In 1963, a group of Armenian geologists discovered a huge metallurgical complex of the 3rd-1st millennium BC in the Ararat valley near the Metsamor Hill.
Further studies have brought evidence that Metsamor Hill was, in the full sense of the word, an “industrial center” of an unknown and extremely high culture. Soon at the Metsamor Hill were found traces of the oldest astronomical observatory, which existed in the 19th century BC.
And the discoveries of recent years made it possible to come to the conclusion that the Metsamor Observatory is not an accidental phenomenon in the history of a mysterious culture but evidence of the existence of a developed astronomical school, which’s achievements may seem fantastic. We asked the participants of expeditions, Armenian researchers, to tell us about these new finds.
Suren Ayvazyan, geologist
The assumption that among the oldest centers of the origin of astronomical knowledge were the territories of Armenia and Asia Minor was expressed long ago. The most famous historians of astronomy like Edward W. Maunder, Olof P. Swartz, and Nicolas C. Flammarion believed that “the people who divided the sky into constellations lived between 36° and 42° North latitude…”
English astronomer W. Olcott thought: “The people who invented the ancient figures of the constellations lived in the Euphrates valley and also in the region near Mount Ararat…”
And now, there are new facts confirming this hypothesis.
In the burial grounds of the 2nd millennium BC, amazing bronze ware was found by archaeologist A. Mnatsakanyan in Lchashen in 1967. It is curious since it has no analogs in world archaeology.
We consider it a model of the universe created almost four thousand years ago. According to our interpretation, the bottom of the product depicts the Earth surrounded by spheres representing water and air.
At the opposite end of the model is the solar circle with the tree of life inside. Between the Earth and the Sun are the Moon and five planets visible to the unaided eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
All celestial objects are located around three rhombic spheres. This is reminiscent of later classical ideas of the “heavenly fire”, around which all planets and the Sun revolve. Here, apparently, the “heavenly fire” is surrounded by air and water spheres.
There is more. On the Metsamor Hill in 1963, a clay plate with hieroglyphic letters of the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC was discovered. Thus, it was established that prior to the appearance of the cuneiform writing of the Kingdom of Van, the inhabitants of the Armenian Highlands used figures as letters.
The designations of the twelve zodiacal constellations widespread in the ancient world and surviving to the present day almost fully coincide with the ancient Armenian hieroglyphs in their outlines.
Thus, now, it is really possible to say with reasonable certainty that already four thousand years ago, people living in Armenia divided the sky into constellations!
Astronomical knowledge in antiquity would be unthinkable without a certain level of development of productive forces.
Almost all most important types of minerals have been known and developed in the Armenian Highlands since ancient times, including copper, tin, gold, silver, iron, lead, zinc, magnesite, antimony, mercury, quartz, salt, etc.
In particular, tin was considered a deficit metal in the ancient world. In search for tin, some expeditions of Mediterranean countries reached Spain and England (Cornwall) in the 2nd millennium BC. In Ancient Armenia, tin was developed in three widely known points in the ancient world – the Sasun mountains, Aghzdnik, and the Karin area (Upper Armenia).
Many researchers note that the rich in minerals Armenian Highlands occupied a prominent place in the ancient world for the export of metals, for the supply of tin, copper, gold, and iron to remote areas up to India, Egypt, Scythia, Mesopotamia, and Greece.
In the 3rd-2nd millennium BC, the Armenian metals were also supplied to many countries of Eastern and Central Europe, as the candidate of historical sciences E.N. Chernykh explained.
Broad trade relations and travel to distant countries contributed to the expansion of geological and geographical information, the development of astronomical knowledge of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, planets and stars, the landmarks on the distant caravans’ routes.
The perfection of mining metallurgy, trade of metals, primarily iron, are the material basis on which the productive forces and associated astronomical knowledge developed within the Armenian Highlands.
- Petrosyan, architect:
The ancient inhabitants of Armenia testified their vast astronomical knowledge not only on clay or bronze but also stone. In recent years, I have discovered a large number of rock paintings of an astronomical nature in the mountains of the Armenian Uplands (in the photos in this article are only some of them, found in the Geghama mountains).
Apparently, one of them depicts a monthly lunar calendar. On the calendar, the external rays show 27 visible days of the lunar month while the two lower curved dashes indicate two and a half invisible days.
And 18 rays inside the circle are supposed to indicate that the 18th day of moon phase is shown.
…Now, look at another petroglyph with figures of people. After all, it resembles a schematic image … of the globe with people-antipodes.
This may sound like a fantasy. Four thousand years ago, people already had an idea of the true form of the Earth. Perhaps not. But there is no other way to read the picture…
The most ancient petroglyphs of Armenia in Russian