Continuing its persistent tradition of being a thorn in the side of mainstream archaeology, the ancient megalithic site at Göbekli Tepe has offered researchers what may be documentary evidence that the Earth was struck by a comet 13,000 years ago, triggering a massive shift in climate that marked the Younger Dryas mini ice age.

Studying animal markings on what is known as the ‘Vulture Stone’ that appeared to correspond to astronomical symbols, researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that the stone’s carvers had extensively documented the astronomical phenomena that they were observing at the time, with a particular interest in the annual Taurid meteor shower, associated with the comet Encke.

"By matching low-relief carvings on some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe to star asterisms we find compelling evidence that the famous ‘Vulture Stone’ is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC," according to the study, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe With Archaeoastronomy: What Does The Fox Say?", published in the journal, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry. Göbekli Tepe’s original builders and custodians appeared to place a major interest on this 10,950 BCE date, indicating that an important event took place then.

While the researchers are confident that the astronomical dating is correct, they are less sure about drawing the conclusion that carvings depict a global catastrophe that was caused by a cometary impact. However, they cite numerous examples in the carvings that indicate that it may, including that "the fox symbolism, in particular, suggests a cosmic event originating from a specific position. The belt-buckle, ‘eclipse’ and snake symbols are consistent with a cometary encounter."

The complex of megaliths at Göbekli Tepe has previously been definitively dated to 11,000 BCE, and may be even older. The site was in use until roughly around 8,000 BCE (a minimum of three millennia of continuous use!), after which it was deliberately buried, for reasons that remain unknown. 

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