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Department of Archaeology

Anthropological Resources

Archaeology is the science that studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis, and interpretation of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, altered or disturbed geographic features, ecofacts, and landscapes. Because archaeology's aim is to understand humankind, it is a humanistic endeavor. Due to its analysis of human cultures, it is closely associated with and often considered a subset of Anthropology, which contains the subsets: physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

There is debate as to what archaeology's goals are. Some goals include the documentation and explanation of the origins and development of human cultures, understanding culture history, chronicling cultural evolution, and studying human behavior and ecology, for both prehistoric and historic societies.

Archaeologists are also concerned with the study of methods used in the discipline, and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings underlying the questions archaeologists ask of the past. The tasks of surveying areas in order to find new sites, excavating sites in order to recover cultural remains, classification, analysis, and preservation are all important phases of the archaeological process.

"Continued archeological investigations push human civilization’s timeline to ever earlier dates. 21st century analysis of artifacts recovered from caves in South Africa reveal that the residents were carving bone tools, using pigments and making beads over 44,000 years ago. These early humans even decorated bone implements with a spiral incision that was then filled with red-clay pigment. Such adornment suggests a creative aesthetic.

Archeology is an exceedingly interesting branch of anthropology, as it seeks to identify civilizational origins through the study of human artifacts. However, if the archeologists study ancient burial mounds, flint shards and bones, it is the anthropologists who study the socio-cultural aspects of human civilization. For it is the earliest evidences of abstract thought, such as decorative craft, art, and especially ceremonial burial observances and ritual, that mark the true transition to early human society and cultural permanence.

It was precisely these first observations of burial rites that mark humanity’s earliest abstractions of an afterlife, and by extension, the understanding of spirit and the continuation of spirit after death. Once humans began to think beyond the confines of a single lifetime, the conceptions of past, present and future, moved beyond mere survival considerations. This was the true inception of culture, mediated religiosity and human modernity."

- excerpt from: "Applied Tek-Gnostics - a Field Guide for the Collective Conscious"

Biological Anthropology

Synonymous with Physical Anthropology ...this anthropological subset focuses on the study of humans and non-human primates in their biological, evolutionary, and demographic dimensions. It is a scientific discipline concerned with the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings, their extinct hominin ancestors, and related non-human primates, particularly from an evolutionary perspective. It examines the biological and social factors that have affected the evolution of humans and other primates, and that generate, maintain or change contemporary genetic and physiological variation.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropologists study cultural variation among humans, collect observations, usually through participant observation called fieldwork, which includes the global discipline of Ethnology, as well as the study of a specific culture, or Ethnography. Such immersive fieldwork examines the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities.

“Culture, or civilization, taken in its broad, ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man or woman as a member of society.”

- Sir Edward Tylor

Since humans acquire culture through a processes of learned behavior and socialization, people living in different places or different circumstances develop different cultures. Anthropologists have also pointed out that through culture people can adapt to their environment in non-genetic ways, so people living in different environments will often have different cultures. Much of anthropological theory has originated in an appreciation of and interest in the tension between the local (particular cultures) and the global (a universal human nature, or the web of connections between people in distinct places/circumstances).

Linguistic Anthropology

Not to be confused with anthropological linguistics, Linguistic Anthropology seeks to understand the processes of human communications, verbal and non-verbal, and the variations in language across time and space. Linguistic Anthropologists also study the social uses of language and the relationship between language and culture. It is the branch of anthropology that brings linguistic methods to bear on anthropological problems, linking the analysis of linguistic forms and processes to the interpretation of socio-cultural processes. Linguistic anthropologists often draw on related fields including sociolinguistics, pragmatics, cognitive linguistics, semiotics, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, and the new discipline of Memetic Analysis.


Anthropologic/Archaeologic Links

American Anthropological Association

World Archaeology

Society for Cultural Anthropology


Anthropology of the Noö Fringe
High Strangeness
Culture Wars

Applied Memetics

Conspiracy Central


Xenoarchaeology (noun)
1. from the Greek xenos, which means "stranger, alien" and archaeology, "study of ancients."
2. study of past, archaic, alien or Ancient Astronaut cultures or artifacts.

An important theoretic field of study within the Tek-Gnostics archaeology department is the study of xenoarchaeology. This discipline is a form of archaeology concerned with the physical remains of past (but not necessarily extinct) alien cultures. These may be found on planets or satellites, in space, the asteroid belt, planetary orbit or Lagrangian points... as well as at specific (often considered sacred) sites on Earth.

At the fringes of mainstream scientific inquiry, there is a lively subculture of enthusiasts who study purported, extra-terrestrial structures on the Moon or on the planet Mars. However, the controversial "structures" (such as the Face on Mars) are not accepted as more than natural features by "respectable" scientists.

