A 80-square-meter Neolithic era temple estimated to be around 11,300 years old was recently discovered in eastern Turkey (Dargeçit, Mardin district), a region that once was inhabited by Armenians.
The structure is considered to be of the same age and style as the famous temple of Portasar (a.k.a. Göbekli Tepe) and probably belongs to the same culture. Archaeologists managed to unearth four steles, three of which were very well preserved, but that excavations are still ongoing around the temple.
Ergul Kodaş, an archaeologist at Artuklu University and advisor to the excavation area, told that the temple, built with small stones and hardened clay floors, belongs to the same period as “Göbekli Tepe” , the famed oldest temple in the world. Kodaş reported:
“According to analysis, the temple has four steles. We think it’s about 11,300 years old,”
“Excavations are underway, but we have clearly revealed the steles. One of the four steles we uncovered was broken, but the other three were still preserved to this day as they were,”
He also noted that archaeologists have not yet reached the base of the temple, which was made of rubble walls and a hardened clay base, adding that it might take a month to reach the foundation. Currently excavations are ongoing.
That region has been part of the the Armenian habitat since times immemorial. Prior to the Armenian Genocide, Dargeçit was mostly inhabited by Kurds, Assyrians and Armenians, with a majority Christian population.
The oldest known civilization of the Mardin province is Subartu. The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta makes mention of the kingdom of Subartu. Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani. In 3000 B.C. they were succeeded by the Hurrian kingdom and later Urartu from which the Armenians directly descended.
Medieval Islamic scholars, relying on ancient sources, claimed that the people of Subar (Subartu) and the Armenians had shared ancestry.
The territories surrounding lake Van are considered to be the heartland of historical Armenia.