The ancient site Göbekli Tepe was not damaged in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in south-central Turkey and northern Syria.
Since the earthquake struck one week ago, with an epicenter just west of Gaziantep, Turkey, more than 35,000 people have been reported dead and more than one million have been displaced in the country, according to a report from the New York Times.
While recent structures in Turkey weathered significant damage, older ones, such as the 2,000-year-old Gaziantep Castle, were also partially destroyed.
Damage to these older sites was cause for concern, as there are many archaeological and cultural heritage sites spanning thousands of years in Turkey and Syria. Aleppo and Antakya (ancient Antioch) are just two important city centers in the area that still have ongoing archaeological excavations.
At the ancient citadel of Aleppo, which was also recently damaged during Syria’s civil war, parts of an Ottoman-era mill collapsed along with parts of the minaret at citadel’s mosque, according to a report from Reuters.
The walls of the Arslantepe Mound, an ancient city made of mudbricks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have slipped as a result of the earthquake. Slight slips were were also reported at Diyarbakır’s ancient city walls, which were constructed by the Romans, as well as at the entrance of St. George’s Church.
The Göbekli Tepe Research Project team confirmed in a statement, however, that Göbekli Tepe was not damaged by the earthquake. The 11,500-year-old structure in southeastern Anatolia is roughly 86 miles east of the epicenter.
Göbekli Tepe contains megalithic structures and is situated among Turkey’s Germuş mountains. It is the oldest known megalithic site. Because it is believed to have once been used for ceremonial purposes, it is also one of the oldest religious sites in human history.
A report from Turkey’s General Directorate of Cultural Assets and Museums stated that there was no serious damage or looting done to regional museums and their respective collections.
Information about the earthquake’s impact on cultural heritage sites across both countries is still ongoing.