Magazine, July 2017)
By BRUCE FENTON
Scientists and independent researchers have publicly speculated on the purpose of the mysterious Göbekli Tepe megalithic complex in southern Turkey. The question that the experts seem unable to address is the identity of the builders. Having completed an in-depth investigation of human origins and early migrations, it is now appropriate to reveal my extraordinary findings – Göbekli Tepe is the product of Aboriginal Australian culture. The identification of the builders will likely be considered very controversial, as it should because this represents a major paradigm shift. Göbekli Tepe is the largest well-dated megalithic complex of the pre-pottery period. There may be other megalithic sites of greater antiquity, but none matches the complexity, scale and advanced knowledge revealed at this site.
In 1994, Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute began excavations at a Neolithic hill site in what is today southern Turkey (formerly Armenia). Beneath the hill was the most extraordinary archaeological site yet uncovered, remarkable for both its immense size and incredible antiquity. Göbekli Tepe is an arrangement of at least two hundred T-shaped stone pillars of up to 6 metres in height and 22 tonnes in weight. The pillars are covered with imagery. The recognised boundaries of the complex include over 22 acres of land.1 The physical aspects of the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site are quite amazing, but its dating astonished researchers. The pillars of Göbekli Tepe have stood for at least 12,000 years, 10,000 of those underneath a huge pile of soil deliberately placed over them.
Göbekli Tepe is not some lone anomalous site, existing outside a greater context. Archaeologists recognise around 40 archaeological sites sharing the cultural signature observed at Göbekli Tepe. These discoveries cover a vast area within the Mesopotamian region. Scientists have also identified a correlation between the distribution of ancient sites and the presence of wheatgrasses.
There has been significant debate on the purpose of the Göbekli Tepe constructions. Mainstream academics tend to suggest it was a ceremonial site. The plethora of stylised animals on the pillars, alongside many anthropomorphic beings, is certainly reminiscent of known shamanistic traditions. The strongest argument put forward by the academics is that a form of ‘bird shamanism’ was observed by the local culture. Some members of the Göbekli Tepe research team have gone as far as to speculate that crane dances may have been performed there.2
Leading voices in the independent and alternative archaeological research community have offered their opinions on Göbekli Tepe. In his recent book Gobekli Tepe Genesis of the Gods: The Temple of the Watchers and the Discovery of Eden, Andrew Collins finds agreement with the proposed bird-shamanism link. Collins connects biblical tales to the site, including the ‘Garden of Eden’ and the mysterious ‘Watchers’. His work also suggests that a pre-historic Polish population, the Swiderian culture, might be the builders. In his bestselling book Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization, Graham Hancock gives significant space to an analysis of Göbekli Tepe. Hancock details a possible astronomical interpretation of animal symbols on pillar 43, suggesting these images represent recognisable constellations. Pillar 43 is regarded in his work as a snapshot of the sky at the time of a cometary impact event.
Dr. Robert M. Schoch, an associate professor at the College of General Studies, Boston University, briefly discusses Göbekli Tepe in his book, Forgotten Civilization: The Role of Solar Outbursts in our Past and Future. Dr. Schoch is well-known for his attribution of the Egyptian Sphinx to a lost civilisation that existed around 9,000 years ago. Göbekli Tepe offers support for Schoch’s existing hypothesis that a megalithic culture existed during the pre-pottery period. He suspects that the deliberate burial of Göbekli Tepe followed the onset of cataclysmic solar storms.
These three heavyweights all agree the site was at least in some significant part an astronomical observatory and that it offers compelling evidence for an advanced civilisation that fell foul to a forgotten catastrophic event. They also see obvious links between the dating of Göbekli Tepe and the Younger Dryas climate events. Briefly, the Younger Dryas period is marked by sudden intense cooling 12,800 years ago followed by equally sudden and intense warming 11,500 years ago. Archaeological evidence suggests that at both ends of the Younger Dryas global cataclysms occurred that led to mass extinctions.
Certainly, the megalithic builders responsible for Göbekli Tepe lived through the collapse of their civilisation and decided to bury their work. It is evident their culture went into rapid retreat, and today it only remains in the region of origination – Australasia. The stones of Göbekli Tepe speak, but only if one knows their language. These mighty megaliths bear the signature of the Australian Aboriginal traditions from which they emerged. The fingerprints of this culture remain across much of northern Australia, but lest anyone raise the accusation of regional cherry-picking, the focus here will be almost entirely in one area, Arnhem Land.
Arnhem land is no arbitrary selection for investigation. Situated on the closest point to the Indonesian islands, Arnhem Land was once part of lands that extended much further out into the Timor Sea and the Arafura Sea. Migrants moving towards Southeast Asia would have passed through what is now Arnhem Land.
