Asia: Petroglyphs, Frescos / Armenia PETROGLYPH

PHOTO: 3948'58.16" 4459'36.25"

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The Armenian Highland shows traces of settlement from the Neolithic era. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture of the central Transcaucasus region is the earliest known prehistoric culture in the area, carbon-dated to roughly 6000 - 4000 BC. Another early culture in the area is the Kura-Araxes culture, assigned to the period of ca. 4000 - 2200 BC, succeeded by the Trialeti culture (ca. 2200 - 1500 BC). The first excavations in Armenia, undertaken by Russian savants in 1876, brought to light a burial-ground near Dilijan in which were prehistoric graves. Jacques de Morgan in 1887 89 unearthed 576 graves around Alaverdi and Akhatala, on the Tiflis-Alexandropol railway line. Later on, 300 more were discovered by V. Belck near Elisavetpol (Gandzak), and yet others were excavated by Lalayan and Ivanovski. In Turkish Armenia only one tumulus, that of Shamiramalti, near the fort of Van, has been studied so far. But many ancient arms and implements have been discovered, in various places on the plainsº and slopes, in the Valleys of Lori, on the shores of the Lakes of Sevan and Van, in the salt mines of Koghb (Kulp) and along the Aradzani and upper Tigris Rivers. The oldest Neolithic relics so far found in Soviet Armenia are large stone axes, with grooves which show that the handles were attached by lashings. In Armavir, Vagharshapat and elsewhere, Neolithic weapons, knives, axes, hammers, mortars for grinding grains, saw, makhats (large needles for coarse sewing), awls, made of stone, obsidian or bone, and pottery, some of it with geometrical ornamentation, have been found, as well as traces of human habitations, cremations or other mortuary disposals, fossils of domestic animals, such as sheep, goats and dogs, and remains of wheat and barley.