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While reading "Homo Sapiens" by Harari, I have been fascinated by the link made between wheat emergence and this prehistoric stone temple. A colleague told me about pseudo history in this book, so I went checking this fact that I took for granted.

Indeed, like stated by Harari, the temple is considered by researchers as a monument built by hunters thanks to animal bones found.

I read once that there were wheat representation on the pillars. Unfortunately, none of the pictures I managed to see with google search image were resembling wheat.

  • Are there recognized representation of wheat in the Gobekli Tepe temple ? Any link to picture of them is welcome.
  • More generally, is there a consensus establishing/recognizing the emergence of wheat linked to Gobekli Tepe temple or the people who built it ?

Indeed, I had read report that the ancestor of wheat had been traced thanks to DNA to a wheat species in the center of Turkey, Einkorn Wheat.

Evidence from DNA fingerprinting suggests einkorn was first domesticated near Karaca Dağ in southeast Turkey, an area in which a number of PPNB farming villages have been found.

So that could match.

  • A quick glance at its WP shows that its assigned as "pre-pottery Neolithic". "Neolithic" means they were using domesticated crops (such as wheat), and "pre-pottery" means ... er ... they didn't have any pots yet. – T.E.D. Mar 25 at 3:01
  • @T.E.D. Gobekli Tepe is not simple to classify. Same wiki page you cite:*While the site formally belongs to the earliest Neolithic (PPNA), to date no traces of domesticated plants or animals have been found. The inhabitants are presumed to have been hunters and gatherers who nevertheless lived in villages* – justCal Mar 25 at 14:20
  • @justCal - Hmmm. Well wheat and barley's wild ancestors did come from that area. There was a phase in the near east where people were harvesting wild grains, but not planting them themselves. This is usually referred to as incipient agriculture. I don't know off-hand if those sites are usually classified PPNA, or Upper Paleolithic – T.E.D. Mar 25 at 15:24
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    Its an interesting site and situation. A clip from a BBC series here discusses the einkorn wheat issue, and its proximity to Gobekli Tepe. Original article on DNA fingerprinting in Science here – justCal Mar 25 at 16:00
  • Perhaps one should remember that modern wheat (and other grains) is the result of thousands of years of selective breeding. The wild grain that the builders were gathering might not have looked much like modern wheat. I'm not really familiar with wheat, but consider the difference between modern corn (American usage: Zea mays) and the teosinte plant it was bred from. – jamesqf Mar 26 at 4:49

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