The world’s oldest temple may also be the world’s coolest musical instrument

Göbekli Tepe, an impossibly old megalithic monument in modern-day Turkey, was apparently built to reverberate acoustically.

30.12.11

Words by: Charlie Jones

Quick, fascinating fact – according to a New Yorker article on the world’s oldest temple, archeologists investigating an 11,000 year old temple site have speculated that the monument may have been built for its acoustic properties.

Göbekli Tepe, in modern-day Turkey, predates the Pyramids by six millennia and was built by hunter-gatherers four thousand years before the invention of farming. The site, which consists of vast stone structures carrying mysterious animal figures, was built in soft foundations. One speculation as to the reasons why are that these foundations would allow the stones to make sounds, meaning, if these speculations are correct, that the site was actually a musical instrument of sorts.

It’s not the first time some have speculated about the sonic qualities of a mysterious ancient structure – Stonehenge itself has very interesting acoustic properties, which you can read about here.

The full story is in the current issue of the New Yorker, and subscribers can read the full story online.