Our journey begins with the Freemasons. This late sixteenth century group occupies a strange, almost mythical place in modern popular culture and, whi
Our journey begins with the Freemasons. This late sixteenth century group occupies a strange, almost mythical place in modern popular culture and, while evoking many conspiracies, the self-proclaimed “society with secrets” (Knight & Lomas, 2004 p.16) was, on the face of it, really just a club where ambitious individuals could network at will to help establish themselves, their family and their business in the upper echelons of society. However, at the core of the Freemasons beliefs is a continuation and preservation of ancient rituals. Where these rituals stem from is a pivotal question to our investigation. Gobekli Tepe’s Masonic secrets may tell us more about the origins of these rituals.
A Brief History of the Freemasons and the Knights Templar
At the heart of Freemasonry lies the equally mysterious “The Poor Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon” or, as they are more commonly known, The Knights Templar . In 1119, under French nobleman Hugues de Payens , the Templars were officially ordered to protect the pilgrims on the route to the Holy Land of Jerusalem (Ashbridge, 2012, p.168-170). However, as researcher Graham Hancock alludes to in his preeminent work “The Sign and Seal”, unofficially this group of hardened knights may well have been using their time in the East to find and recover lost religious artifacts, to bring back to Europe (Hancock, 1992, Kindle Loc. 1607).
Very quickly, these warrior-monks became proto-archaeologists. According to British Army surveys in the 1860’s, evidence of the Templar’s exhaustive excavations were clearly visible everywhere. Such evidence includes tunnels and shafts up to 80 feet (24 meters) deep within the precinct of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is said the Templars were looking for the remains of the very monument their name is derived from: Solomon’s Temple (Knight & Lomas, 2004, p.73).
While it has not been confirmed what, or even if , the Templars found anything, it’s certainly curious that “for nine years they lived in poverty… but as soon as their excavation ended they were suddenly massively rich, and very quickly the rumours of strange rituals started to circulate” (Ibid, p. 71).
These new, distinctly odd Templar traditions led some to believe that the Templars did in fact find ancient scrolls, possibly leading back to pre-Judaic times. It is from these stories that the Masonic rituals spawned. Unfortunately for the Templars, they were too eager to embody their new traditions and, in a twist of cruel irony, they became the target of the same organization that supported them during the Crusades: the Roman Catholic church . This infamously led to the last known members of the Templars being burned at the stake in 1312 while their “cult” slowly faded into the obscurity of medieval history.
The Grand Temple Ceiling from the Freemason’s Hall in the United Grand Lodge of England, located in London. Notice the cosmic symbolism present throughout the artwork. (Colin / Wikimedia Commons )
The oldest of these core embedded traditions, according to researchers Knight and Lomas, who both became Freemasons in part to help their own personal quest for understanding our past, center around astronomical metaphors and cosmic symbolism .
Both Knight and Lomas believed in the Templar rituals which they personally encountered during their years of membership. And they believed that the origins of these rituals lay in the extremely mysterious European Neolithic culture .
The Megalithic Grooved Ware People of Great Britain
“The Book of Hiram,” written by Knight and Lomas in 2004, focuses on megalithic builders from the Neolithic period (12,000-4,000 years ago) whose direct work includes the world-renowned Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, Newgrange in the Boyne Valley, Ireland, and The Ring of Brodgar in Scotland. Ample evidence shows that the Neolithic builders were extremely active around the fringes of the Irish Sea over 5,500 years ago.
These Neolithic peoples are also known as the “ Grooved Ware People ” named for their unique style of grooved pottery. These people were most likely responsible for the magnificent centers of culture that flourished in places like the Scottish Orkney Islands at sites like Skara Brae and Maes Howe , dating back to at least 3,200 BC (Oppenheimer, 2007, pp. 258-259).
Basing his theory on the alignments of megalithic structures with the equinoxes and solstices, the early twentieth century editor of the prestigious journal Nature, Sir Norman Lockyer, believed that Skara Brae, and potentially other areas of the Orkney Archipelago situated at the northernmost tip of Scotland, were the “quarters for trainee astronomer-priests” (Knight & Lomas, 2004, p. 40). Of course, like most who push the boundaries of what we know to be true, Lockyer was ridiculed by his academic peers. However, he has since been proven right.
A Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands. Sir Norman Lockyer suspected this housed “astronomer-priests” who studied the heavens, were very adept at making astronomical predictions and were highly venerated by the local population (Solmyr / Public domain )
Other megalithic sites, including but not limited to Avebury, Newgrange and Stonehenge, may have also served similar purposes, acting as ancient schools where astronomy could have been transmitted. Further, the megalithic nature of these sites points to the fact that the architects, the Grooved Ware People, were extremely adept at moving and accurately positioning extremely large stones, for example, Stonehenge’s “ Sarsen Stone ” which weighs more than 25 tons or 50,000 pounds (Larramendi, 2016).
