Astronomical Knowledge In Ancient Armenia

Prehistoric settlement 30 kilometers from Yerevan, in the center of the fertile Ararat valley at the head of the Metsamor River, a five thousand years old settlement was found after years of archaeological excavations.

But the most interesting findings were unearthed on the rocks surrounding the Metsamor settlement. One of them in about 200 meters from the excavation site contains images of four stars along with many mysterious signs that are still waiting to be decrypted.

Star of the summer sky

Further research on these rocks revealed three observation sites arranged by ancient stargazers. Each of the three observed sites had a clear purpose.

The first had a triangular shape with an acute angle directed to the south. The bisector of this angle coincided with the north-south direction with an accuracy of plus or minus two degrees. On the eastern side of the triangle is a trapezoid carved on a rock with images of four stars inside.

Is such a choice random? Calculations showed that from 2800 to 2600 BC, from this location in the early morning, one could observe the brightest star – Sirius, a star that at the time was a star of the summer sky. Now, it is visible in late autumn and especially long in the winter. This star, apparently, was used to calculate time.

The oldest center of astronomical knowledge

The second platform is also dotted with star signs, but the third area is of more interest.

Seven steps carved into the rock lead to the third observation area from the north. It is known that astronomical observations require the entire southern horizon to be open. At the third site, these conditions are fully met. It is arranged according to all the rules for placing modern observatories, taking into account optimal conditions for observations, even the most primitive ones.

Thus, scientists had no doubts – this is one of the oldest observatories made by mankind. And this is not surprising – after all, Armenia is considered to be one of the oldest centers of the origin of astronomical knowledge.

Who invented the constellation figures?

Renowned historians of astronomy – among them Maunder, Swartz, and Flammarion – were convinced that people who had divided the sky into constellations had lived between 36 and 42 degrees of northern latitude. English astronomer William Olcott explicitly pointed out that “the people who had invented the ancient figures of the constellations had probably lived in the Euphrates Valley, as well as in the area near Mount Ararat.”

It is not surprising that at an altitude of more than three thousand meters in the Geghama Mountains, architect from Yerevan Suren Petrosyan once found a stone – a gray monolith three by two meters in size featuring signs and numerous carved out figures of celestial bodies. The celestial bodies were represented as small circles concentrated in large regular ovals.

Petrosyan also made another important finding – he discovered a complex of stone slabs on which stars and planets are marked according to their apparent magnitude and brightness. On the slabs are carved out the constellations of Cygnus, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Leo, Serpens, and many others.

Golden Obsidian

And then, S. Petrosyan discovered a block of stone with, at first glance, mysterious images resembling the surface of the moon with craters. But how could have ancient humans achieved such a level of detail without telescopes?

Historians have suggested that there indeed had been no lenses, but there had been the so-called golden obsidian whose optical properties had been known to our ancestors. Most likely, golden obsidian had been precisely the tool that the ancient astronomers used to observe the craters of the natural satellite of our planet 4-5 millennia ago.

Experts once again announced that an ancient observatory had been found.

The cyclopean fortress

The search for new petroglyphs led S. Petrosyan to the discovery of a majestic cyclopean fortress in the same Geghama mountains. At an altitude of 3250 meters, on the stone monoliths of powerful forts and on the rocks at the foot of a fortress, he discovered countless cave paintings of various kinds. Among them were the constellations of Taurus and Orion carved in stone.

With regard to this, the legend about the progenitor and the oldest deity of the Armenians, Hayk, is particularly interesting. He has always been identified with the constellation of Orion.

Mystery of the stone army

Located high in the Zangezur mountains, another remarkable monument impresses with its mysterious views. On the mountain slopes are stone monoliths stuck into the ground, arranged in rings. Many of these are more than two meters high. The age of this unusual structure long called Zorats-Karer or Karahunj – that is, “stone army” – is four millennia.

Researchers of metal structures find a surprising resemblance between Karahunj in Angeghakot, a small village in the Zangezur mountains, and the equally ancient English Stonehenge. Comparison unwittingly leads to the idea of the astronomical purpose of the Armenian monument associated with the observation of the Sun and Moon. This thought isn’t groundless because a lunar-solar calendar has existed in ancient Armenia.

It is noteworthy that the diameter of one of the stone rings of Zangezur is more than 30 meters, and some stones on the east side have round holes that could have been used to observe the sun on certain days of the year.

So, in the 3rd-2nd millennia, at a distance of only 200-300 kilometers from each other, two completely different structures have been built in Armenia – an ancient observatory on the small Metsamor hill where, as established, the Sirius star and celestial constellations have been observed, and the Zorats-Karer complex (Karahung) in Angeghakot erected for observing the sun and moon.

Original Russian publication authored by Irina Strekalova. The article was published in the UFO magazine of issue 35 (2006).

Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve Metsamor

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