Göbekli Tepe is the oldest megalithic structure on earth, predating Stonehenge by 6600 years and the Pyramids by 7100 years. Göbekli Tepe, or “Potbelly Hill” in Turkish, is possibly the most important archaeological discovery of this century, atop a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of modern-day Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa. It was discovered in 1995 by archeologist Klaus Schmidt. What makes this site so special is not the age but the implications regarding the onset of the Neolithic period when humans first settled in permanent communities in a fixed location. I have previously written on the ragged edge between the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers and the more sedentary Neolithic settlements. Specific markers such as pottery, domesticated animals and cultivation of grains were discovered, forgotten and rediscovered over millennia before the lessons took root in the Neolithic package. Göbekli Tepe demonstrates another indistinct marker, special use megalithic buildings, possibly temples, built by Paleolithic hunter-gatherers.
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to wander the streets of an ancient Roman city, then Gerasa (Jerash) might be the place for you. Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. Ancient Greek inscriptions from the city as well as literary sources from both Iamblichus and the Etymologicum Magnum support that the city was founded by Alexander the Great or his general Perdiccas, who settled aged Macedonian soldiers there. The city finally reached a size of about 800,000 square meters within its walls. The Persian invasion in AD 614 caused the rapid decline of Jerash. In AD 749, a major earthquake destroyed much of Jerash and its surroundings.The ruins remained buried in the soil for hundreds of years until they were discovered by German Orientalist Ulrich Jasper Seetzen in 1806. In addition to the role of the people of old villages near Jerash, the process of building the modern city of Jerash was mainly done by the resettlement of Circassian Muslims by the Ottoman authorities; the Circassians came to Transjordan from the Caucasus after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78.