History is such an interesting thing that can change a whole understanding only with a brand new finding.
For many years there were many assumptions about the passage from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled lifestyle. The most common and accepted argument was that people had adopted agrarian production so that they settled to practice agricultural work. Over time, they have started to build various constructions according to their needs, beliefs, and so on. It made sense for all of us for years.
But now, we see that it was not the case.
After the rediscovery of an archeological remain called Göbeklitepe, a very close region to Şanlurfa in Turkey, the understanding of the site has changed.
“It was a fully-fledged settlement with permanent occupation. It’s changed our whole understanding of the site.” -Lee Clare
Göbeklitepe has been constructed as a close shape to the letter ‘T’ which has numerous drawings and symbols on the walls of the remains. These findings are interpreted as belief-based structures by archeologists. Although we may never know exactly, it was probably a place where people practiced their religious rituals at the time.
However, the shocking fact is that the idea of the settled lifestyle came with agriculture collapsed because at the time of Göbeklitepe was built by people who were still hunter-gatherers. According to findings, a settled agricultural lifestyle emerged almost 1000 years after Göbeklitepe was built.
The fact that the passage from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled lifestyle was brought about by the adaptation of agricultural production has been overthrown, just like that. Now, we see that the main motivation behind a settled lifestyle may not be agriculture but religion. We used to agree on how people built their cities and place the sacred temples in the center of them. However, now we may say that people, back then, built sacred temples and later started to emerge cities and do agricultural production.
As the studies concerning the excavation of Göbeklitepe have shown, now we see the motivation of our ancient ancestors adopting the settled lifestyle was their beliefs, more than anything else.