Origin of religion
Signs that humans held religious beliefs go back at least 100,000 years and possibly earlier to Neanderthal societies. Archaeologists base this on dating finds of elaborate ceremonial burials and depictions of abstract characters (half animal and half human). Grave goods were included in burials that were probably intended for use in an afterlife. Early religious belief is difficult to reconstruct because there was no written language but may have been various forms of animism. There is evidence of many tribes working together to produce large religious monuments, such as Göbekli Tepe, which implies sophisticated ideological beliefs and social structures.
The emergence of agriculture in the Karacadag Hills may have been motivated by the need to support large groups of people involved at nearby Göbekli Tepe. Hunter gatherer tribes may have had a higher qualify of life than agriculturalists but would not have been able to support a large concentrated population.
- Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens, A Belief History of Humankind, 2011