“Per Aspera ad Astra” (“Through Difficulties to Stars”). In Armenia, near town Sisian (200 km from Yerevan, capital of Armenia) there is the prehistoric Monument, consisting of hundreds large standing Stones (Fig. 1). Many of these Stones contain holes running through their upper part (Fig. 2).
Archaeological excavation had been carried out only near (around) the Monument, where ancient sepulchres and a settlement dated Ill-ll millennium BC were discovered [1 – 4]. But the Stone Monument itself was not investigated.
There have only been just assumptions about these Stones containing likely religious , spiritual  or other significances. Local resldents of Sisian call the Monument “Standing Stones” or ”Protruding Stones” and tell that it was built presumably for religious or fortification purposes and also that old people were looking at stars through the holes.
The flrst supposition about eventual astronomical function of the Monument (along with other surmises) was published by archaeologist O.Khnkikian in 1984 .
Believing to my supposition that the Monument was a very old and big Observatory, I decided to do my own investigation using astronomical methods. I have undertaken (at my own expense) scientific expeditions (8 persons and 4-day-long each time) on the equinox and solstice days in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2001.
The detailed topographic map of the Monument, as well as the latitude, longitude, magnetic deviation of place, angular heights of ridges on the horizon, azimuth and elevation angles of the holes in Stones and other features were measured. The catalogue of 223 stones with their sizes and condition was completed and all these Stones were numbered.
Many observations of sky sources, photo and video films of the moments of Sun and Moon rising, setting and culmination were done. A comparison of measured and calculated values was completed. Many prehistoric Stone Astronomical Instruments were discovered and accuracy of them was determined.
Furthermore, I have established the date of the Observatory, using the Earth axis precision and other laws. The results of Karahunj research are printed in Armenia [5, 7, 8, 9, 11,12,14], Russia [10, 16], Italy [6, 17], Canada , France , Argentina [17a].
This book contains results of all 6 expeditions and of many computer calculations, especially for stars rising, setting and culmination moments in the past, to demonstrate the age of Karahunj.
I consider now that the Karahunj Monument had three main functions: a) Temple of AR (Sun in Armenian) – Main God of old Armenia, and of His “Secretary”, Tir God – patron of science, written language and art, b) Large and developed Observatory and c) University.
It will be demonstrated in this book that Karahunj Observatory was very developed and in active operation more than 7500 years ago (VI millennium BC) during more than 5500 years (I millennium AD), so it is the oldest Observatory in the World.
It is also obvious for me that the Karahunj should be researched much more thoroughly, and also by archaeologists and different specialists during many years.
The Site and Name of Monument
The Karahunj site is on latitude of 39° 34′ and longitude of 46° 01′ on the mountain plateau having altitude 1770m and occupies a territory of about 7 hectare on the left side of the Dar river canyon, the tributary of the river Vorotan (at 2 km).
The underground river comes to the surface 5 km from the Monument and at 4 km, near village Shakki, it drops down a fall of 30m. In the distance of 29 km (linear) to the East from the Karahunj Monument is the village Karahunj, near new town Goris.
In the distance of 80-90 km to N-E, in Lernayin (Nagorni) Karabakh or Artsakh there are two another villages having the same name Karahunj. Near one of them there are holes in rocks (not investigated yet). In Armenia in total (including the Historical Armenia) there are many old megaliths, menhirs, stone observatories, old universities, etc.
Especially in region of Karahunj Monument there are many old megaliths, tombs and universities, as some famous traditional early medieval universities and Christian old abbeys in Tatev, Gladzor, Shoushi. Armenian historian Stepanos Orbelian in his book “History of Syunic” (I-XII centuries) mentioned that in Tsluk (Yevalakh) region of Armenia, near town Syunic or Sisakan (now Sisian) was a village Carunge .
This name in Armenian means “Stone Treasure” or ”Foundational Stones”. The word “car” in Armenian is “stone”, the word “hunge” or ”hunch” – is ”voice”, “echo”, “sound”. So the name “Karahunj” means “Speaking Stones”. Having above-mentioned data I called the Monument “Karahunj”, Le. Speaking Stones. Indeed, these Stones told old astronomers much interesting information about Space, and now also tell us (and will tell) much new and unexpected information about old times.
An extract from the book “Armenians and Ancient Armenia” by Paris Heoruni.
To date, The Prehistoric Wonder in Armenia Karahunj is included in the Top Ancient Sites for Stargazing in National Geographic