Knight and Lomas theorize that “given the concentration of megalithic structures across Orkney, it seems reasonable to suppose that” even certain megalithic sites, including “Skara Brae might have been a kind of Neolithic university” (Ibid, p. 41).
Similarities arise between the theories of Lockyer, Knight and Lomas on the use of these European sites which are similar to theories by the late German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt. Schmidt was famously quoted by Hancock in 2015 as interpreting a world-renowned site in the southeastern Anatolian region of Turkey as a “platform for the distribution of knowledge and innovation” (Hancock, 2015, p.9). Interestingly, as we shall now see, this site features all the same hallmarks as its European counterparts, and then some.
Gobeklitepe archaeological site Sanliurfa, Turkey. ( mehmet/ Adobe Stock)
Gobekli Tepe’s Masonic Secrets According to Schmidt
Schmidt’s theory focused on the megalithic masterpiece of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, a site that is believed to be over 11,000 years old. That’s more than 6,000 years before the supposed creation of Stonehenge in England and Egypt’s Great Pyramids.
Whoever the architects behind Gobekli Tepe or the “Pot-Bellied Hill” were, they had a deep and thorough understanding of astrology. Through the work of researchers including Graham Hancock in 2015 and Prof. Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis in 2017, it has become apparent that not only is the site astronomically aligned, but that “Pillar 43 very likely refers to the date 10,950 BC ± 250 yrs” (Sweatman & Tsikritsis, 2017, p.12). Said another way, the megalithic stonework at the site may be a commemoration of the known last ice age, the Younger Dryas period.
If, like me, you find this is utterly fascinating, I highly recommend the comprehensive and academically unbiased approach produced by The University of Edinburgh’s Professor Martin Sweatman in his “ Prehistory Decoded ” (or in the supporting video series here) for an in-depth look at this Stone Age astronomical alignment and its potential implications.
Who Were the Builders of Gobekli Tepe?
Those responsible for building Gobekli Tepe were masters of megalithic masonry. They were able to shape, cut and place large stone objects, some weighing over 15 tons (33,600 lbs), with a high level of precision. And they also had the scientific knowledge to include astronomical symbolism in their stonework.
Clearly one of the main questions that plagues us, then, is who was responsible for this site. While this question is certainly a poignant one, and one that has sparked many debates, the answer is essential to the understanding of human development and prehistory.
Hancock has famously postulated that a “lost civilization” helped sow the skills necessary for megalithic structures like Gobekli Tepe, possibly originating in the Americas, tracing them back through both north and south in his 2019 work America Before .
Researchers Andrew Collins and Greg Little have put forward the idea that the mysterious Denisovans, our ancient hominin ancestors, had a helping hand in this mysterious developmental process.
Any information that may help solve this riddle would be spectacularly important, big or small.
Gobekli Tepe or the “Pot-Bellied Hill”: The site where paradigms were shifted, dogma was broken and our understanding of human history changed forever. (Teomancimit / CC BY-SA 3.0 )
An Odd Trail of Connections Ending with the Denisovans
Having painstakingly tracked their line of enquiry over Masonic history through a series of historical connections based on ancient Masonic rituals inherited from the Templar Knights, researchers Knight and Lomas kept coming back to the Grooved Ware People of Europe and, moreover, how they may have seeded their information into an unidentified proto-Norse culture.
“… the engineering, sophistication and innovation that went into the construction of Göbekli Tepe… might well have originated not just from the direction of the Ural Mountains, but also with Finno-Ugric language speaking peoples.”
Could this be the same lineage that was found in the enquiry about Masonic tradition also? Knight and Lomas both believed that this “Norse religion was an entirely complementary component” (Knight & Lomas, p. 111) to the concepts they found within the Masonic/Templar rituals. But could it have actually been a much deeper clue about the originators of Gobekli Tepe?
There are certainly similarities between the achievements of this Stone Age Grooved Ware Culture and Gobekli Tepe:
1. Knowledge capable of creating precise astronomical alignments.
2. Ability to move, place, shape and carve megalithic structures.
3. Speculation about these sites being centers where information was disseminated – specifically information relating to astronomy and megalithic masonry.
4. The identity of the architects of these sites is still being debated or unknown.
There’s a fifth point also. First discovered by Alexander Thom, a professor of engineering at Oxford University and the founder of what we now call “archaeoastronomy”, the measurement of approximately 0.83 modern meters (2.7 feet) is the “megalithic yard”. The megalithic yard measurement is present at countless megalithic sites across the world, including Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, and at numerous sites around the Mediterranean region (Heath, 1998).
This unit is derived from three factors (Knight & Lomas, 2004, p. 49):
1. The spin of the Earth on its axis.
2. The orbit of the Earth around the sun.
3. The mass of the Earth.
Thus, to arrive at this unit of measurement, you have to be extremely adept at astronomy. Without going into too much detail here, an engineering professor named Alan Butler from the University of Bradford found that the incorporation of 366 megalithic yards in ancient megalithic sites was used to, among other things, track the moon over long periods of time. This was presumably done to predict high and low tide for oceanic travel .
