Archaeologist Prof. Schmidt dies
NEWS DESK (DİHA) - Prof. Dr. Klaus Schmidt, who excavated the Göbeklitepe site near the city of Urfa, considered the oldest temple in the world, has died in Germany of a heart attack aged 61.
Prof. Dr. Schmidt, from the German Institute of Archaeology, was in Germany on holiday when he died. Due to the excessive heat in the Urfa area excavations are not carried out in the summer months. Dr. Schmidt began excavations at Göbeklitepe 20 years ago, and proved that the site dated from the Neolithic era and was the oldest temple yet discovered. Books have been published regarding the site in several languages. He exhibited artefacts from the site and spoke at conferences all over the world.
Göbeklitepe is on a hill near the village of Örencik, 18 km from Urfa, and was initially discovered in 1963 by archaeologists from the universities of Istanbul and Chicago. Since 1995 excavations have been carried on jointly by the Urfa museum and the Berlin German Institute of Archaeology. Artefacts discovered during the excavations include t-shaped stones bearing carvings of animals, round and square stones from a temple measuring between 8 and 30 metres across and a statuette 65 cm long of a human being 12,000 years old.
Göbeklitepe has also been included on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage List.