Yingarna is a female, humanoid, personification of a rainbow serpent, one of the powerful entities from Aboriginal mythology (Dreaming Lore). The female rainbow serpent is responsible for seeding humanity across the landscape, while the male rainbow serpent is responsible for shaping much of the landscape.5 George Chaloupka, the foremost expert on the rock art of Arnhem Land, informs us that:
The belief in the Rainbow Snake, a personification of fertility, increase (richness in propagation of plants and animals) and rain, is common throughout Australia. It is a creator of human beings, having life-giving powers that send conception spirits to all the waterholes. It is responsible for regenerating rains, and also for storms and floods when it acts as an agent of punishment against those who transgress the law or upset it in any way. It swallows people in great floods and regurgitates their bones, which turn into stone, thus documenting such events.6
Until very recent historical times, all traffic was one-way, moving out of Australasia not inwards. This fact has been well established in multiple genetic studies and indicates that any truly ancient cultural elements are indigenous to Australia.3 There is also some evidence that the flooded lands of the Sahul and Sunda plates, shown in the maps on page 62, were once home to an advanced megalithic culture, eventually swallowed by the rising sea. Arnhem Land would have formed part of this lost culture’s territory and is likely to retain elements from it. This region also boasts an extensive wealth of ancient rock art, some of which dates to 45,000 years before present.4
We start with a comparison between the only female figure discovered at Göbekli Tepe, and a rock painting depicting a well-known creator being from Arnhem land, Yingarna. The likeness between these two images is immediately striking; we recognise similar posture with the same positioning of the legs and breasts, cartoonish exaggeration of the female genitalia, and clearly inhuman heads.
The belief in the Rainbow Snake, a personification of fertility, increase (richness in the propagation of plants and animals) and rain, is common throughout Australia. It is a creator of human beings, having life-giving powers that send conception spirits to all the waterholes. It is responsible for regenerating rains, and also for storms and floods when it acts as an agent of punishment against those who transgress the law or upset it in any way. It swallows people in great floods and regurgitates their bones, which turn into stone, thus documenting such events.6
In the traditions of Arnhem Land peoples, Yingarna is said to have arrived on the eastern shores of the continent, emerging from the ocean. Yingarna carried many bags with her, each containing spirit children and yam seeds. We can see these bags in a second rock art painting (see above). Note her extremely narrow and serpentine body atop which sits the same strangely shaped head we saw in the previous painting. The only facial features are two huge eyes.
Wherever Yingarna travelled, she seeded human populations, giving to each group a bag containing their culture and language. Before moving onwards, Yingarna would teach the newly founded communities how to farm yams.7
The Rainbow Serpent takes many forms, not only humanoid and serpentine but also sometimes a bizarre chimaera incorporating elements of multiple animals and plants. In the above bark painting, we see Yingarna with a feathered head, fishtail and sprouting many strange mushroom-like appendages. These strange growths are Australian yam plants with distinctive heart-shaped leaves.
If we look again at the engraving of the female figure from Göbekli Tepe, we see it has one of Yingarna’s yam leaves as her head. This parallel in iconography, across such a vast distance, is nothing short of stunning.(image credit: Ben Gunn).
If we return to Göbekli Tepe’s iconic pillar 43, we see this column includes depictions of both serpents and bags. Three bags are given the most prominent position of all – right at the very top. The snakes depicted on the relief sport swollen heads, making them resemble mushrooms. This is a common element of snakes engraved around the compound.
If we take a closer look at one of the serpents depicted at Göbekli Tepe, on a stone artefact (see page 63), we see the exaggerated head. It is evident the artists tried to make it clear these are not common snakes. The yam-leaf-shaped heads remind us immediately of rainbow serpent iconography. If we take a glance at the painting of Yingarna with her bags we recognise the same bulbous head with prominent eyes. If we were to add two arms to this snake engraving, and placed a few bags around the neck, we would have a perfect replication of Yingarna. The builders of Göbekli Tepe were living during a time of global catastrophe, a significant part of which involved flooding, animal extinctions and assumedly forced relocations. With immense changes happening in their world, it may be that Göbekli Tepe represents their strenuous human effort to reverse the declining environmental situation. The images at Göbekli Tepe are mostly animals; it is tempting to think that this represented a significant effort by the shamans to call forth the spirits of the animals, many of which had become extinct. The second part of this project would have been an effort to placate spiritual beings associated with flooding, such as the rainbow serpent. Snake images are everywhere at Göbekli Tepe. Birds are another well-represented animal form at Göbekli Tepe. At the very bottom of pillar 43 we see a large bird head attached to a very long neck, we do not see the body, but it looks rather like an emu. Large flightless birds appear elsewhere, most notably on pillar 56 where we see representations of multiple large-bodied birds with long necks. These bird images are almost identical to emus represented in rock art from Arnhem Land. These large birds may, in fact, be Genyornis, an emu-like bird that went extinct around 30,000 years ago. Similarities are evident when we look at a rock art depiction of Genyornis from a site in Australia’s Northern Territory. The emu holds a very special place in Aboriginal astronomy, associated with the dark rift of the Milky Way.
