AP World History B2
“Birth of Religion” Essay
Did civilization create religion or did religion create civilization? Religion created civilization. Anthropologists, historians, and archaeologists have all believed that agriculture drove civilization, which then drove religion. Based on the study of Göbleki Tepe, anthropologists, historians, and archaeologists have started to believe the reverse.
Göbleki Tepe is located in Southern Turkey. At first, scientists from the 1960’s did not think of Göbleki Tepe to be of big significance. But in 1994, German researcher, Klaus Schmidt came across those researchers’ “brief description” of the hill where Göbleki Tepe was located (1). When he arrived at the site, he concluded “that he was looking at a place where scores or even hundreds of people had worked in millennia past.” Göbleki Tepe was “similar to Stonehenge” because the “temple” was a circle of smooth, large limestone pillars with bas-relief depictions of “a cavalcade of gazelles, snakes, foxes, scorpions, and ferocious wild boars” (1). He began research and excavation of the ancient site. Schmidt later found smaller, less sophisticated limestone circle all around the site (1). This discovery makes him arrive at the question “Why did the circles become less sophisticated as time went by?” Despite the question, he also came across the conclusion that nomadic groups, who were incapable of having priests or craft workers in their groups because it would be a hassle to feed them, actually did have priests and craft workers who worked and maintained Göbleki Tepe. This brings us to the question, “Did religion and beliefs actually create civilization?” The answer to the question is “yes”. This can be proven by the conclusions drawn up from different findings about Göbleki Tepe. The fact that the temple dates back to before the Neolithic Revolution means that the site was created during the nomadic era (1). But everyone in a nomadic group had a role that centered toward finding food. Priests and craft workers were believed to not exist because they could not feed themselves (1). The fact that “hunter-gatherers” created the ancient temple is “like finding that someone had built a 747 in a basement with an X-Acto knife” (1). But Göbleki Tepe was physical proof that priests and craft workers did exist before the Neolithic Revolution, and that nomads were able to build permanent temples. Nomadic groups most probably provided food for the priests and craft workers because Schmidt had found “thousands of gazelle and aurochs bones found at the site” (1). The priests and craft workers prayed and worked at Göbleki Tepe, which meant that the nomadic groups’ religion and beliefs were of big significance to them that they went out of their way to feed the priests and craft workers. Based on this conclusion, we can say that religion drove the nomads. Instead of constantly hunting and gathering food for the priests and craft workers, nomadic groups probably came to the conclusion that it would be much easier to settle down. The rising popularity of