In south eastern Turkey, a series of ancient sculptures and statues were discovered. In the former upper Mesopotamia. What is now the city of Şanlıurfa (formerly Urfa). These sculptures, believed to originate around 9000 BC. In the period of pre-pottery neolithic. They are notable for their antiquity and the mysteries surrounding their origins and purpose. The most famous of these statues is the Balıklıgöl Statue.
It is pre-pottery neolithic
Considered to be the oldest life-sized sculpture of a human. It may have been contemporary to the sites of Göbekli Tepe and and Nevalı Çori.
It is a human figure carved from limestone
Dating back to the neolithic period. Features inclulde large round eyes, and a long nose. The person appears to be holding a fish in its lap. Leading to speculation of the statues symbolisms. Such as religion or survival.
It is called Balıklıgöl Statue because there are similars
Others discoved in the region share characteristics. As a body, they are referred to as the Urfa man group.
It may have come from the archaeological site of Urfa Yeni-Yol
Reported discovered in 1993 at Bakilkigöl. There are other pre-pottery neolithic sites around Urfa. Including Göbekli Tepe, and Gürcütepe.
The statue is nearly 1.9 meters tall
Its eyes form deep holes in which there is a set of black obsidian stones. There is a v shaped collar, or necklace. And, the hands are clapsed on the front of the waist or genitals.
The exact purpose and cultural context of these ancient sculptures remain a subject of debate. Theories range. They could have had religious or symbolic significance. Or, they may have been used in rituals or as commemorative art.
Overall, the statue represents a fascinating archaeological find. It provides insight about artistic and cultural expressions of ancient peoples in the region. It also raises questions about the beliefs and practices of the neolithic societies that created these enigmatic sculptures.
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Çelik, Bahattin. “Şanlıurfa – Yeni Mahalle Höyüğü in the Light of Novel C14 Analysis” (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303881401). (PDF) Şanlıurfa – Yeni Mahalle Höyüğü in the Light of Novel C14 Analysis