Lee Clare - Archaeologist Gobekli Tepe

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Dr. Lee Clare is responsible for the coordination of the Göbekli Tepe Project. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Cologne in 2005, majoring in prehistoric archaeology. Following the completion of his PhD in 2013, which focused Early Holocene climate-culture interactions in the Eastern Mediterranean, he joined the Orient Department of the DAI as a post-doctoral fellow. In 2015 he took on the position of research coordinator of the DFG long-term project at Göbekli Tepe, and in 2019 moved to the DAI’s Istanbul Department where he is now acting consultant for prehistoric archaeology. His areas of academic interest include Neolithisation and Neolithic dispersal processes, Early-Middle Holocene absolute chronologies, culture-climate interaction, prehistoric conflict and cognitive evolution.

The mound of Göbekli Tepe is situated a few kilometres to the northeast of the modern town of  Şanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey. The tell is situated on the highest point of the Germus mountain range towering 750 m above the Harran plain. With a height of 15 m, the mound, which is completely artificial, is spreading on an area of about 9 ha, measuring 300 m in diameter. This immense ruin hill was formed of the debris of monumental constructions dating back to the 10th and 9th millenium BC. Göbekli Tepe was first noted as an archaeological site during a combined survey by the Universities of Chicago and Istanbul in the 1960s (Benedict 1980 – external link) due to its remarkable amount of flint flakes, chips, and tools, but the architecture the mound was hiding remained unrecognized until its re-discovery in 1994 by Klaus Schmidt. Excavations started the following year and are still ongoing, until his untimely death in 2014 lead by Klaus Schmidt. They revealed an monumental architecture not suspected in such an early context and illustrating the outstanding role of this site – not as a settlement, but as a place of cult and ritual.