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Oftentimes this measurement is expressed through the circumference of the ancient henges that surround a site (a “megalithic circle” contained 366 degrees). With this in mind, I turned my attention east. I learned through a UNESCO World Heritage Nomination Document that the artificial mound on which Gobekli Tepe is situated has a diameter of 300 meters (UNESCO, 2017). I thought that it would be interesting to see how many megalithic yards this was. The answer was 362, a difference of less than 4 megalithic yards to the commonly used 366. Certainly it’s speculative, but the difference of four megalithic yards (around 3.32 modern meters or 10.9 feet) could simply be accounted for by an inaccuracy in the original measurement of Gobekli Tepe’s tell diameter.
The 300 meter diameter given by the UNESCO World Heritage Nomination Document superimposed onto the Gobekli Tepe site; diameter (d) = 300 meters or 362 megalithic yards. (Diagram courtesy of the author).
While I understand this is most likely arbitrary (the creators of Gobekli Tepe may not have even planned out the site using this diameter) if Gobekli Tepe was constructed using the 366 megalithic yard parameter, this would suggest this unit of measurement was in existence at the end of the last ice age. This certainly supports the new-found Denisovan genetic link because this measurement is most highly used in and around the British Isles. “The Denisovan DNA recorded today among both Finns and Icelanders, but also the lost technology of the Denisovans” may be found, especially regarding monuments “where the former Doggerland landmass once stood, and those to be seen to this day on the Orkney Mainland” (Collins, 2019).
Like the next person, I would like to find the truth.
Riddles of Rosslyn Chapel South of Edinburgh
Made famous by Dan Brown’s 2003 fictional masterpiece “The Da Vinci Code”, Rosslyn Chapel, lying a few miles south of Edinburgh, certainly deserves the air of uncertain mystery that shrouds its existence to this day.
Built at the behest of William Sinclair of Roslin, an eminent Norwegian and Scottish nobleman and the last “Earl of Orkney”, the chapel was constructed between 1441 and 1490 as a “copy of the ruined Jerusalem Temple built by King Herod” (Knight and Lomas, 2004, pp. 90-91). As mentioned earlier, the Templar Knights were known to have excavated large areas of Jerusalem, and it’s believed that William Sinclair found his inspiration for the creation of Rosslyn “using rituals that had come to him through… scrolls found under the Jerusalem Temple” (Ibid, p. 111).
Both researchers Knight and Lomas suspect that contained somewhere in the vicinity of Rosslyn Chapel is a collection of scrolls and other artifacts that the Templars brought back from the Holy Land, where they subsequently passed them down generation to generation, until they ended up in the hands of the St. Clairs, a family who incidentally became leading figures in Scottish Freemasonry in the later sixteenth century. It may be assumed that these were stored in the “series of cave-like vaults” alluded to in Father Richard Augustus Hay’s manuscripts (Ritchie, 2010) a sixteenth-century prior who had open-access to the history of the St. Clair family and Rosslyn Chapel after his mother married into the St. Clair family.
Given what’s been covered in the rest of this article, namely the idea that Solomon’s original temple may have been inspired by astronomical observations and megalithic measurements originating from the European Grooved Ware Culture, who we now understand may be connected to the originators of Gobekli Tepe through a genetic Denisovan link. Then it’s entirely possible that, if the Templars had really discovered scrolls under the original Temple Mount foundations, this information could well hold clues as to what progenitor culture had seeded the information necessary for the enigmatic megalithic sites we see across the world.
The mysterious, almost out of place, Rosslyn Chapel as it sits grandly in the Midlothian Lowlands of Scotland – what secrets, if any, does this “chapel” contain? (Emphyrio / Pixabay)
More Evidence May One Day Link The Templars to Gobekli Tepe
Whatever the truth is, I believe it is our job to seek answers, wherever they may lead us. In light of new evidence, alongside older enquiries like Lomas’ and Knight’s deep-dive into the origins of Freemasonry, some very interesting things have been revealed, especially regarding the notion that the Templar’s earliest foundation rituals may have been based on the same culture who were millennially intertwined with the paradigm-shifting Gobekli Tepe and it’s mysterious architects.
Finding out whether or not the Templar Knights did in fact find something under Jerusalem may be imperative to understanding not just Gobekli Tepe but human prehistory in general. But while we are led directly to Rosslyn Chapel and the non-fictional part it may play in decoding these mysteries, we can only follow the clues as far as they lead us, and we will have to be patient, and persistent, if we are to get our answers in the end.
Top image: Gobekli Tepe or the “Pot-Bellied Hill”: The site where paradigms were shifted, dogma was broken and our understanding of human history changed forever. Source: mehmet / Adobe Stock
By Freddie Levy
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