The essay promotes the possibility of a big rewrite of human history.
The generally accepted plot is that human beings lived as nomadic hunter-gathering clans for most of our biological existence until — suddenly — about 8,000 years ago we invented agriculture. Agriculture, in turn, led to increasingly complex social organization and the construction of walled cities, the very origin of civilization.
Göbekli Tepe is one of several archaeological sites around the world that challenges the plot. It is an ancient city apparently older than agriculture and in a location where stone age agriculture was unlikely. The implication is that complex societies, even civilization itself, may have evolved on Earth prior to or without the invention of agriculture.
Göbekli Tepe of course raises more questions than it answers. Above all, perhaps, are the questions about the concept of human progress. It is becoming increasingly feasible to conceive of some ancient humans as more advanced than ourselves.