The second part of this project would have been an effort to placate spiritual beings associated with flooding, such as the rainbow serpent. Snake images are everywhere at Göbekli Tepe. Birds are another well-represented animal form at Göbekli Tepe. At the very bottom of pillar 43 we see a large bird head attached to a very long neck, we do not see the body, but it looks rather like an emu. Large flightless birds appear elsewhere, most notably on pillar 56 where we see representations of multiple large-bodied birds with long necks. These bird images are almost identical to emus represented in rock art from Arnhem Land. These large birds may, in fact, be Genyornis, an emu-like bird that went extinct around 30,000 years ago. Similarities are evident when we look at a rock art depiction of Genyornis from a site in Australia’s Northern Territory. The emu holds a very special place in Aboriginal astronomy, associated with the dark rift of the Milky Way.8
It is especially interesting to note that pillar 56 includes an eagle grabbing a giant serpent in its talons with smaller serpents depicted beneath. In some of the many Aboriginal flood stories, it is the eagle that halts the progression of the rising seas. The flood is a punishment for human misbehaviour, and only after humans agree to correct their behaviour does the eagle step in and end the mounting cataclysm. The eagle also has a prominent role in Aboriginal astronomy, linked to both Altair and the Southern Cross.9
It is not only at Göbekli Tepe that we find this Aboriginal Australian symbolism. Contained in the greater body of research work is a far broader picture. After the cataclysms, new sprouts of civilisation emerged from cultural seeds planted by a lost Aboriginal Australian global culture. Aboriginal Australasians have carried the hidden history of this first culture through comet impacts, solar storms and deliberate genocide. Today we owe them an enormous debt. The sacred art of Aboriginal Australians provides a final few cultural connections between the builders of Göbekli Tepe and Aboriginal Australia. In these photographs, we see an exact match between a symbol on an Aboriginal elder’s chest and one on a pillar at Göbekli Tepe (see page 65). The meaning of this is often suggested to be of two people sitting to share knowledge. On a central pillar in enclosure D, we find a set of symbols normally reserved for the most sacred artefacts of the Australian Aboriginals, churinga stones. A modern example of a churinga stone is shown on page 65. The only difference from the symbol on the pillar is that the two lines do not merge with the central circle. Churinga stones are regarded as receptacles for spiritual energy associated with creator beings, sky heroes that came down to Earth. Incredibly, the full pillar on which this churinga symbol appears is itself described as a stylised representation of a humanoid deity. We see the mysterious being’s arms folded just above the belt (see image on page 65).10
Bruce Fenton is the author of the new e-book The Forgotten Exodus: The Into Africa Theory of Human Evolution. He presents a compelling case for his new evolutionary hypothesis that Homo sapiens evolved first in Australasia, not Africa. Order through the links on his website www.brucefenton.info/ into-africa-theory/
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- ‘Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?’ by Andrew Curry, Smithsonian Magazine, Nov 2008
- “Dances with Cranes” – Animal masquerade in Pre-Pottery Neolithic ritual, https://tepetelegrams.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/danceswith-cranes-animal-masquerade-in-pre-pottery-neolithic-ritual/
- ‘Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia’, Nature 544, 180–184 (13 April 2017)
- ‘Arnhem Land find proves to be rock art of ages’ by Caroline Herbert, ABC News, 19 Jun 2012
- George Chaloupka, Journey in Time: The World’s Longest Continuing Art Tradition, Reed, 1993
- Genyornis newtoni, Australian Museum, www.australian museum.net.au/genyornis-newtoni
- ‘Bunjil’ by Carolyn Briggs Boonwurrung, Culture Victoria, www.cv.vic.gov.au/stories/aboriginal-culture/meerreeng- an-here-is-my-country/bunjil/
- Tjurunga: Art and Religion, www.britannica.com/topic/tjurunga
BRUCE FENTON is an independent archaeological researcher of two decades and author of the popular e-book The Forgotten Exodus: The Into Africa Theory of Human Evolution. He has previously written an article for New Dawn on his investigation of a megalithic site in Ecuador’s jungles. Bruce featured on the Science Channel as lead researcher for their expedition into the Georgian Caucasus. www.brucefenton.info