Mainstream archaeologists often dismiss such speculation as Pseudoarchaeology. The idea that prehistoric and ancient human societies were aided in their development by intelligent extra-terrestrial life, is deemed preposterous by such skeptics. In regard to scientific rigor, mainstream archaeologists point to the fact that ancient astronaut theorists rely primarily on circumstantial evidence of ancient art, craftwork and legend, which they interpret as depicting extra-terrestrial technologies and/or contact.

Palaeo-Contact or ancient astronaut theories have been propagated by the likes of French authors Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in The Morning of the Magicians (1963), and Swiss author Erich von Däniken in Chariots of the Gods? (1968). In their works, they claim that the Earth was visited in prehistoric times by extra-terrestrial beings. Central to this theory is the assertion that the myriad deities from most (if not all) religions... actually were extra-terrestrial entities, and that their advanced technologies were interpreted by early human populations as evidence of the entity's divinity.

According to ancient astronaut theorists, the apparently miraculous achievements of antiquity… such as the construction of the great pyramids in Egypt and Central America, the Moai stone heads of Easter Island and the Nazca lines of Peru… are remnant examples of this ancient intervention. Per this theory, all prehistoric knowledge, religion, and culture either came directly from extraterrestrial visitors, or were developed as a result of the influence of a cultural incubator or “mother culture" of extra-terrestrial origin.

Variations on the cultural incubator theory hold that there existed human societies in the ancient past that were significantly technologically advanced. These prehistoric cultures, as exemplified by the legend of Atlantis, either rose and fell, or have hidden their existence from the rest of humanity. Such ideas have been propagated by figures like Graham Hancock in his Fingerprints of the Gods (1995). Pseudoarchaeological skepticism has also been manifest in consideration of Mayanism and the 2012 phenomenon.

Below are pertinent Tek-Gnostics Network Xenoarchaeological links. Third party archaeological links may be found at the bottom of this webpage.

ET Cultural Competency
A field guide for effective communication with off-world visitors...
Extra-Terrestrial Transmissions
Investigations into extra-terrestrial phenomena...

Ancient Astronaut Theory
Are the World’s Religions Cargo Cults?
A three-part series from the Tek-Gnostics Weblog...

Space Age Satori
Enlightenment is the normal state of consciousness for a space-faring humanity...



Item: Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe was first recognized as an archaeological site during a large-scale survey project conducted by the Universities of Istanbul and Chicago in 1963. In his account of work in the Urfa province, Peter Benedict describes the site as a cluster of mounds of reddish soil separated by depressions. The slopes were clustered with flint, and he described what he thought to be two small Islamic cemeteries. The impressions of the survey team are mirrored in early aerial photographs of the site, taken before excavations started. The reddish-brown tell with its height of up to 15m and a diameter of 300 m is the only colorful spot on the otherwise barren Germuş mountain range.

Situated on the highest point of this geological feature, Göbekli Tepe is a prominent landmark at the edge of the Harran plain. The surveyors identified the materials at Göbekli Tepe as Neolithic, but missed the importance of the site. Further research may also not have seemed possible because of the assumed Islamic graveyards. 

Between 1983 and 1991 large scale excavations, in fact rescue excavations in advance of the construction of the Atatürk barrage, were under way at another important Neolithic site in the Urfa region, Nevalı Çori. Under the direction of Harald Hauptmann, a Neolithic settlement was excavated that had large rectangular domestic buildings often similar to Cayönü´s channeled buildings. However, excavations revealed also one building (with three construction phases) that was completely different from anything known before in the Neolithic of the Near East. Not only was a large number of monumental stone sculptures discovered, but the rectangular building itself had T-or Gamma-shaped pillars running along the walls, interconnected by a bench, and a pair of T-shaped pillars in the centre. Due to the representation of arms and hands, these pillars could be understood as highly abstracted depictions of the human body.

Nevalı Çori was finally flooded by the Atatürk Barrage in 1991. But one of the members of the excavation team, Klaus Schmidt (1953-2014), wanted to find out whether there were more settlements like Nevalı Çori hidden in the Urfa region, with special buildings and elaborated stone sculpture. In 1994 he visited all Neolithic sites mentioned in the literature. Drawing on the experience gained at Nevalı Çori, Schmidt was able to identify the ‘tombstones’ at Göbekli Tepe as Neolithic work-pieces and T-shaped pillars.

“October 1994, the land colored by the evening sun. We walked through slopy, rather difficult and confusing terrain, littered with large basalt blocks. No traces of prehistoric people visible, no walls, pottery sherds, stone tools. Doubts regarding the sense of this trip, like many before with the aim to survey prehistoric, in particular Stone Age sites, were growing slowly but inexorably.

Back in the village, an old man had answered our questions whether there was a hill with çakmaktaşı, flint, in vicinity, with a surprisingly clear: Yes!. And he had sent a boy to guide us to that place. We could drive only a small part of the way, at the edge of the basalt field we had to start walking. Our small group was made up of a taxi driver from the town, our young guide, Michael Morsch, a colleague from Heidelberg, and me. Finally we reached a small hill at the border of the basalt field, offering a panoramic view of a wide horizon. Still no archaeological traces, just those of sheep and goat flocks brought here to graze. But we had finally reached the end of the basalt field; now the barren limestone plateau lay in front of us. 

