A team of archaeologists uncovered what is now being called the world's oldest narrative scene in an 11,000 year-old-rock in southeastern Turkey.
The new study details the discovery, which took place at a Neolithic mound site about 35 miles east of the Euphrates River, and 20 miles (32 km) north of the Syrian border at an archaeological site called Sayburç. According to the study, the team of researchers found carving within benches built into the building, with the depictions of men and leopards measuring in at about 2.5 to 3 feet in height and about 12 feet long.
The team behind the discovery writes in the study that the rock-cut relief shows two leopards, a bull, and two men, with one of the men grabbing his phallus and the other holding a snake. The new study published in the journal Antiquity states that whoever carved the narrative into the wall exaggerated the most dangerous parts of the animals; the bull's horns as well as the claws and fangs of the leopard.
Notably, the true meaning behind the narrative has been lost throughout the ages as the carving dates back 11,000 years, but the single author of the study, Eylem Ozdogan, proposes that the two carvings be viewed together, forming a "scene" or a narrative. These scenes are more similar to a story than a singular picture and can be thought of as a "reflection of a collective memory that kept the values of its community alive."
Excavating Sayburç is important for several reasons. First, the site is believed to hold valuable historical and cultural artifacts that can provide insight into the people who lived there and their way of life. Second, the excavation can help to preserve the site and protect it from damage or destruction. Third, the process of excavation can provide opportunities for scientific research and study, which can help to advance our understanding of the past, with researchers already expressing their excitement for the continual excavation of Sayburç.
Finally, the excavation of Sayburç can also serve as a source of tourism and economic development for the region, bringing visitors and revenue to the area. Overall, excavating Sayburç is an important endeavor that can provide numerous benefits for both the local community, the wider world, and global human history.