How could multiple ancient cultures, spanning both years and geography, have strikingly similar creation myths and cosmologies? Why do the Dogon of Africa and the civilizations of ancient Egypt, India, Tibet, and China share sacred words and symbols? Revealing the existence of a long-forgotten primal culture and the world's first center of higher learning, Laird Scranton shows how the sophisticated complex at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is the definitive point of origin from which all the great civilizations of the past inherited their cosmology, esoteric teachings, and civilizing skills, such as agriculture, metallurgy, and stone masonry, fully developed. Scranton explains how the carved images on Gobekli Tepe's stone pillars were the precursors to the sacred symbols of the Dogon, Egyptians, Tibetans, and Chinese as well as the matriarchal Sakti cult of ancient Iran and India. Scranton reveals how Gobekli Tepe's enigmatic "H" carvings and animal symbolism, symbolic of stages of creation, was presented as a kind of prototype of written language accessible to the hunter-gathers who inhabited the region. He shows how the myths and deities of many ancient cultures are connected linguistically, extending even to the name of Gobekli Tepe and the Egyptian concept of Zep Tepi, the mythical age of the "First Time." Identifying Gobekli Tepe not only as the first university but also as the first temple, perhaps built as a civilizing exercise, Scranton definitively places this enigmatic archaeological site at the point of origin of civilization, religion, and ancient science.