On the opposed hill a large mound towered above the flat plateau, divided by depressions into several hilltops. Was that the mound we were looking for? The ‘knocks’ of red soil Peter Benedict had described in his survey report, Göbekli Tepe, or to be more precise, Göbekli Tepe ziyaret? When we approached the flanks of the mound, the so far gray and bare limestone plateau suddenly began to glitter. A carpet of flint covered the bedrock, and sparkled in the afternoon sun, not unlike a snow cover in the winter sun. But this spectacular sight was not only caused by nature, humans had assisted in staging it. We assured ourselves several times: These were not flint nodules fragmented by the forces of nature, but flakes, blades and fragments of cores, in short artifacts.

Other finds, in particular pottery, were absent. On the flanks of the mound the density of flint became lower. We reached the first long-stretched stone heaps, obviously accumulated here over decades by farmers clearing their fields […]. One of those heaps held a particularly large boulder. It was clearly worked and had a form that was easily recognizable: it was the T-shaped head of a pillar of the Nevalı Çori type.”

- Dr Klaus Schmidt

The above was taken from: The Tepe Telegrams (News & Notes from the Göbekli Tepe Research Staff)

“The discovery of Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey in 1994 has forced us to rethink the origins of civilization. While the site is far from fully excavated, we’ve learned enough to know that it was built well over 10,000 years ago – the earliest Egyptian pyramids are closer to us in time than to Göbekli Tepe. We know that it was huge by all but modern standards. We know it was a ritual site, not a place where people lived. And we know that it was built before the development of agriculture and settled living.

We’ve always assumed that after people begin farming, building cities, and generally settling down, religion evolved from tribal religion to what would become the organized religions of Sumer, Babylon, and Egypt, and eventually into their classical and modern offshoots. Göbekli Tepe tells us that’s wrong. Instead, organized religion came first. Then, because people gathered together, they began looking for ways to feed everyone. Necessity was the mother of the invention of agriculture… and of brewing. Göbekli Tepe has our first evidence of large-scale beer production.”

- John Beckett - from a review of Gordon White's: Star.Ships: A Prehistory of the Spirits


“The ancient einkorn wheat, found in the hills surrounding Göbekli Tepe, just happens to be the single genetic ancestor of every strain of wheat grown and eaten across the earth. People gathering at a temple on a hill to worship ‘heavenly beings’ were like passengers in an airport during a pandemic. Wheat, and what to do with it, spread to every corner of the land.”

“The discoverer of Göbekli Tepe and its chief excavator, Dr Klaus Schmidt, famously warned against what he called ‘Holy Land Syndrome,’ which is the propensity for archaeologists to head out into the field with a spade in one hand and a Bible in the other. Holy Land Syndrome precludes the finding of something you didn’t already expect to find.”

 “The twenty first century offers us a new Holy Land Syndrome. There is still the spade in one hand, but the Bible has been replaced with a very selective reading of ‘On the Origin of Species. Science does not consider itself an ideology, as it claims to only deal with what is real. This is, of course, what every ideology thinks of itself.”

- Gordon White, from: Star.Ships: A Prehistory of the Spirits

At Göbekli Tepe we can find depictions of creatures like armadillos, wild boars and geese... animals not indigenous to the region. What is interesting is that located less than 350 Miles from Göbekli Tepe is the site many biblical scholars believe to be the resting place of Noah’s ark, so the animal carvings of Gobekli Tepe suggest a time in the region’s history when the indigenous animal population may have been of a totally different anthropological origin. Could Göbekli Tepe and Noah’s ark be connected in (some) way?

Some researchers theorize that the events of a cataclysmic flood and a story similar to that told of Noah’s ark was recorded on the stone pillars of Gobekli Tepe. If true, that would push the date of the great flood back to the end of the last ice age, far earlier than the biblical period. There are some incredible things about this mystical place but we still do not know the answers to some of the most important questions like, who built Göbekli Tepe? to what purpose? and how was Göbekli Tepe preserved until today?

Researchers point that Göbekli Tepe was “carefully” placed underneath the sand, the whole site was actually buried. Why would the builders bury such an incredible site? To protect it? to preserve it? Göbekli Tepe is regarded as an archaeological discovery of the greatest importance since it could profoundly change our understanding of a crucial stage in the development of human societies. “Göbekli Tepe changes everything,” says Ian Hodder of Stanford University. David Lewis-Williams, professor of archaeology at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, says that: “Göbekli Tepe is the most important archaeological site in the world.”

- from an article appearing in Ancient Code


Now on Exhibit...

Göbekli Tepe - on History Channel's Ancient Aliens television show...



Further Research and Reading...


Contact our curator... Jack Heart. You can find J ♥'s "Tales of Wonder" here.