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Göbekli Tepe: A Brief Description of the Environmental Development in the Surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site

Physical Geography, Department of Geography, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Ludewig-Meyn-Strasse 14, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Physical Geography, Institute of Geographical Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, 12449 Berlin, Germany
Orient Department, German Archaeological Institute, Podbielskiallee 69-71, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
PDF [32033 KB, uploaded 24 April 2019]


This contribution provides a first characterization of the environmental development for the surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Göbekli Tepe. We base our analyses on a literature review that covers the environmental components of prevailing bedrock and soils, model- and proxy-based climatic development, and vegetation. The spatio-temporal scales that are covered are mainly the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Late Quaternary—whereby special attention is given to available data from the close vicinity of Göbekli Tepe. Information on Late Quaternary geomorphodynamics is largely absent for the environs of Göbekli Tepe, we therefore included remote sensing data, different terrain modeling approaches and field-based geomorphological mapping to gain insights into past process dynamics. The findings indicate that the environmental conditions at Göbekli Tepe during its time of occupation differed significantly from today, showing denser vegetation and a wide spread sediment cover. Different hypotheses are developed that aim to guide future research on environmental changes and their variations during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. These activities are crucial for a more profound understanding of the environment of the site, its potential perception by humans and therefore for the development of narratives on their landscape creation motives. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pre-Pottery Neolithic; geomorphology; geomorphometry; paleoenvironment; paleoclimate Pre-Pottery Neolithic; geomorphology; geomorphometry; paleoenvironment; paleoclimate

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Knitter, D.; Braun, R.; Clare, L.; Nykamp, M.; Schütt, B. Göbekli Tepe: A Brief Description of the Environmental Development in the Surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Land 2019, 8, 72.

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