Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, just down from Fortnum and Mason  
Thursday, 23 June, 2011, 09:05 AM - Lessons of history, Winkett
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Something amazing is being uncovered in South East Turkey. Ancient temples, that pre-date Stonehenge and the pyramids by thousands of years, have been excavated. Huge, carved stone pillars, built without the use of wheels, metal, or agriculture, lie in concentric circles.

Organised religion, in the sense of proper modern religion with bishops and priests and other important people, was once thought to have been established only after humanity had given up their hunter-gatherer existence. Bishops chasing after antelopes wouldn't be terribly useful, would they? These temples suggest that organised religion did arise while humans were still largely nomadic - so the picture of bishops chasing antelopes isn't that silly after all.

In the GŲbekli Tepe temples, we see the very beginnings of civilisation, the long road that would eventually lead to cities, nations, cathedrals and Fortnum and Mason. We see that humans have always had the desire to build what would fill people with awe, making them awful. It is human instinct to seek invisible magic stuff, which would be pretty silly if there weren't invisible magic stuff.

And yet, there are some who mock invisible magic stuff, even though we have these vast stone pillars from 11,000 years ago. Even at the very earliest stages of human civilisation, people travelled hundreds of miles to see these great carved monuments. It all goes to show, that from the very earliest of times, humans really knew how to build a tourist attraction.

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