The excavations at Göbekli Tepe near Urfa, which began 27 years ago and are now very popular, with incredible finds that would change the minds of most archaeologists, showed that the story of the Neolithic Revolution needs to be rewritten.

The first revolution in human history was not the Agricultural Revolution, but rather the ‘Revolution of Symbols’. In other words, what pushed the people to settled life practices was nothing but faith. Different hunter-gatherer groups came to this hill from hundreds of kilometers away on their own time, and were building these temples with a collective activity, which would take years. They continued this practice for hundreds of years, came together, socialized, exchanged information and technology. How do we know these? Thanks to the discovery and excavations of Göbeklitepe by archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, who passed away 7 years ago…

The best way to respectfully commemorate and remember Klaus Schmidt, is to see Göbeklitepe, visit the museum, and while there in Urfa, stop by the memorial house established by his wife Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt.

Let’s read from Evrim Kepenek’s pen.


You are in Urfa near Balıklı Göl, in one of the streets where traditonal stone houses are found.

You push one of the stone houses’ door, the one right by the Selahattin Eyyubi Mosque, and come out drawings reminiscing motives at Göbeklitepe, photographies of Prof. Dr. Klaus Schmidt who directed the excavations, and archeological findings.

Gather your courage and take one more step.

Because Prof. Dr. Klaus Schmidt’s wife Çiğden Köksal-Schmidt has some things to tell us.

This is the home of the Schmidts, the excavation directors of Göbeklitepe.

When Klaus passed, his wife Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt turned this place into a memorial house to keep his memory alive.

Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt, unable to come to these lands for months, following Klaus’ passing, has decided to open the memorial house upon her return.

With the memorial house, she grew fonder of the spot, and did not want to return to Germany. Since that day, she has been working on adding new memories to the many in the memorial house.

There are nine rooms in the memorial house. In some of these rooms are finds not displayed at Göbeklitepe, huge frames housing international publications’ covers where news of the excavations were published, and in others, drawings and large photographs of the figures found in Göbeklitepe.

Transforming this house into a memorial house for her husband’s memory to live, Köksal-Schmidt adds that another intention is to “carry his memory into the future”.

No advertising work was undertaken for this house where archaeology curious people come to visit. Here is how Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt explains this:

“We did not do any advertisement or announcement. We thought that visitors would think of Klaus, and would definitely come to find it.”

And so it happened. Up to now, discussions on archaeology, informative sessions on Göbeklitepe and photography exhibitions were held here.

Köksal-Schmidt points out that ateliers and workshops will also be organized.

Reminding that today, any information shared on Göbeklitepe were brought to the surface with Klaus’ works, Çiğdem Köksal-Schmidt adds: “It was Klaus who brought Göbeklitepe to us, there is a lot of his work. I do not want his name to be forgotten. As long as this house remains, so will our memories and his name.”

Evrim Kepenek’s article was first published on October 12th 2018 in Bianet’.