Whoa. I’d never heard of it until it was brought to my attention by a wonderful follower, but do you guys know about Göbekli Tepe? I won’t go too deeply into the details since I’m obviously tremendously unqualified (more so than usual, I mean) but you should really follow the link and check it out.
Basically it was a Neolithic sanctuary built in South-East Turkey about 11,000 years ago. The people that built it didn’t even have metal tools, and they erected 50 foot monuments and rings and rings of massive blocks!
At this period they didn’t even have any agriculture and were likely nomadic, yet they still took on this massive (likely multi-community) construction project to build what we’re pretty sure is a religious/spiritual shrine. It certainly says interesting things about our ancient (deeply ancient) priorities; that we would devote so much time and sweat and so many resources to something intangible.
There are many carvings of animals, and the lead archaeologist believes that the sanctuary is a central location for a spiritual “cult of the dead,” perhaps built to protect the bodies of the high-ranking deceased. They haven’t uncovered any tombs yet, though they’ve only scratched the surface of the site thus far.
Such was (and is) our desire to understand the world and the swirling mysteries beyond it that we place our connection to it above our personal needs.