Turkey: Concrete cast in structure at one of the earliest human settlements on earth

Turkey: Concrete cast in structure at one of the earliest human settlements on earth
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Turkish state officials have reacted to comments about restoration work in Gobekli Tepe, and announced that they will file a criminal complaint against "these groundless claims."

Turkey's General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums said that a criminal complaint will be filed over the social media post of an archeologist who recently pointed out that concrete was cast on the floor of a rectangular structure in the neolithic archeological site of Gobeklitepe in the province of Urfa.

Archeologist Cigdem Koksal-Schmidt, the wife of Klaus Schmidt who in 1995 became the leader of the excavations at Gobekli Tepe and led the expedition till his death in 2014 posted an image from the site on Instagram yesterday, and said:

"I've been informed that a restoration is being conducted here. We can see that the coating on the walls are brand new, but it's the floor of the structure that may really captivate our eyes, it did mine. Was it truly necessary that the original floor should be covered with modern material? I don't know if there is any example of this in the restoration of architectural edifices dating 12,000 - 10,000 years back. It's hard for me to understand why the floor of a neolithic structure would be covered with white cement, sand and plaster."

The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums reacted to the comment, saying:

"Not concrete but a mixture suitable for the texture of the surface was used in the restoration that is being carried out in the light of science (...) A criminal complaint will be filed against these groundless claims targeting the preservation efforts in Gobeklitepe that are carried out with the contribution of international scientists."

Cigdem Koksal-Schmidt responded:

"It appears it was Cimsa brand super white cement that was used. I did not claim anything, I shared an observation. A responding statement should have been more like, we did use cement for such and such reasons; it should have provided an explanation about the method used."

Gobekli Tepe was built during the earliest phase of the Southwest Asian Neolithic, known as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN), between around 9500 and 8000 BCE. Beginning at the end of the last Ice Age, the PPN marks "the beginnings of village life," providing the earliest evidence for permanent human settlements in the world.