Archaeologist Schmidt cries out against poor protection of Göbekli Tepe

Archaeologist Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt, wife of the late Klaus Schmidt, the German archaeologist who oversaw the excavation of Göbekli Tepe from the mid-90s until his death in 2014, has criticized authorities for failing to establish a good protection system that shields the historical site against climatic conditions. Schmidt's comments came after photos showed the historical site having being covered by snow.

Duvar English

Archaeologist Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt has cried out against the poor protection of the world's oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe, which is often described as the “zero point in history.”

She criticized in a social media post the lack of a good protection system that shields the historical site against environmental elements. Her comments came after photos showed the site having being covered by snow.

“Göbekli Tepe is now a place that many people 'benefit from' (I hate this word, but this is the case); hey mortals, think of protecting this place -- from which you so much benefit from. I knew that rain could come in from the east side all the way the mid-C structure, but if the snow, despite the roof, can reach the D and B structures, a solution needs to be sought,” Schmidt said on Feb. 16.

Göbekli Tepe is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. The discovery of this stunning 10,000 year old site sent shock waves through the archaeological world and beyond. Located in modern-day Şanlıurfa, in Turkey's southeast, it is listed in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

It was discovered by researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities in 1963. Excavations at the site were launched in 1995 by German professor Klaus Schmidt, the late husband of archaeologist Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt. Klaus Schmidt led the excavations for 19 years from 1995 until his death in 2014.

Following Klaus Schmidt's death, a protective roof was constructed at the site against climatic conditions. Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt, however, argued in her social media post that the roof project was undertaken in a “sloppy” way and there were many differences between the planned project and the one that was eventually executed.

“When I saw these photos, I have become embarrassed that I became happy that snow had fallen last week. The construction of the current roof that covers a part of Göbekli Tepe, had started before Klaus passed away. I have many times uttered my concerns regarding the careless works undertaken during the construction as well as differences between the project on the paper and the one executed,” Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt said.

“No one said, 'This person and her husband gave their twenty years to Göbekli Tepe, so let's listen to her and find a solution'; on the contrary personal attacks were initiated against me,” she said, urging experts and academics to focus on the historical site's problems.