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) is an archaeological site atop a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of modern-day Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa.

The tell has a height of 15 m (49 ft) and is about 300 m (984 ft) in diameter.

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During the first phase, pre-pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected.

More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys.

Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and a weight of up to 20 tons.

They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock. The details of the structure's function remain a mystery.

In the second phase, Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. It was excavated by a German archaeological team under the direction of Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until his death in 2014; Schmidt believed that they had been early neolithic sanctuaries.

and postulated that the Neolithic layers were topped by Byzantine and Islamic cemeteries. Huge limestone slabs, upper parts of the T-shaped pillars, were thought to be grave markers.

The hill had long been under agricultural cultivation, and generations of local inhabitants had frequently moved rocks and placed them in clearance piles, possibly destroying archaeological evidence in the process.

In 1994, Klaus Schmidt, of the German Archaeological Institute, who had previously been working at Nevalı Çori, was looking for another site to lead a dig.

He reviewed the archaeological literature on the surrounding area, found the Chicago researchers’ brief description of Göbekli Tepe, and decided to give it another look.

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